How to Import AVI Video Files to iMovie on Mac

iMovie and AVI are widely used for editing and saving video. However, when they both appear on Mac, problems appear. See the following example:

I have a video in AVI format. I want to edit it with iMovie, but I can't import it to iMovie. Some people said that QuickTime can change its format after it is opened, but QuickTime can't open mpg format either. -- Dorothy

For those AVI files that can't be imported to iMovie and QuickTime Player, a AVI converter or a video editor is necessary. There is incompatibility codec contained inside the AVI format. Therefore, you have to use an iMovie compatible codec, or use an iMovie alternative video editor that enables you to edit AVI without changing the original codec. The prior method is considerable if you need to stick with iMovie. Download AVI to iMovie Converter for free trial now.

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Why iMovie Won't Import AVI Files?

Actually, iMovie can import some AVI video files for editing on Mac. For example, if your AVI files are encoded with Motion JPEG (OpenDML), they are supported by iMovie. How do you check for the codecs inside AVI? Please open QuickTime Player App, under the Window menu in the menubar, click on ‘Show Movie Inspector’ or use the Command + I shortcut to bring up the dialogue shown as below.

If an AVI file could not be imported to iMovie, it means it contains a codec that is incompatible with iMovie. You have to find an AVI converter to change the codec in your AVI video files. Alternatively, find a video editor like iMovie so you could edit AVI on Mac without conversion and quality loss. This article will share you 3 methods to import AVI to iMovie for playing and editing.


Part 1: How to Convert AVI Files for Editing in iMovie

Movavi Video Converter is highly recommended to convert AVI to be iMovie-compatible. This AVI to iMovie converter can quickly convert AVI and import to iMovie with less quality loss. You can even edit avi video by clipping, adding filter effects, adding watermarks, editing subtitles, etc. If you want to do basic editing on your AVI files, Movavi video converter is already enough. iMovie is certainly not necessary. Below are simple steps for converting AVI to MP4 for iMovie.

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Step 1. Add Your AVI Files to Video Converter

Download and install this AVI to iMovie video converter. To import AVI video files, click the Add Media button and select Add Video. Then choose your AVI files from the browser. Alternatively, simply drag and drop AVI files to the software.

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Step 2. Choose The Output Format: MP4 for iMovie

There is an optimized output format for editing AVI on iMovie: MP4 for iMovie. Select it from the output format menu and click the Convert button to start converting AVI files immediately.

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Step 3. Import AVI to iMovie for Editing

When the conversion complete, launch iMovie, create a new Movie or Trailer project. Then import the converted AVI files to edit with iMovie. See detailed steps on to see how to add clips to iMovie if necessary. With Movavi Video Converter, you're able to edit video files in AVI and other formats, even though it's an iMovie-incompatible format.

Part 2: How to Import Any AVI File for Editing on Mac (No Conversion)

iMovie is a good video editing application for entry-level users. It's easy to get video editing started. However, the drawbacks are also obvious. iMovie is not only incompatible with most AVI files, but WMV, MKV, FLV, and more. Why not get an iMovie for Mac alternative, e.g. Movavi Video Editor, to import and edit AVI files without conversion? Movavi Video Editor supports all regular AVI files with codecs like MPEG-4, MPEG-2, WMV V8, H.263, MJPEG, ProRes, H.264, etc.

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Part 3: How to Convert AVI to iMovie with Online Video Converter

Free solutions are usually most welcome. Here are the two cloud video converter that you can use to convert AVI for iMovie without money, or google more if you have tried them but didn't work.

Note that there are lots of misleading button on these free AVI to iMovie online converter. Avoid clicking on wrong buttons or links by mistake. Another cost may be the time. That's because you have to upload AVI files online first. This will take you very long time if your AVI files are big, e.g. more than 2GB. Plus, never upload private video that you don't want others to watch. There is a possibility that your video may be stolen by hackers. So if possible, a normal AVI to iMovie converter software is preferred.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Importing AVI to iMovie

How can I play an AVI file on my Mac?

QuickTime Player App is recommended to play AVI files on Mac. If an AVI video could be played with QuickTime Player, it usually could also be edited with iMovie and FCP. For those AVI files could be played on Mac, try other media players like VideoLan Media Player (VLC) and PotPlayer for Mac.

How do I export iMovie to AVI?

It's impossible to export iMovie to AVI format directly. You could first convert iMovie project to an MP4 or MOV video file and then convert it to AVI using the methods described in this post.

Can iMovie convert AVI to MP4?

Yes, if your AVI files could be imported in iMovie, it's easy to convert AVI to MP4 format. Just click the Upload button and choose File. In the dialogue that appears, make necessary settings and pay special attention to the quality option: If you select Low, Medium, High or Custom, the iMovie project will be converted to an MP4 video. However, if you select "Best (ProRes)", what you get is an MOV video file. Why? That's because MOV with ProRes is more suitable to keep high quality video. Another workaround is to convert iMovie to MOV and then convert MOV to MP4 with a professional video converter.

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