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Can't Import *Anything* into iMovie

4467 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Nov 19, 2008 2:59 PM by bluesroots RSS
louisegd Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Jul 17, 2008 4:11 PM
I had a 1-to-1 @ Apple to learn about iMovie & iDVD...they both looked simple and fun! However, now that I'm at home - and weeks later - I can't even get started.

When I try to import a movie .avi or .jpg, I can't select anything. All files are grayed out. If I use the in-application photo & video finder, the same thing happened, but only the photos are listed, no .avi videos to choose from. If I open the Finder window, I can drag .jpg photos into iMovie, but no .avi files.

Why? Isn't this a movie making application? And I can't important any movies? What am I doing wrong?
Mac Pro 4-Core, Mac OS X (10.5.2), Novation X-Station MIDI Keyboard
  • dontwhine Level 1 Level 1 (95 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 17, 2008 4:46 PM (in response to louisegd)
    It is bizarre.... I just complete the import of 153 clips from a Flip camera after installing its codec called 3Divix. Flip Camera generates .AVI files.

    What's your system configuration? (OS, iMovie version etc.)
    What version of QuickTime are you using?
    What camera are you importing from?
    If you are importing from file, what type of .avi file are you trying to import?
    It's easy to find out by opening that file in QuickTime and click COMM+I

    Also, you might want to browse the new tutorials. They helped me a lot about refreshing my memory on several features:

    http://www.apple.com/ilife/tutorials/#imovie

    There are 25 tutorial on line and if you watch them and actually try the steps in them by pausing them when you need to, it really helps.
    HAL-9000, Mac OS X (10.5.4)
  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,520 points)
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    Jul 17, 2008 5:12 PM (in response to louisegd)
    When I try to import a movie .avi or .jpg, I can't select anything. All files are grayed out.
    To begin with, JPG giles cannot be "imported" to either an Event or a Project. They can be dragged and dropped from the photo browser to a Project or (as you noted) they can be dragged and dropped directly from the Finder to a Project. As to AVI files, you will have to be more specific. AVI is a file container in which various forms of compressed audio and video content can be placed. Basically, if either the audio or the video data is compressed in a format that iMovie '08 cannot edit, the application will not let you import the file. Video formats like DV, AIC, M-JPEG, Photo-JPEG, MPEG-4, and H.264 can be edited. Audio formats like Uncompressed, DV, AIFF, AAC, various "Integer" compression schemes, etc. can be edited. In addition, AVI files containing proprietary compression formats like WMV, DivX, 3ivX, Microsoft MPEG-4 variations, etc. cannot be edited because third-party QT components cannot be accessed from within iMovie '08.



    Why? Isn't this a movie making application?
    No. Actually it is a video editing application. Like many, you make the mistake of lumping all forms of video together as if they were all the same. As far as QT is concerned, some forms of video are "playback" only. The can be played but not converted to other compression formats nor edited. Other formats can be played as they and cannot be edited but can be converted to an "edit" compatible formats that can be used in iMovie '08. The last group is composed of "edit" compatible compression formats which can be edited, played, and/or converted as they are. Just as you cannot play a DVD on a CD player, you cannot import files which are not compatible with editing in the QT structure.



    And I can't important any movies? What am I doing wrong?
    You are not converting the files to an edit compatible compression format. If the files play normally in QT or QT based applications, then you may well be able to convert them to an editable format.



    2.0GHz 3GB G5/533MHz 384MB G4 DeskTop/400MHz 384MB G4 Ti PB, Mac OS X (10.5.3), 60GB 5G iPod, 4GB iPhone, Nikon D-70, Nikon CoolPix 990, Sony HDR-HC3
  • CCS69 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 26, 2008 10:57 AM (in response to louisegd)
    I can't import anything into new iMovie, either. I'm trying to import the video files from the Apple Training Series book for iLife '08, and all video files are greyed out. Anyone know what's causing this? It won't recognize any video file of any kind. These are editable formats and are supposed to work.

    Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.
    MacBook Pro 15" Core2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.4.11), iMovie 7.1.4
  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,520 points)
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    Aug 26, 2008 1:58 PM (in response to CCS69)
    I'm trying to import the video files from the Apple Training Series book for iLife '08, and all video files are greyed out. Anyone know what's causing this?
    If the file is greyed out, it usually means one or more of the tracks cannot be edited in iMovie '08.



    It won't recognize any video file of any kind. These are editable formats and are supposed to work.
    You've referenced the source of the files, you've stated no video of any kind is recognized, and you've said the files are supposed to be editable. What you have not done is specify the audio and video compression formats used in any of the files you've tried to import nor have you said whether or not any non-edit compatible tracks (like "Tween") are included in the files. If you do not know how to determine this information, upload or send a sample file segment of one of your problem files for examination.



    2.0GHz 3GB G5/533MHz 384MB G4 DeskTop/400MHz 384MB G4 Ti PB, Mac OS X (10.5.3), 60GB 5G iPod, 4GB iPhone, Nikon D-70, Nikon CoolPix 990, Sony HDR-HC3
  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,520 points)
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    Aug 26, 2008 2:13 PM (in response to louisegd)
    When I place these .avi files into Switch, the only choices I'm given are audio file formats and .mov. Why?... It seems like the only thing that'll play back in QT is the audio, no video, when I do this. How come?
    If you are referring to the Switch Audio Converter, I think the name of the application answers your question -- i.e., it only converts audio content.



    Is there an easier way to convert my 100+ video files of my baby into a usable file format for iMovie?
    The easiest to use batch converter that I know of is iSquint (free). Drop 10, 20, 50, etc. files to the work area, press the "Optimize for TV" button, press the "Start" button, and let it do its thing. Not sure if it will handle all possible compression formats you may run into but I know it handles thins like DivX/MP3 compressed AVI files without a problem.



