How to import and edit 4K video files in iMovie smoothly?

If you are looking for a smooth workflow guide for 4K footage and iMovie, you are in the right place. This post explains a workaround to convert 4K video files to Apple InterMediate Codec (AIC) for use in iMovie with optimum performance.

4K has become a new standard in the video industry for films, TVs. In the Windows world, there are various editing packages claiming to have 4K-support, like advanced packages published by Adobe, Sony, Grass Valley, or Avid, also some relatively simple and inexpensive ones (e.g. PowerDirector 13, Sony Movie Studio 13, Pinnacle Studio), but “transcoded editing” is still required for a fast and fluid workflow, especially for Mac users.

If you are working with the most recent Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, you are able to import 4K footage shot on a 4K camera like GoPro Hero 4 or Panasonic GH4 to iMovie 10.0.6 with no problems. But if you are still using iMovie 8/9/11, the editing workflow may be unstable and unreliable. In that case, we would recommend transcoding 4K recordings to a Mac friendly format for use in iMovie smoothly. This method is also workable if you have any issues working with 4K video on Yosemite through iMovie 10.0.6.

To process 4K video to QuickTime conversion on Mac, a professional 4K Video Converter for Mac is required. HD Video Converter for Mac will do the trick.  This app is capable of converting 4K, 2K, Full HD 1080p/1080i, HD 720p and SD video files in format of AVCHD, MTS, M2T, M2TS, TS, MXF, MKV, H.264, P2 MXF, AVI, MP4, WMV, MOV, M4V, etc. to any formats you request.

You can download a demo to see if it is able to do what you want in simple steps with good quality.
workflow guide for 4K footage and iMovie

How to convert 4K movies for iMovie editing?

The steps:
Step 1: Open up HD Video Converter for Mac as a 4K Video Converter for iMovie. When its main interface comes up, click ‘Add File’ to load your source media.
convert 4K video files to Apple InterMediate Codec (AIC) for use in iMovie

Step 2: Select output format for your editing program
To convert 4K movies to AIC MOV for iMovie/FCE, from ‘Profile’ list, choose ‘Apple InterMediate Codec (AIC)(*.mov)’ as output format under ‘iMovie and Final Cut Express’ column.
4K Video Converter for iMovie

Note that the AIC codec is also accepted by Final Cut Pro (HD 4.5 through 5), but rarely used in Final Cut Pro as of Version 6 since it now uses the ProRes codecs instead of the Apple Intermediate Codec.
Important: If you’ve loaded a number of video clips to do batch conversion, please do remember ticking off ‘Apply to All’ option before you start.

Step 3: Custom video and audio settings (optional)
If necessary, you can click ‘Settings’ button and go to ‘Profiles Settings’ panel to modify video and audio settings like video encoder, resolution, video bit rate, frame rate, aspect ratio, audio encoder, sample rate, audio bit rate, and audio channels. 3D settings are also available.

Step 4: Begin 4K video to MOV Conversion on Mac
When ready, click ‘Convert’ to start format conversion. Once the conversion process is complete, you can click ‘Open Folder’ button to get the generated AIC MOV files for editing in iMovie with optimum performance.

If you don’t want to wait for the entire conversion process, you can tick off ‘Shutdown computer when conversion completed’ and go away to do other things.

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