By April 3, 2011

Importing video in to iMovie for iPad – how to video

imovie_ipad_gallery1_20110302 Since the iPad 2 was announced a little over a month ago one of the things I was most looking forward to using was iMovie for iPad 2. iMovie was demonstrated at the iPad 2 press event and it looked like it would be an ideal way for me to do video editing while out ‘on the road’ as I’m frequently at various product launches recording video but to get the video edited while away from home requires me to take along my Macbook a well as my camera and cables etc. iMovie on the iPad looked like it might be a great way to bridge the gap while still enabling me to travel light.

So I started to play with iMovie last weekend and frankly I was instantly disappointed! I record almost all of my videos on a Sanyo XACTI camcorder, the video quality is good, the cameras are nice and small and recording to SD card makes life easy. So I put the SD card in to the camera connection kit for the iPad and plugged it in.

It takes only a few seconds for the thumbnails of the recorded videos to appear and just a little longer to import the video in to the iPad. Once the videos are imported I can see them in the recent imports and they playback quite happily on the iPad itself. The frustration starts when you launch iMovie and cant see the videos you’ve just imported!

I’ve spent the past several days trying to work out why videos aren’t available to iMovie. At first I thought it was because the imported videos did not appear in the iPad’s camera roll. So I tried using the iFiles app to move the imported video to the camera roll. This doesn’t solve the problem though.

So I then started to consider the format of the imported videos. Sanyo’s XACTI camcorders record in H.264 format with audio in AAC so are theoretically compatible and they the obviously play through the iPad’s photo app. At this point it was looking like the only way to use video in iMove on the iPad 2 was to record it with the iPad’s own camera and we all know how good that is. This would not be a good solution!

I’ve imported the video files from over 10 cameras and the only camcorder (that I own) that has footage that will work directly in iMovie is the Flip Ultra HD. So I analysed the video files from both the XACTI and the Flip on my Mac to work out the difference. Both are H.264 MP4 files and both have AAC audio. There seemed not to be any difference between the two. HOWEVER, when I looked more closely I discovered where they differed. The Flip records audio at 44.1KHz and the XACTI (all of the XACTI’s) record at 48KHz. Could that be the problem? Next test was a strip the audio from the file on the XACTI and re-import it on the iPad to see what happens. Success! OK so there’s no audio but the imported mute video appears right away in iMovie. So it looks like iMovie and only use video where the audio is recorded at 44.1? The bad news for me is that I cant change the audio recording mode on the XACTI and, worse still, it looks like almost every other HD camcorder records at 48KHz.

I’ve been looking for a workaround to the problem, a way to change the audio for the recorded video file. A few solutions exist. Firstly you could import the video on a Mac or PC and then from within Quicktime save the file back out and then, through iTunes, move the file from the PC back to the iPad for editing. But that method requires the use of a PC or Mac, which I want to avoid, and if you’re going to copy the files to your PC why not simply edit them there!?

The workaround that I’ve found that I am happy with isn’t ideal but does the job reasonably well. It involves using the free Vimeo iPhone app running on the iPad. I’ve demonstrated my solution in the video below but what I have done is to import the video file from the XACTI using the camera connection kit, then open the video file in the Vimeo App. save the video back out of Vimeo and this makes the video appear in iMovie! Now that iMovie can see it you can use the video and edit to your hearts content!

As I say, this isn’t a perfect solution by any means as the video will be compressed and recompressed with both Vimeo and iMovie but actually the results aren’t too bad. My demo video below was edited entirely on the iPad.

I sincerely hope (Pray!) that Apple make updates to iMovie so that it supports more video and audio formats, being tied to using the iPad’s camera is rubbish! Does anyone know of any other camcorders that are natively supported by iMovie?

The video below shows how to use imported video within iMovie.


Importing video in to iMovie for iPad – how to video


Posted by: Matt

Posted in: Videos/Unboxings

About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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