Creating chapters in iTunes-compatible movies

Christopher Breen
31 October, 2008
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If you’ve been ripping movies from DVD for editing, you may have noticed that chapter markers disappear when you try to export movies as iTunes-compatible .m4v movies.

There is a way to preserve these markers — but, oddly enough, it’s done in a different iLife application—GarageBand. It’s like this:

If you insist on the movie being 640 x 480 rather than its native resolution you can make that happen by opening the movie in iMovie, selecting that resolution for your project, and exporting a copy in the format of your choosing. If you can live with the native resolution, leave it along and skip iMovie.

Now launch GarageBand and drag your movie into a new GarageBand music project. When you do, GarageBand adds a movie track.

Select that movie track in the timeline and a chapters area appears below. Move the playhead to a place where you’d like to add a chapter, click the Add Marker button at the bottom of the window, and in the Chapter column enter a name for the chapter—Opening, Pie Fight, or Rude Bit, for example. Don’t bother entering a URL title or URL.

When you’ve completely marked up your movie, choose Share -> Send Movie to iTunes. In the sheet that appears you’ll spy a Video Settings pop-up menu that makes it very easy to choose a destination format—Email, Web, Web Streaming, iPod, Apple TV, or Full Quality. Choose the one that’s appropriate—for example, Full Quality to maintain the original dimensions—and click Share to start the export.

When you play the resulting movie in iTunes a Chapter menu will appear. That menu contains all the chapters you added in GarageBand.

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