How to import video into iPhoto and iMovie

I’ve been using iMovie a lot recently and working through some of the minor challenges it presents. The program is simple in some ways, but that simplicity creates limitations and confusion for tasks that might otherwise be easy… if things weren’t so streamlined.

Normally when I’m going to import video into iMovie I just plug in my Canon Digital ELPH via USB and iPhoto automatically popus up, I then import all of the images and video and voila! They appear in iMovie under Macintosh HD > iPhoto Videos. Note, I sometimes have to start iMovie after iPhoto or close and then re-open it in order to see the latest iPhoto videos. I can tell it has new content to load when it asks “do you want to create thumbnails now” upon opening the program. So remember, if you aren’t seeing your iPhoto videos or images in iMovie, just restart iMovie.

I’ve found that iPhoto is really the best way to get videos into iMovie, even when you have to drag and drop clips directly into iPhoto, which adds an extra step. I do this whenever I take video screenshots using Snapz Pro X. This program is great for building video tutorials where you need to record your computer screen like this tutorial example. Once you’ve captured the footage however, Snapz simply renders a .mov file and places it right on your desktop. For some reason you can’t drag and drop the footage directly into iMovie so the first step is to put it into iPhoto.

Eventually with all of these video snippets going into iPhoto you might want to delete some of the old footage. Remember that when you delete images, videos or events in iPhoto you still need to empty the trash can in the program to actually free up space… I usually then also go to Finder > Secure Empty Trash… on my desktop to free up my hard drive. Also make sure to have external hard drives plugged in when you empty your computer trash because in doing so the computer will empty items you’ve deleted on those external drives, hence freeing up more space.