How do I convert .mov files to a format that works with iMovie?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by newtomac29, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. newtomac29 macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2009
    I am a new mac user with an iMac, OS 10.5.7, basic software, iLife and adobe cs4. I have a older Kodak digital camera (model EasyShare, DX4530) that takes short video clips and apparently saves them as .mov files. I can open them in iDVD but not imovie. I wanted to be able to edit them the way the tutorial for imovie demonstrates but apparently that isn't going to happen unless I make some changes. Is it possible to save them in another format that will work with imovie? If so what would be best and what program would work best. I do not mind spending a few bucks for a good program if necessary. Thanks for your help
  2. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    So within iMovie, File->import doesn't work? Weird. My /mov files from my Canon digital camera ( mjpeg codec ) work this way.

    You should be able to open them in Quicktime and export it back out as a quicktime movie but with the AIC ( Apple Intermediate Codec ) format. iMovie will take the resulting file.

    The resolution of your camera's movies appear to be 320x240, so I wouldn't be expecting too much quality wise.

    Hope this helps!
  3. newtomac29 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2009
    Thanks, I have ordered quicktime (only had the reader) and will try to save using that. I am thinking of a getting a different camera especially if this one does not do quality clips but the old ones are irreplaceable.

    Update: Apple sent me a code to unlock the quicktime features. I experimented with various file formats and finally got one to work (m4v? mp4? avi? image sequence?). I couldn't duplicate the results with other clips, however. I'm not really sure which one worked but imovie suddenly populated its edit window with one of the files. No file name so I'm not sure which one worked. I will keep trying.
  4. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    Don't forget you can do basic editing in Quicktime Pro itself as well.
  5. dhd macrumors member


    Dec 12, 2007
    Hi, try to open that mov with the free app MPEG Streamclip, export to dv (PAL if you live in europe, NTSC in the USA/Americas). Imovie should take that without complaints. QT pro seems to go free in Snow Leopard, you can upgrade for 29 dollars, I don't know if QT Pro will be available then...

    Hope it helps,
  6. newtomac29 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2009
    Thank you for all your replies. I have tried the two suggested programs and they seem to convert fine but iMovie still does not allow them to be loaded. I tried .dv and .mpeg-4. When I go through the 'import' process in imovie, it seems to be working and says it is creating thumbnails but nothing ever shows up. I am obviously over my head and think I will have to bail on this project and get a new video camera! Now I just have to be sure it works with iMovie!
  7. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    Sorry we couldn't help better. If you can provide me a sample 10 second clip, I can work on a better workflow for you. In the long run, I think you'll be happier with a new camera though.
  8. newtomac29 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2009
    Thanks for the offer! I will probably get a new camera for the future but would still like to know how to make these work. This one is still in the original format (.mov) or would you rather have one of the converted ones?
    oops, when I try to attach the file it won't work. Seems like it only wants image type files, not movies. I revisited the converter programs but they do not save in a compatile format and I can't figure out how to zip this file. Mostly I love this Mac but there are times...
  9. mountweary macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2013
    possible solution

    This might not be relevant to your particular issue, but in case it's of any help to you or anyone with a similar problem:

    I was suffering through this issue for ages until I happened upon an unlikely solution: try CHANGING THE FILE NAME. This might sound ridiculously simple, but it worked for me after I went through countless attempts at working around what seemed like an impossible situation.

    It turns out that the forward slashes (/) I had used to identify the .mov files I was trying to import was the problem all along. Nothing indicated this, which is why it took me forever to figure it out (no error message, except for a "-37" error that appeared when I tried to import the same files on my old mac, using an older version of iMovie).

    This was immensely frustrating but I'm glad it's finally resolved. Hopefully sharing my experience here will be of use to someone out there!
  10. Chad3eleven macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2012
    I would say its the codec that is holding you back.. which is the type of compression used to make the .mov files.

    And fyi, simply converting it to 'a more compatible video format like MPEG-4' isnt the trick either, because those you can still run into codec issues.

    when you open the quicktime file, hit command-I (apple-I - or get info)

    what does it say under format?

    ex: H.264, 960 × 540, Millions
    IMA 4:1, Stereo, 48.000 kHz

    you'll be able to tell the codec of the file for starters, and you can see the size and frame rate (which I think is 320x240, maybe 30 fps)

    You also may need a different program to convert the files, perhaps handbrake or FFmpeg.

Share This Page