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What is iMovie - Things You Need to Know about iMovie

Part 1. An Introduction to iMovie and Related Knowledge

1.1 iMovie overview

Are you a Mac owner or are you thinking of owning one soon and you are wondering which, is the best application that you can use to create your videos? Worry no more since iMovie is exactly what you need. Think of an application that provides the basic features in movie editing, no- frills editing tools, easy to navigate from scene to scene and saves your edited files to digital format. iMovie will provide you with exactly what you need with no loss in quality. If you haven’t got it right, then let us go back to the fundamentals and get to know iMovie better. First things first- this way you will get to understand what makes iMovie the application of choice. In this case, it will be of the essence to look at what is iMovie, its developer and other important facts that will help you understand the product even better.

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imovie introduction

To put it simpler for a comprehensive understanding iMovie is an Apple consumer film making application or software. iMovie is a film making product that is sold by Apple and was first launched to the public in the year 1999. Just like other Apple Inc. software or products, it is only meant for Mac and iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini and iPod Touch) among other Mac products. During the time of its release, it was designed for Mac OS 8 application incorporated with the initial FireWire supporting consumer Mac model (iMac DV).

It is simply Apple's basic video editing software, designed for the amateur users. The software gets you right into the action, especially if you are using an iPhone, iPad, a camcorder or digital camera. It makes browsing, watching, arranging and saving your clips more fun in addition to making them great videos or trailers. In most cases, if you have bought your Apple product you will find it already installed, if the product does not have iMovie you can purchase it at Apple store since it is available in iLife suite.
Learn More about iMovie >> Download iMovie for Mac >>

imovie app

1.2 Main functions of iMovie

iMovie is a great software in the essence that it handles numerous tasks that are important in video editing thus making the task easier regardless of your editing experience and knowledge.

Import Videos from Various Sources

Though you might think that the strength of iMovie is simply editing videos, the truth is that it is video import software. It achieves this through detecting digital camcorders, cameras as well as analog-to-digital converter tools on your computer's USB in addition to / or FireWire ports. For this reason, it allows you to import clips to and from these devices. In addition, it enables you to analyze your video from the source before transferring it to your Mac's hard drive. Watch Video Tutorial

Edit Videos with Rich Functions

If you are familiar with videos, you might have noticed that editing is one crucial feature when it comes to video quality. The application gives you an easy way to edit and organize your clips. After importing the clips, this tool will help you to trim the unwanted part of the clip and it automatically splits the scenes for you into clips. The software uses a straightforward visual editing interface, which is sandwiched between clipboard and timeline style by the user. Videos can be dragged to the timeline or the clipboard, where they can be trimmed, combined or edited.

Transitions and Special Effects

Over the years, the strength and diversity of effects offered in iMovie have been increasing. The effects come in varieties of fade in, fade out and cross-fade, which are the simplest of video effects available. In addition, it comes with film effects, for instance sepia tone along with black and white. The most amazing side of these effects and transition is that it comes with action effects, such as earthquake or lightning, which can be viewed as advanced effects if you are still new to video editing. Watch Video Tutorial

Photo and Audio Editing

Living to the spirit of iLife suite, iMovie is integrated with your iTunes and iPhoto libraries making it simple to add photos as well as music to enhance your movies. It also allows you to trim and add audio files with audio fade effects. It offers additional integration features such as the "Ken Burns Effect", which is a slow zoom on a still image. Watch Video Tutorial

Titles and Text Effects

When it comes to adding text to your films iMovie matches almost all of the many editors available in the market. It allows you to add text over video or over black. In addition, there are a number of additional text effects that vary from music video style, scrolling titles in addition to other artful titles for instance falling letters or spinning text.

