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How to move all videos out of Aperture and in to iMovie? #1
John Giordani's picture
by John Giordani
August 16, 2012 - 5:22am

I have a MacBookPro with a 240 GB SSD for OSX, apps, etc. and a secondary itnernal HD that is 1TB.

Remaining space as of today:
240GB SSD = 130 GB free
1TB HD = 103 GB free

My Aperture library (managed) resides on the 1TB and measures 139 GB on disk.

How can I effectively “move” all of my videos out of the Aperture library and in to my iMovie library?

My goal is to slim down my Aperture library to be able to move it on to the SSD for better performance. In addition, I rarely find myself referencing or modifying video in Aperture, almost exclusively using iMovie for video.

Thanks for advice!
MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.4), 8GB RAM with 240 GB SSD + 1 TB HD

PhotoJoseph's picture
by PhotoJoseph
August 16, 2012 - 9:53am


All you need to do is 1) find the videos, 2) get them out of Aperture, then 3) import them to iMovie.

1) Under the collection of Smart Albums (bottom of Aperture, under Albums), you should see one called “Video”. At least I have one… then again I may have made that myself, but I don’t think so. If you have it, click it, and that’ll show all the videos in your Library. If not, then create your own. Create a new Smart Album, and set Filetype is Video [screenshot].

2) Select all the videos and choose the menu File > Export > Originals and put those somewhere else.

3) Import them into iMovie.

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Anders Johansson's picture
by Anders Johansson
April 17, 2015 - 8:51pm

I have the same question, but I´m struggeling on the import on iMovie… I have stored movies in Aperture since 2010 and now I want to slim my Aperture library before (maybe) going to Photos app.

I want to export all movies to iMovie. I have all movies exported to an external HD, but when I try to import the movies to iMovie only some of them is seen in iMovie.

I want all my clips to show in the iMovie library with correct date and using the foldersystem from Aperture; 10 film-clips from “Christmas 2014” should appear under “2014” and then “Christmas 2014” and nine film-clips from “Christmas 2013” should appear under “2013” and so on…

How should I do this?

/ Anders

Matt Gregor's picture
by Matt Gregor
May 7, 2015 - 3:21am

I personally have never found iMovie to be a good final resting place for all my videos. I have so many family videos coming from everyone’s phones, tablets, camcorders, etc that I’ve always wanted to be able to catalog, search, tag and stream these moments.  I’ve struggled for a long time with various trial-n-errors and ended up using iTunes.

My workflow is the following:

  1. Import from various sources into Aperture (I put the files in the library, not referenced). Most essential feature is the rename to “YYYY-MM-DD at HH-MM-SS” format. 
  2. Delete the ones I don’t want.
  3. Every couple/few months I will export the originals to a folder just like Joseph mentioned above.
  4. I move a batch of videos that correspond to a particular month into ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Automatically Add to iTunes/.  This is a special folder that (as long as iTunes is open) will process the files and import them into iTunes.
  5. Videos automatically get tagged as “Home Video” media kind.  I select the entire month, choose “Get Info”, and modify the info to match the following. The way iTunes organizes this is very nice and falls in-line with how we see regular TV shows organized.
    1. Media Kind = TV Show
    2. Show name = {Year} Family Videos
    3. Genre = Home Video
    4. Year = whatever the year is for those videos
    5. Season = 1 through 12 (1=January, 2=February, 3=March, etc)
  6. Since iTunes primarily wants to live on the main system drive (small SSD in my case) I use an awesome app, Tunespan, to relocate these family videos to an external 4TB drive.  This would be optional obviously but take a look here:…
  7. Once the videos are in their final resting place on my external drive, I then go back to Aperture and import the entire month worth of videos (but I make them referenced this time).  The advantage is I can still leverage Aperture’s metadata in smart albums for awesome searching.
  8. Now for the benefits of all this work:
    1. Create iTunes playlists for favorite family videos.  I often queue these up on shuffle and play them over on an Apple TV in the living room for everyone to see.
    2. Everyone can access any family video from any Apple TV, Mac, iPod, iPhone or iPad in the house.  They can easily browse to the year and month to find a video they would like to see.  The only requirement is the main iTunes with the library is open on the Mac since it leverages Apple “Home Sharing”.

I realize all of this is long-winded and I apologize.  But if you’re anything like me, extreme meta-organizing doesn’t stop at just photos.  :)

Good luck!


Here are some screenshots for a reference point.


JonB's picture
by JonB
June 14, 2015 - 9:30am

Thanks Matt,


This is fab advise. Are you concerned that Aperture will not longer be supported? What do you plan to do? Adobe subscription (lightroom) seems a little steep, and I’m unsure of the benefits compared to running with aperture. I’m interested in your thoughts. Jon

Alexander Thander's picture
by Alexander Thander
May 31, 2015 - 6:50pm

I totally agree with Matt about iMovie. I mean, I wouldn’t move videos to iMovie library just because Aperture has much much much powerful tools for organizing materials than iMovie does. If you just need to slim Aperture’s library you can divide it into some smaller ones.
In my practice I store all images and videos as referenced files on external drives and in cloud storages. I don’t care where a particular image are placed, because Aperture knows. I copy videos on my Mac only if I need them for a video project. But I don’t even copy a photo for editing from a cloud, Aperture works fine enough with big photos, up to 70 MB.
The point is, Time Machine backs up all Aperture’s library. So all master files will be backed up too. I just need to save twice only a library’s structure. Mostly all images are stored in Amazon cloud which I’m sure much safer than my HDDs.
It’s a good idea, I’m agree, to put videos into iTunes but I think only for final movies. As to me Aperture is one of the best place for organizing photo and video materials

Martinling's picture
by Martinling
March 21, 2018 - 10:25am

As for me, I am familiar with converting iTunes movies and TV shows with iMovie. Although iTunes and iMovie are created by Apple, iTunes movies and TV shows are encrypted by DRM technology, which can’t be recognized by iMovie. If you need to edit iTunes videos in iMovie, you need to remove DRM firstly. You can use iTunes DRM M4V Converter from ( to do this hard task, since you are not able to do it by yourself dependently. 

Martinling White

pluiepourpre's picture
by pluiepourpre
September 6, 2020 - 7:12pm

I use iMovie cause it’s totally free on my Macbook and I found it quite user-friendly, even for a beginner in video editing like me. To add music to an iMovie project from Spotify, I need the help of a Spotify music converter Mac to convert Spotify ogg vorbis files into common audio formats so that I can insert them into my videos.

YASIR KHAN's picture
March 17, 2021 - 3:20pm







Samantha Johnson's picture
by Samantha Johnson
May 30, 2022 - 11:06am

With these stats, I would expect that you need to make your Aperture Library entirely Referenced, and not any Managed, unless you have mostly video in it. The process would be to use the Relocate command to move masters from the library to folders elsewhere on the 1 TB drive, and then simply copy the parred down the library to the SSD drive in the Finder – drag and drop will work. I am not sure the connections will survive, and you might find the need to reconnect to all the referenced files, which is not hard to do, once the library has been moved to the SSD. You need always a good measure of free space on the drive with the library, as space is used for many housekeeping tasks, including conversions associated with any future updates to Aperture.

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