iMovie Formats: How to Convert Any Video to iMovie Supported Formats

2018-11-14 02:35:54 / Posted by Rosa Reyes to Video Follow @ Rosa

Developed by Apple Inc., iMovie is an easy-to-use and effective video editing software application. You can easily import a video to iMovie from a camera or folder on your Mac or other sources, edit it and export the edited video to your hard drive, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, etc. However, iMovie has limited import and export formats. If your video is in a format that iMovie doesn’t support, then you won’t able to import it to iMovie, let alone get it edited. This article covers things you need to know about iMovie formats, and hopefully it can be helpful.

What file formats can iMovie import?

What file formats can I import into iMovie? Can I use MP4 in iMovie? Does iMovie support AVI? These are some of the most frequently asked questions about iMovie formats. You can find the answers here.

iMovie-Supported Import Formats

Format Stand for Type of Format Brief Introduction
H.264/AVC Advanced Video Coding (MPEG-4 AVC) Video compression format iMovie supports H.264-compressed video from a number of digital cameras with HD video recording feature.
H.265/HEVC High Efficiency Video Coding Video compression format iMovie supports HEVC files since maOS 10.13 High Sierra.
AIC Apple Intermediate Codec Video compression format AVCHD is a high-quality video codec and can be used by iMovie. It uses H.264 for video compression and AAC for audio.
ProRes Apple ProRes Video compression format Developed by Apple Inc., it is the successor of Apple Intermediate Codec.
MPEG-2 Motion Picture Experts Group 2 Video compression format It is widely used in digital video broadcast and DVDs.
MPEG-4 Motion Picture Experts Group 4 Video compression format It is a widely used method of defining compression of audio and visual digital data. 
MJPEG Motion JPEG Video compression format It is a video compression format in which each video frame is compressed separately as a JPEG image. 
MP4 MPEG-4 Part 14 Media container format iMovie supports all MP4 videos using iMovie-compatible video and audio codecs such as H.264 and AAC.
MOV QuickTime File Format Media container format MOV is the file extension of QuickTime File Format. iMovie supports all MOV videos using iMovie-compatible video and audio codecs.
M4V M4V Media container format Developed by Apple Inc., M4V is very similar to MP4. However, iMovie can't import DRM-protected M4V files.
DV Digital Video Format for digital recording It is a format for storing digital video. You can import video to iMovie from tape-based cameras in DV, including DVCAM and DVCPRO.
HDV High-definition Video Format for digital recording It is a format for recording of HD video on DV cassette tape. You can import video to iMovie from tape-based cameras in HDV format.
AVCHD Advanced Video Coding High Definition Format for digital recording and playback iMovie allows users to import videos from iMovie-supported cameras in formats AVCHD.
XAVC/XAVC S XAVC Format for digital recording Introduced by Sony, XAVC and XAVC S can support 4K resolution.
iFrame iFrame Digital video format Developed by Apple, it is created to simplify video editing. Videos recorded in the iFrame format will have optimized performance in iMovie.

iMovie-Unsupported Import Formats

Here is a list of the common video formats that are not supported by iMovie.

Format Stand for Type of Format Brief Introduction
WMV Windows Media Video Video compression format Developed by Microsoft, it is part of the Windows Media framework.
AVI Audio Video Interleave Media container format Introduced by Microsoft, it is a container for video and audio.
FLV Flash Video Media container format It is used to deliver digital video content online using Adobe Flash Player 6 and later versions.
MKV Matroska Media container format MKV is the file extension of Matroska which is a popular format for storing multimedia content.
VOB Video Object Media container format It is a container for digital video, digital audio and subtitles.
WebM WEB Media Media container format WebM is an open, royalty-free media container for video and audio.

iMovie-Supported Audio Formats for Import

Format Stand for Type of Format Brief Introduction
MP3 MPEG-1 Audio Layer III or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III Audio compression format It is an audio coding format for digital audio. 
AAC Advanced Audio Coding Audio compression format It is an audio coding standard for lossy digital audio compression.
WAV Waveform Audio File Format Audio container format Developed by Microsoft and IBM, it is an audio file format standard for storing an audio bitstream.
M4A MPEG 4 Audio Audio container format It is a file extension for an audio file encoded with Advanced Audio Coding (AAC).
AIFF Audio Interchange File Format Audio container format Developed by Apple, it is used for storing sound data. Its file extension is .aiff or .aif.