Export the Final Projects

With iMovie you can never fall out of options when it comes to export options once a project is finalized and saved. Such videos can be exported as simple Quicktime video files to your local computer, internet or email. The software is advantageous owing to the fact that QuickTime video files can be saved or exported in various sizes as well as levels of compression. Finalized projects can be exported to iDVD for integration into DVD, which you can burn onto DVD-ROMs. Watch Video Tutorial

1.3 Version history of iMovie

  Version    Release Date    Availability    Supported OS    Notes
iMovie 09
27/01/2009 Comes with all new Macs and for separate purchase (iLife '09) Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and 10.6 (Snow Leopard) Comes as part of the iLife '09 package
iMovie 10
20/10/2010 Comes with all new Macs sold on or after October 20, 2010 or for separate purchase in iLife 11 Mac OS X Lion (10.7.4 and later) Comes as part of the iLife '11 package. Also obtainable for purchase in the Mac App Store
iMovie 11
22/10/2013 Comes with all new Macs and for separate purchase from the Mac App Store Mac OS X Mavericks (10.9 and later)

1.4 iMovie for iOS (version history)

iMovie not only works on Mac OS X, but also available on iOS devices like iPhone and iPad. Learn More about iMovie for iOS >> Download iMovie for iOS >>

   Version    Release Date    Availability    Supported OS    Notes
iMovie for iOS 1.0
24/06/2010 App Store iOS 4.0 or later Initial release for iPhone 4
iMovie for iOS 1.1
08/09/2010 App Store iOS 4.1 or later Added support for iPod Touch (4th generation)
iMovie for iOS 1.2
10/03/2011 App Store iOS 4.3 or later Added support for iPad 2, and later iPhone 4S
iMovie for iOS 1.3
07/03/2012 App Store iOS 5.1 or later Added support for iPad (3rd generation)
iMovie for iOS 1.4
19/09/2012 App Store iOS 6.0 or later Added support for iPhone 5 and iPod Touch (5th generation)
iMovie for iOS 2.0
22/09/2013 App Store iOS 7.0 or later Added support for iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPad Air and iPad Mini

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1.5. iMovie HD

The HD ones are the older versions of iMovie. iMovies released in 2005 and 2006 are respectively called iMovie HD 05 (bundled as part of the iLife 05 package) and iMovie HD 06 (bundled as part of the iLife 06 package).

  Version    Release Date    Availability    Supported OS    Notes
iMovie HD 5
06/01/2005 Comes with all new Macs, and for a separate purchase (iLife '05) Mac OS X Comes as part of the iLife '05 package
iMovie HD 6
10/01/2006 Comes with all new Macs and for a separate purchase (iLife '06). Later provided as free download for iLife '08 users Mac OS X 10.3, 10.4, 10.5 and 10.6 Comes as part of the iLife '06 package

Part 2. iMovie Troubleshooting - Problems and Solutions

imovie supported formats

2.1 iMovie formats

  • DV
  • DV Widescreen
  • HDV 1080i (25 and 30 fps)
  • HDV 720p (25 and 30 fps)
  • MPEG 4 Simple Profile
  • iSight
  • Most QuickTime-compatible formats View iMovie Supported Cameras
imovie not responding

2.2 iMovie not responding or does not launch anymore?

The easiest way is to delete LIBRARY/PREFERENCES file for iMove. To trash your preferences file, you can take the following steps:

  • Open Finder and then press Command + Shift + G to activate the Go to the folder window;
  • Type "~/Library/Preferences/" in the blank and then press Go to enter the Preferences window;
  • Find the file and/or the file and trash it;
    Note: If you put the in the trash, then you need to open iTunes, iPhoto, and Aperture so they are pointing at the library you wish to use in iMovie. Then close them all.
  • Restart iMovie.
imovie export error

2.3 Export error 50

Some users may run into an error when export project from iMovie. Below are several solutions that you can have a try:

  • Method 1: Delete the shortest clip in your video, especially clips that are less than 2 seconds in length.
  • Method 2: The error may have something to do with the export settings. So you can change different export format, bit rate, or resolution.
  • Method 3: One of the clips probably triggers the error. You can copy the project first and then split it into pieces and export them one by one. In this way, you are able to see which part can be exported and which part can't. Lastly rework the problem section as the fix.
imovie import error

2.4 Can't import video into iMovie after installing Mavericks?

iMovie 9.0.8 or earlier doesn't support loading videos from camera on Mavericks. Opening the Camera Import window requires installation of iMovie 9.0.9 or higher.

