To most people, a video shot with a camcorder and a video shot with a DSLR or compact camera are essentially the same thing: a video file stored on a memory card. But to iLife’s applications, they’re quite different: iMovie was designed specifically to import footage from camcorders, while iPhoto was designed to import images from still cameras.
By necessity, iPhoto can import video files shot by still cameras. But since iMovie can’t import those files directly, it offers a bridge: In the Event library, click the iPhoto Videos item to view movies stored in your iPhoto library.
This approach doesn’t allow you to organize movies into iMovie Events, however. When you need to incorporate more clips into a project, you must keep returning to the lengthy list of iPhoto videos. One way around this annoyance is to copy iPhoto videos to your existing iMovie Event Library—but if you do that, you end up with duplicate clips on your hard disk, which takes up a lot of valuable space.
3. In Image Capture’s sidebar, look for the name of your camera or memory card in the Devices list (if the device isn’t already highlighted), and select it.
4. Locate the Import To drop-down menu at the bottom of the window, and choose Other.
5. Navigate to the iMovie Drop Box folder, which is located in your home folder at youruserfolder/Movies/iMovie Events/iMovie Drop Box. Click the Choose button.
6. 1-click on each movie you want to import to select it.
7. Click on the Import button. The files are then copied to the iMovie Drop Box folder.
8. Launch iMovie. (iMovie checks the Drop Box folder only when the application launches.)
9. A dialog box appears with the message that there are drop-box items waiting. Click on Import Now.
You’re prompted to choose or create an Event, as you normally would when importing video. The clips are then moved to that event and appear in the Event browser.
Admittedly, this method involves a lot of steps, and it’s made slightly more frustrating by the fact that Image Capture doesn’t remember other folder locations the next time you open the application.
To streamline this process, you can create an Automator workflow specifically for Image Capture.
The following simple Automator action makes the import process easier:
1. Launch Automator. A dialog box will appear, asking for the type of action you want to create. Choose Image Capture Plugin.
2. In the Actions list, select Files & Folders.
3. Drag the Copy Finder Items action to the right column.
4. Click the To pop-up menu and specify the iMovie Drop Box folder.
5. Save the Automator file with a descriptive name such as ‘Movies to iMovie.’
The next time you launch Image Capture, choose your workflow from the Import To menu.
Ideally, in a future release of the program, I would like to see iMovie gain the ability to import movie files directly from still point-and-shoot or DSLR cameras.
In the meantime, however, the workaround outlined above allows you to import the video clips directly into iMovie without having to deal with duplicate clips in iPhoto.