Now, here is something important about iMovie formats. Generally, when we talk about a video or audio format, we mean the container format, which is basically what the file extension is. The container format is like a wrapper which contains video or audio streams or both and packages them together. Within each container format, the video or audio streams may use different codecs (a.k.a. compression formats) which are used to convert uncompressed videos to the compressed ones. The compression format is what matters.

In the tables above, you can easily find the container formats that iMovie supports. iMovie typically supports MP4, MOV and M4V files. But not all MP4, MOV and M4V videos are compatible with iMovie. If a MP4 video contains compression formats (codecs) that are not accepted by iMovie, you won’t be able to import it. In a case like this, you need to use iMovie format converter to convert the file.

If you are confused by the iMovie formats thing and have no idea how to convert, don’t worry. Below is a detailed guide.

How to convert any video to iMovie-supported import formats

To convert any video to iMovie-supported media formats with high quality, you need a reliable iMovie format converter. Cisdem Video Converter for Mac allows you to convert any video to iMovie supported import formats or any other formats you may need. It fully supports OS X 10.10 Yosemite and later, including macOS 10.14 Mojave.

Cisdem Video Converter is an all-around video converter, audio converter, YouTube video downloader, video compressor and video editor. It supports all common video and audio formats as well as the rare ones. This iMovie format converter is easy to use with a simple and intuitive interface. Below is how to use it to convert your files to iMovie formats.

Free Download

Step 1Add videos to convert

Download and install this Cisdem iMovie format converter on your Mac. Import a video file by dragging and dropping.

To batch convert files to iMovie formats at the same time, you can drag multiple files into this app.

add files to convert to imovie formats

Step 2Select the output format

Click the RCV buttonrcv button, and the Output Format dialog box will appear. On the left side panel, select Apple Software > iMovie, and all the iMovie supported import formats will be listed on the right side panel. Select the one you prefer.

list of imovie supported formats

Step 3Start converting files to iMovie formats

Click the Convert iconconvert icon, and the conversion will start immediately.

Once the process is finished, you can click the tick icon to open the folder containing the converted files.

These steps will also apply to converting audios to iMovie supported audio formats. This is how you can easily convert any video or audio file to iMovie supported formats on Mac.

What file formats can iMovie export?

After you finish editing an iMovie project, you may want to export it or save it as MP4 or any other needed format. So, what export options do iMovie provide? You can export iMovie to:

  • Theater
  • Email
  • iTunes
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Vimeo
  • Image
  • File

If you want to save your iMovie project as a video file, just select the File option. And the File dialog box will show up, allowing you to select from a few iMovie supported export formats.

imovie export file dialog box

iMovie formats for export

With iMovie 10, there are two Format options: Video and Audio and Audio Only.

#1 Video and Audio

You can select from five Quality options: Low, Medium, High, Best (ProRes) and Custom. If you select Low, Medium or High, the export iMovie format will be MP4. If you select ProRes, the export iMovie format will be MOV.

#2 Audio Only

You can export iMovie to audio as AAC, MP3, AIFF or WAV.

Regardless of the iMovie version you are using (9, 11 or 10) and the available iMovie formats for export, you can easily convert iMovie to any format you need.

How to convert iMovie video to MP4, MP3, WMV, MOV or any other formats

Cisdem Video Converter for Mac can convert any video to compatible iMovie formats. It can also convert the exported iMovie file to any format you need.

You can use this Cisdem iMovie format converter to convert iMovie to MP4, WMV, MPEG-2, VOB, MPG, MOV, M4V, ASF, AVI, DivX, Xvid, FLV, SWF, RM, MKV, DV, WebM, TS, MP3, M4A, AC3, WMA, OGG, AIFF, FLAC, AMR and many more.

Here’s a scenario. You want to export iMovie to play on your devices such as iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Windows phone, Android phone, Xbox or PS4, etc., but you have no idea what formats these devices accept. Don’t worry. This Cisdem iMovie format converter is here for you. It lists all the common devices and applications along with the formats they accept. You only need to select the device. This app will do the rest for you.

Step 1Add files to convert

Download and install Cisdem iMovie format converter. Drag the iMovie files you need to convert. You can drag multiple files to convert in batch.

Step 2Select the device

Click the RVC button to open Output Format dialog box. On the left side panel, select your device, and then select from the supported formats.

cisdem video converter supported devices

Step 3Start converting

Click the Convert icon.

Conclusion

If you can’t import a video to iMovie, you need to convert it to one of supported iMovie formats. If an iMovie file won’t play on iPhone, Windows, QuickTime, etc. you need to convert iMovie to format that is supported by these devices, platforms or software applications. A reliable iMovie format converter can help you out in both situations.

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