Importing .MPG into iMovie '11

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by IamZilog, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. IamZilog macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2011
    Hello Everyone,

    Please excuse me if this has been discussed before.

    Here are the specifics:

    Sony Handycam DCR-SX85
    16GB Internal Memory being used
    Video - MPEG-2 PS (file extension is .mpg)

    OS X Ver. 10.6.7
    2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
    4GB 667Mhz DDR2 SDRam
    1TB HHD w/675GB Free
    iMovie '11
    System fully patched and updated.

    I can import the video directly from the camcorder into iMove '11. I start iMovie first. I create an "Event". I connect the camcorder to my Mac via USB. iMovie sees the camcorder and automatically starts importing the video (after confirming Event info, etc...) Video imports and all is well.

    Sometimes though, I just need to copy the video from the camcorder to a folder on the Mac so I can work with it later. With iMovie NOT running, I connect the camcorder to the Mac via USB, drill down into the folder structure until I find the video files, and then copy them into the folder. When I do this, the files on the camcorder BEFORE copying over end with the ".mpg" extension, so I am not changing anything.

    I open iMovie, create an Event, Right Click on the Event, and select "Import Movies". I then get a popup where I can navigate to the video files in the folder. The video files themselves are greyed out, but if I select the folder that they are in and complete the process, iMovie asks me to confirm that I want to import "x" number of Items located in "x" folder. So it sees the folder and the videos in the folder.

    I then tell it to import the video and get a popup stating that the files are being imported and it shows a status bar with an estimated time.

    The problem is that there is never an indication that files are being imported. The status bar shows no progress. There is no estimated time like 20 minutes or 20 hours. And I don't see the video appearing in my Event like it does when importing directly from the camcorder.

    When I look at the list under "Force Quit Application" iMovie looks fine. It does not display the "unresponsive" you normally see when an application locks up.

    So, why is it that I can import directly from the camcorder but not from a folder on the Mac?

    What do I need to do to the files on the Mac to get them into iMovie?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. jahala, Apr 28, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2011

    jahala macrumors regular


    Feb 7, 2008
    Import Camera Archive

    I had the same question a while ago. The solution is to copy the whole DCIM folder from the camera to your Mac. Keep the name DCIM. Then in iMovie choose File -> Import...-> Camera Archive... and navigate to your DCIM folder. Everything should import fine from there. If that does not work, maybe iMovie needs the .mpg files to be directly in the DCIM folder, so just move the .mpg from the subfolder to the DCIM folder and try again. I did it so long ago that I don't remember that particular detail.

    Let me know if this is not clear and I will explain another way.
  3. IamZilog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2011
    Thanks - I'll give it a shot tonight and will let you know how it goes.

  4. IamZilog thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2011
    It Worked!


    The directory structure for my camcorder is a little different and didn't have a DCIM folder, so I copied the top level folder which had a sud-folder with the video files in it to my desktop. I was able to successfully import to iMovie using the Camera Archive option you recommended below.

    I then pulled the sub-folder out on its own with the video files in it and tried to import again and it wouldn't work, so it looks like I need the top level folder and everything in it for the process to work correctly.

    Thanks for your help. I do appreciate it.

  5. bettysauser macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2011
    Converting .mpg

    I have a similar problem with my Sony Handcam DCR-SR45. Do I need to convert the movie files (.MPG) into another format before importing into iMovie?
  6. johannsmith macrumors newbie

    Jul 31, 2011
    Got mine working for the first time...

    I could not help but to get frustrated when I've copied years of footage and the iMovie app could not just natively use my footage and work away with it.

    Reading most of the forums and why the need is there to first plug the camera in, then startup iMovie and then import all the files. Just didn't make sense if you took footage from 3 yrs ago.

    So I finally found the answer.

    I created the following file structure...


    Copied all my files into the 101PNV01 directory (1300 files of different sizes)

    Opened up iMovie11 and then select File->Import->Camera Archive

    Select the top folder CamCorderMovies and select Import

    All the files appear and you can now import them, funny thing is it says CamCorderMovies is a Camera ( oh well, it works ).

    Hope this helps a lot of people with Sony Handycam Camcorders with HDD.

