From iOS iMovie to FCPX Updated Again!

In the latest edition of my book From iMovie to Final Cut Pro X: Making the Creative Leap I described how to bring a project from the iOS version of iMovie into FCPX going through iMovie on the Mac. It was relatively simple, but with the introduction of iTunes 12.7 that became even simpler. Now with the introduction on FCP 10.4 it has become simpler than ever. The old method described here is for older versions of the application. The current method is described here.

First, you shoot your movie on your iPhone, and if you’re lucky, a shiny new iPhone 8+ or iPhone X. A word of caution: These new cameras by default will shoot in HEVC using the H.265 codec, a great codec and format, which unfortuately doesn’t work in FCP at this time, though that will probably change soon to support these cameras. For the moment you need to make sure the settings have H.264 selected. Otherwise you can shoot in HEVC to have that for the future, and then use an application like EditReady to convert it to ProRes to edit in FCP.

After you’ve shot your video you can assemble and rough cut it in iOS iMovie. Once you get used to the app, which is quite easy, you can piece together and move around your material quite quickly. Don’t cut too tightly; leaving it loose will let you trim more accurately in FCP with its real-time trimming shortcuts and other tools like the Precision Editor.

The third step is to get your video off your phone. If you have iTunes set to backup and sync your phone, which you probably do, then all you have to do is connect the phone to the Mac.

Select the project in iMovie and at the bottom tap the Share button. 

In the available Share options, in the bottom row you should see iTunes. Tap it.

A dialogue will appear asking if you want to Share to iTunes either Video File or iMovie Project.  Video File is a single output file. You should tap iMovie Project. The project information will be quickly assembled. 

If your phone is connected to the Mac, click on the iPhone icon in iTunes, and then underneath Settings select File Sharing. In the right hand panel you’ll see a list of applications that have documents on the phone. Select iMovie in the list and you’ll see the project in the right hand pane.


Pick up the .iMovieMobile project from the iTunes window, and using the App Switcher, Command-Tab, switch to the Finder and drop the file. It will copy over almost instantly in High Sierra because the OS uses hard links.

To get the file into Mac iMovie simply double-click the project you dragged to the Finder. A dialogue will appear asking you which library you want to save it into. If you like, create a new library in iMovie first before opening the project. You can do whatever you like to the project in in iMovie, and when you’re done  simply use File>Send Movie to Final Cut Pro. FCP will launch if it’s not open, and the iMovie library will appear in the application.

That’s it. Trim it, add effects and titles, and export it to the world. 

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