Part 3. iMovie Tips - Using iMovie with Ease

3.1 How to update iMovie & iMovie projects and events

update imovie

If you are fed up with your old version of iMovie and you would like to have the software update rolled out, all you need to do is to update iMovie. The process of updating has been made much easier owing to the fact that most updates have addressed issues related to the general stability and compatibility of the software. Given that updating to the new version is free, all you need is to stay updated and enjoy the new software update rolled out.

In order to update the software successfully, you have to follow these simple steps. Then again, it is important to ensure that your system matches the supported requirements for a successful update. For instance, you must ensure that your system meets the following requirements.

  • OS X Mavericks
  • 2GB of RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • Though graphic capabilities are not mentioned anywhere, iMovie can run on any older graphic card.
After ensuring that your system meets the above-mentioned requirements, it is time to get the new version of iMovie. First, you will need to
  • Upgrade to Mavericks through the App Store if your system falls short of the requirements. For iMovie to work, your system must have at least OS X 10.6.8 installed in it.
  • Open App Store after which search for GarageBand don't worry about the cost since it is free regardless of having iLife before or not.
  • Though it might take long go to the Updates tab and wait for a minute. After which the most up-to-date versions of iMovie (10.0) will appear.
imovie update class

How to update iMovie projects and events

If iMovie 10.0 or later already exists on your Mac, then when you open the program, you will see an update dialog, on which it reads "Do you want to update your projects and events?" Click Update to start the process. If you don't want to update at the moment, then click Update Later.

How to update iMovie later

You can take the following steps to update iMovie projects and events at any time you like. Open iMovie and then navigate to the menu bar. Select File > Update Projects and Events and then click Update in the pop-up dialog.

export imovie to idvd

3.2 How to export iMovie project to iDVD

If you want to open your iMovie video in iDVD as a new project, you can:

  • Open a project in iMovie;
  • Select the project in the Project Library;
  • Choose Share (located on the top of your computer screen) > iDVD;

If you want to insert iMovie movie to an existing iDVD project, you can:

  • Choose Share > Media Browser (select the largest movie size available) > Publish;
  • Your project will be then added to Media Browser and available to all Apple applications that access the Media Browser;
  • If you have an existing iDVD project, iDVD will open it. Then you just need to click Media > Movie >iMovie to select the project you created in iMovie.

Learn More about iDVD >> Download iDVD for Mac >>

burn imovie to dvd

3.3 How to burn a DVD from iMovie

When you have successfully completed your projects and you feel that you want to burn the file to DVD for playback on TV, well go ahead and do it since the process is simpler than you might have imagined.

Related Articles:

Burn iMovie project with iDVD

  • In iMovie, click Share > Media Browser and choose Large as the export file size. Click Publish to create the large movie. Wait until the process is complete.
  • Open iDVD and choose Create a New Project. Type the name for your project and specify a directory to save the file. You can also choose an aspect ratio you prefer. Click Create to confirm the change.
  • Click Media > Movie > iMovie to locate your iMovie project. Then drag the target file to iDVD.
    Note: If you have created a project in iDVD, then go to File > Import > Video to select your iMovie footage.
  • Make whichever adjustments you wish and then click the Burn button. Insert a DVD and let it start burning
  • When the burning is finished, click Done.

