Summary: The easy workaround to get iMovie work with Nikon D4/D3S MOV footage is to convert H.264 MOV to Apple InterMediate Codec(AIC) MOV which ensures the best result when using in iMovie 08/09/11.
The Nikon D4 is Nikon's fastest, tightest professional camera ever made for sports and action photography. Of course, its predecessor D3S is also a popular one in Nikon DSLR line. With them, you can record your memories in exceptional full high definition quality. However, when trying to do some post production work with the Nikon video footage in iMovie from D4/D3S, people often encounter the following problems:
"I am having trouble importing video from my Nikon D4 to iMovie. When I connect the camera via usb, imovie does not recognize the camera but the camera shows up as a "no name" drive on my computer. i'm using the latest version of iMovie on my mac. Is anyone else having the same trouble? Can anyone give me some advice?"
"my Nikon D3S camera is supported by imovie but when i plug into my new macbook it doesn't appear in import from camera menu in imovie. how can i solve it?"
Fortunately, there is an easy way to fix this issue. As we all know, the Nikon digital SLR camera recorded videos are saved in the h.264 .mov format. The MOV footage is highly-compressed content which is not so friendly for editing software, especially on Mac. Currently iMovie including iMovie 8/9/11 can’t support MOV files from Nikon D4/D3S well, that's why you have problems when you import Nikon MOV video footage to iMovie.
The effective solution to get a smooth Nikon MOV to iMovie workflow is, get a Nikon MOV to iMovie Converter and transcode Nikon D4/D3S MOV footage to AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec), the well-acknowledged optimal editing format for iMovie. By converting .MOV files to Apple Intermediate Codec(AIC)(*.mov) you will no longer meet any trouble, as AIC video will be processed by iMovie naturally without rendering, and all you need is transfer the result video for prompt editing.
Below I will take the 3rd party software – Brorsoft Video Converter for Mac to show you how to transcode Nikon D4/D3S MOV to AIC in details. Overall, the program is an easy-to-use yet professional app which can be used a Mac MOV Converter under OS X Leopard (10.5), Snow Leopard (10.6), Lion (10.7), Mountain Lion (10., Mavericks (10.9). It is free, clean and safe to install and use.
Step 1: Launch the top Nikon MOV Converter for Mac, load .vob files from your Mac hard drive backed up from your Nikon D4/D3S.
Step 2: Click "Format" to choose "iMovie and Final Cut Express > Apple Intermediate Codec(AIC) (*.mov)" as output format which is the best compatible video format you need for iMovie.
Tip: Click the "Settings" icon to make the best settings for editing Nikon MOV in iMovie on Mac. You can set the video frame rate as 30fps(25fps for 1080 50p videos), video size as 1920*1080 to keep the best output quality.
Step 3: Start the Nikon MOV to AIC MOV conversion by pressing the big "Convert" button.
After the conversion, you will be able to get the output files compatible with iMovie effortlessly. So there you have it. Pretty Simple! Now you can effortlessly import and edit Nikon D4/D3S video clips in iMovie 09/'11 without problems.
If you want to edit Nikon MOV clips in Final Cut Pro X or FCP 7/6, you just need to choose the "Final Cut Pro > Apple ProRes 422 (*.mov)" as output format in the second step; For Avid Media Composer, choose "Avid Media Composer > Avid DNxHD(*.mov)" as output; For Adobe Premiere Pro, choose Adobe Premiere/Sony Vegas> MPEG-2(*.mpg) as output.
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Source:Make Nikon D4/D3S 1080p MOV compatible with iMovie on Mac Mavericks