iMovie use with Apple TV

I have years of video that I have faithfully transitioned into the current Mac OS and now iMovie. I would like to get the movies organized and view them. When I go into iMovie, I find myself lost trying to edit and navigate much less export. There is minimal assistance and no real manual in the Apple Books store like they have for most of their other software. It seems to be laying around and stagnant.

I know you can create “Previews” to movies and short clips that you can send to Facebook or YouTube, but that is not what I am looking for. Most of the controls seem to be hidden and frustrating for me. It seems they want me to create a movie, export it as a file, and then import it into Apple TV. I tried to export a movie to my iCloud account to share with my family, but that is not viewable, it wants to open it in iMovie on my phone or iPad, but then it says it cannot be used by these programs.

I looked at other video programs for the Mac, but these are wanting and importing all the family videos into my iPad to edit with Lumafusion (a great video editor) seems impractical as this is many gigabytes.

Any suggestions on organizing and viewing the family videos?

Here’s Apple’s guidance on this:

If you’ve already read this, then knowing why this won’t work in your situation will be valuable in trying to assist.

It basically told me what I was doing, which is export from iMovie and then find the file and import it into Apple TV. Why there isn’t a direct way to do that is beyond me. The directions for using iMovie are similarly obtuse with one instruction per Apple web page with little detail.

So are you saying this does not work for you, or that you find this process cumbersome?

I have used this process successfully, and I can use the “Computers” app on my Apple TV to access all of my home movies.

I think what the OP wants is to have the video directly exported to his Apple TV’s internal storage.

I do what @fischej does: Export the file to a shared drive and then view with one of the many video apps available for the Apple TV: VLC, Computers, Infuse, Plex, MrMC, etc.

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I use Air Video HD (server on Mac/Mojave and viewer on Apple TV to watch all types of videos.
I also have videos in the iTunes library on the Mac that, via Homesharing, can usually be watched using the Computers app on the Apple TV. But I have found that some “old” MP4 formats are not compatible with the latest TvOS and have to use Handbrake to convert them to a compatible format. That might be a solution for the OP.

That’s interesting. I have some iMove MP4s from 2012 that play fine on the Apple TV.

One of my problems was when I used Handbrake to create “Apple 1020 HD Surround Sound” MP4 format. The Apple TV wouldn’t play them. I can also still play some very old :face_with_raised_eyebrow: MP4 videos but some slightly more recent ones had to be converted.

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It is just something that requires multiple steps, which is in-Apple like. Also iMovie itself seems different to use than in the past. I am not sure who the audience is for the Mac OS iMovie. The focus seems to be short clips.

I will dig into it more but am frustrated whenever I attempt to do things.

For instance, I have an old family movie I made with the old iMovie which for some reason is displaying a random screenshot as the poster in Apple TV and I cannot figure out for the life of me how to change it. Even opened it in QuickTime but could not find a useful command.

I’m with you there. The “official” Apple solution has certainly gotten more convoluted and less reliable over time, in my experience. Others have mentioned third-party tools that work well for this purpose. You may find using them gives you less hassle.

So if you’re using the macOS “TV” app, if you choose the movie and do “Get Info”, one of the tabs in the resulting dialog is “Artwork.” You can drag-and-drop an image file there, or click the “Add Artwork” button to select a file.

This is an example of “more convoluted,” by the way. Previously (before the iTunes/TV split) you could right-click in the movie player window and choose “Set poster frame.”

That works for individual movies but there doesn’t seem to be a way to select an image for TV shows (i.e an album of multiple episodes) listed in the Computers app on Apple TVs. In fact there almost seems to be an algorithm to use the most inappropriate image (by that I mean an image not related to the main theme of the show) .

Interesting. Mine uses the poster frame from the first episode in the list.

Many years ago when I switched from Windows to Mac I had to rework all the movie projects I had developed in the Windows app (Movie Maker?) to iMovie (as it was then called). I found iMovie totally unintuitive and even with the help of David Pogue’s guides this was a painful transition. Then Apple completely re-wrote iMovie (the version numbering system went crazy so I’ll leave it Adam to say which it was) and all my previous projects no longer worked – if there was a conversion path I didn’t find it.
In the end, I exported each movie as an .m4v file and imported it to the TV app (“Add To Library”) for viewing anywhere on any Apple device.

Can’t help, but I’m glad to see that others find the iMovie interface very much WTF. Even the tutorials I’ve seen seem to assume that you’ve been doing video editing for years.

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