Burn iMovie project with other DVD Burner

It is known that Apple has discontinued iDVD since Lion. So after upgrading to Mavericks, many users have encountered the "iDVD not working" problem. Here are the ideal solution under this circumstance:

  • To burn DVD from iMovie projects, you should first export iMovie project as videos files by choosing Share > Export Movie. When the videos files are generated, get a Mac DVD burning software to burn the edited video files.
  • Download and install Aimersoft DVD Creator for Mac. Then open the program and choose Create a New Project.
  • Click the Plus button on the top right corner to load your iMovie project. The added file will be listed in the Media Library.
  • You can further process the video with the built-in editor and apply customized DVD menu, if necessary.
  • Insert a blank DVD and then click the Burn button to create your DVD. Learn More

3.4 How to import videos from different devices to iMovie

In order to make movies in iMovie you must transfer the movies from a different source to iMovie. Owing to the fact that iMovie was primarily designed to import footage from devices that principally shoot video, task has been made much simpler. Such devices include digital camcorders that record to DVD, record to video and record to tape, FaceTime HD camera, hard disk drive, flash memory, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. When you transfer your video, iMovie does not wipe it out from your recording device.

Step 1: Prepare both your device and iMovie for import

In this step, you will open to iMovie and locate the cable that came with your device. Then connect your device to the computer using USB or Firewire cord and set it to the correct mode recommended for video export. Create a new event where your new project will be saved which is placed in the bottom-left Event Library panel. You can either decide to import automatic or manual. By Automatic option will enable you to import all the videos on your device, but if you opt to import just a few of the videos the Manual option will work for you.

Step 2: Start importing your videos from devices

After connecting your camera, click File then Import from Camera. However, it is important to note that things work differently, especially if you are importing from a memory based or a tape based device. In case your device is a:

Tape-based camcorder

  • Click File, then followed by Import from Camera;
  • In your Import window, you will have to switch the options from Automatic to Manual. Then select DV-VCR for Camera.
  • Cue the tape in the begging of the video or footage you want to capture in the Capture window.
  • Click Import then save to the location of your choice;
  • Then create a new event or an existing event if you have one;
  • Uncheck After import analyze for box. Then click Import;
  • You can click Stop to stop capturing;
  • After the import is complete, click Done.


  • Click File, then followed by Import from Camera;
  • In your Import window, you will have to switch the options from Automatic to Manual;
  • Then import the footage of your choosing. In this case, you have the option to select multiple clips or all of them. If you opt for multiple clips click Import All. In case of a few clips, click Import Selected. In case you get a pop up window asking to choose on the setting, click All to select Full-Original Size then proceed;
  • In the Save window, select the exact locating you prefer to save your videos;
  • Then create a new event or an existing event if you have one;
  • Uncheck After import analyze for box and then click Import;
  • After the import is complete, click Done.

External storage devices

  • Click File, then followed by Import Movies;
  • In the Import window, choose the video files that you would like to import;
  • Then create a new event or an existing event if you have one;
  • Check the Optimize video box then processed to select Full-Original Size;
  • Select Copy Files so that your original source media cannot be changed;
  • Then click Import.

youtube to imovie

3.5 How to import YouTube videos to iMovie

If you want to use the clips that you found on YouTube in your iMovie project, you can do it with the following to methods:

Related Articles:

Method 1:

  • Find the video on YouTube and then copy its URL in the address bar;
  • Navigate to an online video downloader page like in your web browser and then paste the video URL in the download bar.
  • Choose an iMovie-compatible video format and start the downloading process.
  • After the download is concluded, you can then import the clip to iMovie.

Method 2:

Downloading YouTube videos one by one is undoubtedly time-consuming. If you want to save time, you can take the following steps:

  • Download and install Aimersoft YouTube Downloader for Mac. Then when you browse for videos on YouTube, you will see a Download button appearing on the top-right corner of the video window.
  • Click the Download button, then the program will immediately start downloading the video for you. You can download up to 10 videos at a time.
  • After the downloads are complete, you can click the Downloaded tab to find the clips. Then click the Convert button on the right side and select Apple Software > iMovie. Click OK to confirm the change. Learn More
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