    My digital camera is about 2 years old (or so). Samsung NV10.
    I believe this camera uses DivX compressed video.



    2.0GHz 3GB G5/533MHz 384MB G4 DeskTop/400MHz 384MB G4 Ti PB, Mac OS X (10.5.3), 60GB 5G iPod, 4GB iPhone, Nikon D-70, Nikon CoolPix 990, Sony HDR-HC3
  • Pedro Santos Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Aug 26, 2008 2:30 PM (in response to Jon Walker)
    Hi Jon Walker

    Can you helping me with the my post ?
    iMac 2.4 GHZ Core 2 Duo 20", Mac OS X (10.5.4), 2 GB 800 Mhz
  • CCS69 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Sep 2, 2008 10:31 AM (in response to Jon Walker)
    Sorry it took a few days to respond, forgot to set my account to subscribe automatically. Thanks for following up.

    Okay, I think I understand the problem. Here's the deal. These files are from Apple Training Series: iLife '08 book from Peach Pit press. They are supposed to work. But they don't. I went to their site, and they had updated the files for one of the lessons, and those worked, but now I'm at another lesson, and those files won't import, and there are no updated files on their site. I've emailed my complaint to them.

    The first batch, it would appear that even though the files are .mov files, they were encoded using "HDV1080i60" codec and iMovie would not recognize them. The updated files were encoded using "Apple Intermediate" Codec and are recognized.

    This new batch use codec "DV/DVCPRO - NTSC" and are not recognized.

    I took an old .mov file I pulled off the web years ago. It wouldn't import, so I opened it in Quicktime and exported it as "Quicktime Movie". The resulting file can be imported.

    So, it would seem iMovie is limited regarding codecs (which would not normally be a problem when importing DV from one's own camcorder) and Peach Pit Press did not check their files before publishing.
    MacBook Pro 15" Core2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,520 points)
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    Sep 2, 2008 11:11 AM (in response to CCS69)
    The first batch, it would appear that even though the files are .mov files, they were encoded using "HDV1080i60" codec and iMovie would not recognize them. The updated files were encoded using "Apple Intermediate" Codec and are recognized.
    Correct. The HDV package is now only being installed by FCP software packages. If you don't have the "Pro" editor installed you will not normally have access to these codecs. AIC is the current standard for editing HD in iMovie and FCE.



    This new batch use codec "DV/DVCPRO - NTSC" and are not recognized.
    These files I would expect to work without a problem. DV (DV25), DVCPRO (DVCPRO25), and DVCPRO50 are standard SD DV compression formats that are still in common use on camcorders and/or DVcam devices. Was there anything non-standard regarding the audio for these files. DVD/DV and DV/AIFF should not present a problem but id PeachPit tinkered with the audio it is possible that iMovie '08 would refuse to import them. (I.e., both audio and video content must be iMovie '08 compatible for importing and editing at the files level.)



    So, it would seem iMovie is limited regarding codecs (which would not normally be a problem when importing DV from one's own camcorder) and Peach Pit Press did not check their files before publishing.
    When iMovie first went HD, I believe Apple may have included the HDV codecs (not sure here as this is about the time I switched to FCP/FCE) but in later versions added AIC as the default editing format and is now no longer supporting HDV for other than decoding and conversion to AIC. Frankly, it sounds as if they may have been "caught with their pits down" here and may have to update the some/all of their iMovie tutorials so keep after them.



    2.0GHz 3GB G5/533MHz 384MB G4 DeskTop/400MHz 384MB G4 Ti PB, Mac OS X (10.5.3), 60GB 5G iPod, 4GB iPhone, Nikon D-70, Nikon CoolPix 990, Sony HDR-HC3
  • CCS69 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 2, 2008 7:04 PM (in response to Jon Walker)
    Sorry I've got you in two threads, Jon. I'm convinced something is not right on my system. I should be able to import DV and H.264 codec files, but cannot. You might be right about the audio, as I have no idea what else the problem could be.

    The book was published only a few months ago. It is really really new and is completely up to date with the software, with the exception being ".mac" options are now "MobileMe".

    Also, I have FCP Studio 1 installed on my system. Could that cause a conflict with iMovie?
    MacBook Pro 15" Core2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • Jon Walker Level 6 Level 6 (17,520 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 2, 2008 7:30 PM (in response to CCS69)
    Also, I have FCP Studio 1 installed on my system. Could that cause a conflict with iMovie?
    Don't see why it should. It should simply add to your "Export using QuickTime" possibilities.



    I should be able to import DV and H.264 codec files, but cannot. You might be right about the audio, as I have no idea what else the problem could be.
    As I indicated in the other thread, there is the possibility that PeachPit Press created a custom file with a "Tween" or other incompatible data track that iMovie doesn't like. E-mail or post a short snippet for examination.



    2.0GHz 3GB G5/533MHz 384MB G4 DeskTop/400MHz 384MB G4 Ti PB, Mac OS X (10.5.3), 60GB 5G iPod, 4GB iPhone, Nikon D-70, Nikon CoolPix 990, Sony HDR-HC3
  • bluesroots Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 19, 2008 2:59 PM (in response to CCS69)
    I'm having the exact same problem of not being able to import movies from the lessons in the Apple Training Series iLife '08 book. You said that you went to 'their site' and they had updated the files. Is this the Peachpit Press site? If so, how did you find these updated files once you got there? I've tried the site but couldn't find the files.
    imac, Mac OS X (10.5.5)

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