    Johann Smith
  7. PjfZim macrumors newbie

    Oct 24, 2011
    MPG files import to Imovie

    Hi Johann,

    Please may you explain the steps to creating a file structure CamCorderMovies/MP_ROOT/101PNV01 as I no longer have access to the camera and this looks like the only option I have left at the moment.

    Kind regards

  8. siwilko macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2011
    Not a happy bunny


    Hello there.

    I am a newbe to the Mac world.
    I have a load of mpegs which I have tranfered from my PC to my Mac.

    I cannot import them into IMovie.
    I tried creating a similar structure to that above and the import does NOT work.

    I find it very poor that software with the Mac reputation cannot import MPEGs MTS files without the stucture being there behind it.

    Pinaccle 14, Serrif Movie5 and Vagas can deal with this I am surpised and disapointed that I have spent over £2k on a system that cant.
  9. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    That is because Apple differentiates between transport/delivery formats and editing codecs.

    MPEG Streamclip should do the trick. I've heard that the $20 MPEG QT plugin/extension is now built into Lion.
  10. siwilko macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2011

    Thanks for the info,
    I have found a little gem of a program called 'Mini Video Converter' in the App Store it just about converts anything to anything (give or take) for less the $2
    which is nice ;)
  11. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    I had already purchased the MPEG 2 Playback Component before I upgrade to Lion, but I don't believe that this is correct. If it were true, then the codec would account for almost all of the cost of the Lion upgrade. The reason that the MPEG 2 Playback Component is not free is that it uses licensed technology from Sorensen. If you want to use Sorensen's technology, then you must cross its palm with silver. If, like me, you have already have the codec installed, then it works perfectly fine after you upgrade to Lion. However, it is not bundled with Lion.
  12. siwilko macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2011
    Spoke too soon :mad:
    Mini Converter Worked but changed the aspect ratio from Wide to standard.

    Quick question,
    Should mpeg-2s play on the Lion OS because mine don't?
    Testing the conversion , using Mini Video Converter, I had to use my pc to test the mpeg2 against the converted MP4 on the Mac.
  13. siwilko macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2011
    Having downloaded MPEG Streamclip, MP4 plays wide screen!! , Quick time has the aspect ratio issue. I am having fun! :confused:
  14. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    Ok, so it isn't then.

    Thanks for the correction.
  15. Virtuous70 macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2012

    Thank you! This method worked great for me, what a relief! Previously, I had been using Handbrake to convert the .mpg files for iMovie, but the de-interlacing was ugly. I would like to add that if you intend to perform this action on different folders of clips, I found it necessary to quit iMovie before starting the next import.
  16. knhellesky macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2012
    I got the videos (.mpg) imported to iMovie using the file structure above, but...they dont have audio? what gives? :(
  17. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    You have given no information about your video files. It sounds like they are multiplexed aka "muxed." In these, the audio and video are combined into a single track. Use MPEG Streamclip to demux the video and audio into separate tracks.
  18. knhellesky macrumors newbie

    Jun 17, 2012
    I apologize. Yes, the clips I have are all integrated in one file (.mpg) and I don't have the old folder structure when they were imported a long time ago.

    I am a recent Apple convert and never really needed to "convert" my video files as they've always worked before on all my Windows systems (from '98 to WIN7).

    I'll try Handbrake to see if I can move these files and look at your MPEG Streamclip solution as well.

  19. ppreuscho macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2012
    It works 100% with DCIM:

    Create any folder like "my videos" then create subfolder "dcim" and copy your videos to "dcim". - All done now :)

    Go to imovies - import from camera archive and select "my videos" (not "dcim") and then OK

    I hope it helps - worked for me :)
  20. Helgamobil macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2012
    Thanks Johann, this really works, no idea why or how but IT WORKS - it costs nothing - perfect. You are a genius! Thank you.
  21. cjwo57 macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2010
    THANK you so much for posting this! I have been fighting with video from two cameras, a Canon FS100 and a Sony DVD610, trying to import the video. Most of the clips are on the Sony, which is importing right now from my DCIM folder. I will try a similar approach with the Canon when I am done.
    Why do they make this so hard.....?

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