Import Non-iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad 2 Video into iMovie 1.2 for iOS

19th March 2011

Despite Apple’s suggestions to the contrary it is possible to take footage on a camera or another kind of phone other than an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad 2 and edit it using iMovie for iOS. My instructions are for 720p video however it should work for any resolution and type of video up to 720p. Here’s how to do it. If you don’t already have it download and install the latest version of MPEG Streamclip (v1.2 for Windows and v1.9.2 for OSX). Open the file you want to convert in MPEG Streamclip then "Export to Other Formats…". If MPEG Streamclip can open and play it then it can export it - if not you’re out of luck. There are several settings that work however my favourite that seems to maintain the best quality (in my tests thus far - I’ll let you know if/when I find better settings or alternative software) are: Format = Quicktime Movie, Frame Size = 1280x720 HDTV 720p (or match the source of your video - don’t rescale the video unless you want to lose quality). Save the destination file somewhere on your PC. Now the video is in a compatible format so then you need to get it onto the iPad. I have the camera connection kit which makes it really easy. If you have an SD card and you can write files to it that works, or if you have a USB Flash Disk (Thumb Drive, USB Disk whatever you want to call it) put it in your PC and make sure there’s a directory called "DCIM" at the root level of the folder structure, then copy your modified movie files onto the card/drive. Make sure the movie file names are no greater than 8 characters long and end in ".MOV" or it won’t work. Now eject your flash card/drive and then plug it into your camera connection kit and then into your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch 4th Gen with iMovie installed. Photos will load up and ask you to import the video files off your card/drive. Import them - it’s up to you if you want to then delete them from your card/drive it doesn’t make any difference to getting this to work. Close Photos and open iMovie and your videos should load when you open/create a project and browse your video media files. I’d like to say it couldn’t be easier but oh well. We live in hope that Apple improve things in future and make this process easier. Enjoy editing whatever video you like on your iOS device with iMovie.

Update: There are limitations to the size of the flash disk as larger flash disks when using the USB Camera Connection kit. A 2Gb drive works okay but an 8Gb will not. An SD Card is a better option for transferring larger files.