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How to Convert and Import DVD to iMovie for Free

By Bella Brown to rip DVD, H.264|Last updated on Mar. 20, 2019

Q: I filmed footage on a mini DV tape and then put the footage on my Mac. I now have the footage on a DVD, in which it plays back on iDVD. I want the footage to go onto iMovie so that I can edit it. But when I drag the footage into iMovie, it says: "The file will not be imported. It is not compatible with iMovie." What I have to do to be able to make DVD playable in iMovie?

A: In order to import the contents of a DVD into iMovie, you need to rip DVD movie to iMovie supported formats first, like MPEG-4 (MP4, M4V), MPEG-2, DV, HDV, MOV, AVCHD. So a DVD to iMovie converter is necessary, which could help you decrypt DVD files to iMovie (iMovie '11) on Mac for editing.

Based on different demand cases, namely importing commercial or uncommercial DVDs to iMovie, there are two DVD ripper freeware to get DVD movies in iMovie friendly formats, so as to import to iMovie for editing.

Warm Prompt: Ripping and converting DVD discs to iMovie for editing is suggested for personal use rather than commercial use. Please abide by your local or country DVD copyright protection law. Do Not harm others' interests.

MacX DVD Ripper Free - Best Free DVD to iMovie Converter

MacX DVD Ripper Free is a 100% clean and free DVD ripper that can convert homemade and commerical DVD (Disney 99-title DVD incl.) to iMovie MPEG, MP4, MOV, AVCHD, H264 at 5X faster speed than any competitor, thanks to its advanced Level-3 GPU acceleration, multi-core CPU (up to 8) utility and hyper-threading tech. With 3 clicks, the DVD ripping will be finished within 10 mins on a high hardware configuration.

How to Convert and Import DVD Contents to iMovie for Free

Step 1. Add DVD Movie.
Free download and run this free DVD video processing software on your PC or Mac, then click "DVD Disc" to add DVD from DVD drive. Or you can click "DVD Path" to import DVD from DVD folder saved on your computer.

Download MacX DVD Ripper Free for Mac

Download MacX DVD Ripper for Windows

Step 2. Select Output Format: "MPEG-4 Movie (*mp4)".
After the DVD is imported, go to the "Output' area. Select ripping DVD to MP4 for iMovie from "to iMovie Video" or "General Video".

Note: the latest version of iMovie claims to support HEVC codec. Yet, its compatibility still leaves a lot to be desired based on iMovie users feedbacks on forums. Therefore, you'd better choose MP4 H264 or MOV H264 as output formats until now.

DVD ripper for iMovie

Step 3. Set Output Folder.
Specify output folder on your computer to save the output files. Click the "Browse" button to choose the path where you want to save the output files in.

Step 4. Convert DVD to iMovie Now.
When the settings are done, click the "RUN" button to start DVD movie to iMovie conversion. Tip: if the unstable DVD ripping case occurs, resort to "Safe Mode", which is specially designed for you to handle latest enhanced encrypted DVD discs and might come at the price of conversion speed.

convert DVD to iMovie Free

Step 5: Import DVD to iMovie.
To import DVD into iMovie on the desktop: launch iMovie on your Mac >> choose file >> select "Import Movies" to import output MP4/MPEG-2 video to iMovie. Then, you can start video editing.

To import DVD files to iMovie for iOS to edit DVD movies on iDevices: first, convert DVD to iPhone iPad iOS devices. Choose "Apple Device" from "Mobile Video Profile" in the output format window and convert the DVD movies to iPhone formats >> launch iTunes and transfer DVD movies from iTunes to iOS iPhone iPad >> then edit in iMovie on iOS. Learn how to import DVD to iMovie for iOS.

For more output profiles presets, faster speed, stronger ability to remove protections, please go ahead of its advanced edition - MacX DVD Ripper Pro. It will convert and import DVD to Final Cut Pro, DVD to iDVD, DVD to iPhone iPad, DVD to Android and more, 420+ profiles faster, better and smoother.

Handbrake to Convert DVD to iMovie (Only for Homemade DVDs)

Editing a homemade DVD in iMovie on Mac can be done without the aid of DVD ripper software. With MPEG Streamclip and Apple QuickTime MPEG2 playback component: open Find and navigate to DVD > drag the Video_TS folder into MPEG Streamclip > convert the files to iMovie H.264 > save the resulting file and then open iMovie to begin editing the file. See the Apple's official tutorial here.

This job is, however, a relatively complicated process. Given an easy operation into consideration, you can also use Handbrake to freely convert homemade DVD to iMovie MP4. Handbrake is powerful to free rip DVD disc to iMovie accepted MP4 M4V formats. And it's quite easy to handle.

convert DVD to iMovie handbrake

Step 1: Free download and install Handbrake.
Step 2: Opt for the source DVD you want to convert to iMovie (homemade DVD only).
Note: You can rip CSS DVD with Handbrake, if the libdvdcss is installed, which is meant to get rid of CSS protection and rip the DVDs successfully.
Step 3: Choose a Title and Chapters and choose MP4 as the output format as it is generally accepted by iMovie.
Step 4: Select the destination folder for output DVD files storage.
Step 5: Adjust parameter settings if you need, including video codec, frame rate, bit rate, etc.
Step 6: Click "RUN " button and this free DVD to iMovie converter will go into action to convert and import DVD MP4/M4V to iMovie.

MacX VS Handbrake - Select the Ripper that Fits You

NO MacX DVD Ripper Free Handbrake
Import disc types Homemade & commercial Homemade only
Decryption ability Yes (CSS, UOP, RCE, region code, Sony ARccOS, etc.) No (CSS with libdvdcss installed)
Output formats MP4, H264, iMovie, MPEG4, MOV, MP3, iTunes, Apple TV, more MP4 and MKV
Backup ability 1:1 backup DVD to ISO
5 minutes copy DVD main title
Copy full DVD title
Copy DVD to MKV
Convert DVD to MKV
Acceleration tech multi-core CPU, super encode engine and hyper-threading AMD VCE, Nvidia NVENC (Windows), and Apple VideoToolbox (macOS)

Tips: After DVD ripping or DVD editing with iMovie on Mac, you are in a great demand to transfer DVD movies to iPhone iPad iOS for watching on the road, you can resort to the high-end MacX MediaTrans to accomplish this task. This is a professional DVD movie transfer tool to transfer DVD movies, videos, music, photos, iBooks, VoiceMemo, Ringtones and more from Mac to iPhone iPad iPod and vice versa with a faster speed than iTunes (Intel QSV support).

Have any problem on how to convert DVD to iMovie for free, just email us >>
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