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how do I import canon vixia hf r20 into imovie? HELP!

19059 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Mar 5, 2013 6:16 PM by GregoryNP RSS
AllyMac22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jul 7, 2011 10:40 AM

I just bought a new canon vixia hf r20 camcorder because I read that it would be compatible with my mac and imovie. However, I cannot get imovie to recognize the video on the device. I read on one of the forums that someone said to "simply connect the camcorder with the USB cord" and then import from the camera, no tricks. However, this is not happening for me. When I connect my camcorder via USB cord, my mac recognizes the drive, but I just can't get imovie to recognize any video files or anything. However, I have not tried using an SD card and connecting to my mac directly with that. Would this make much of a difference though if imovie isn't acknowledging the files in the first place? I don't know much about computers or camcorders but I really, really, really need to figure this out for work. Someone PLEASE help!!!

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.5)
  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)

    One advantage of importing through a USB card reader is that you do not need to have the camera involved. If you use the Camera, it must be plugged in through an AC adaptor (i.e. not running on batteries, alone).

  • chenderson22 Level 1 Level 1 (65 points)

    You must put the camcorder in play mode and then plug in the usb to connect the camcorder and computer. The screen on the camcorder will ask to what do you wish to connect. You choose "computer/printer." Then iMovie will allow you import the video clips.

  • adriannafromsebastopol Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I just bought the same camcorder, were you able to get it to work with your mac? Hope so, we're leaving for Disneyland in 2 days!

  • LithTannasg Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Just as an addendum:

    When the camera asks you to select memory after pressing playback, if you select a specific source (such as a memory card or the internal memory) you won't receive the error message. That only occurs if you select "All" when using a Mac.

  • 1980OKOK Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I had to call Canon customer support to find out how to load videos into iMovie '11 from my Vixia HF R20 camcorder.


    They told me what to do, step by step, and it works! If you don't do it in this exact order, it may not work.


    Turn on your camcorder.


    Plug the camcorder into a power source.


    Click the "video mode" button on your camcorder. It looks like a little video camera and has some arrows.


    Use the USB cord to plug the camcorder into your mac.


    When the screen on the camcorder asks what memory to use, click "Select ALL"


    Open iMovie


    In the middle of the iMovie screen, there is a small gray videocamera icon. Click on that.


    Your videos will come up and you have the option to load all of them or any of them.

  • adriannafromsebastopol Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I did what 1980OKOK did and it works every time. Gotta love the message board!

  • pnkmom24 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you so much for the answer because I was about to pull my hair out trying to get this done!!! =)  Grateful it's so simple!!

  • martnkel Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Has anyone tried uploading their videos directly from the SD cards to the Mac.  My MAC does not see any of the video or still shots. Tried to format a SD card in MAC OS Extended format but that did not work in the Canon camera. 


    Also if you try to upload previous video via the USB cable, will iMovie identify the video as a duplicate. 

  • mmcgurr Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I've tried to upload directly from the SD card and have the same issue you have. Seems ridiculuous to have to take the extra steps to plug the camera into the wall then plug the camera into the computer.

  • parrill Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Don't know if you had the same problem I did, but in case this helps anyone...

    The instructions above (1980OKOK's) work for getting files off the internal memory, but I was unable to get them off the memory card. In my case the disk images mounted as soon as the camera was connected via USB, but I couldn't import using iMovie (09) because they're .mts files, so iMovie  doesn't not recognize them (greyed out in import window). I finally  gave up on iMovie, opened the disk directly, tunneled down to  AVCHD > Stream (where the files  live), dragged  them to my desktop and used Handbrake (most recent version--9.6, awesome freeware) to convert them to mp4 (which iMovie can handle) for editing.


    (By the way, when there were no files on the internal memory, the camera wasn't  recognized. Turned out not to matter in my case, but thought I'd mention it.)

  • NicoLongo2020 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have a question. I am new to Mac and I have a lot of Cannon vixia hf r20 videos on my external hard drive which was for Windows. I converted the hard drive to work for both Mac and Windows but, all my videos are  not reconized by my MacBook. How can I get them to work? I dont want to loose all my videos.

  • GregoryNP Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    1980OKOK's  solution also worked with my iMovie 9


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