Is there any automatic way (or a good script) to compress the videos you import to iPhoto? I currently import the pictures and videos from my camera, and the videos are not compressed at al, and take up a lot of space on my hard drive.

My current solution, is to have a smart album to filter videos, and manually compress them using Handbrake to H.264. Then, I would delete the original in iPhoto, and re-import the compressed version (after changing its timestamp to match the original's one).

Is there any tool that can help me automate this process?

  • did you ever find a way to do this automatically or with a script? I have the same problem, and also streaming the uncompressed videos to an AppleTV with Airplay is crazy slow. Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 12:51
  • Nothing. I kept doing it manually until I eventually got bored. My guess is that some sort of intermediary app is needed when importing. Take the files from the SD card, recompress the videos, and then import from that folder instead.
    – pgb
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


see http://endlessgeek.com/2014/03/batch-convert-iphoto-videos-mp4/

It uses handbrake. Best way is to experiment manually with a handful of videos and watch out for compression artefacts (the color-bleed-out blocks on faces and other smooth color transitions). When you are satisfied, create a profile with the settings, name it e.g. MyProfile. You can use these settings by invoking the cli version of handbrake inside the batch script with --preset="MyProfile"

Where or how do you store the originals? Don't throw away information lightheartedly. This is what you do when compressing.

I copy the original folders of my canon camera manually to my external drive, additionally to importing stuff to iphoto. So iphotos videos are rather.... dependable.

I will modify the script to directly access the originals inside the photo library. This a really bad thing to do, normally. If you want try to contact me 1'2016. appstackex-imov4m.hofma at the service 0ox with domain .com ;)

If you try this, too, please backup before tampering with the package!

Read http://osxdaily.com/2015/04/22/show-original-file-from-photos-app-mac-finder-osx/ to see the part/video where they open the package in finder.

In finder, you can locate your library, for me and just e.g.it is: ~/Pictures/Fotos-Mediathek.photoslibrary/Masters/ (photoslibrary is the new one since migration of the iphoto database to photos database. Just look in finder, right-click "open library content" or whatever the menue entry reads in english, might be "packet content" (it is "Paketinhalt anzeigen" for me) then open the subfolder "masters", and drag the masters-folder to terminal, then you have text on the command line representing the correct location...

When you do a change directory to the path of masters, you can thereafter find all originals, e.g. by:

find . -type f \( -iname "*.mov" -o -name "*.mp4" -o -name "*.jpg" \)

This is nice for me, because I have a bunch of empty folders in this directory structure created by iphoto / photos. Find does show only results with a nice relative path.


iMove Camera Import

It is not possible to do this with iPhoto alone. You can possibly import your videos into iMovie when your camera is connected (see screenshot), then render them out in a suitable codec. I've done this with my iPhone before. Since I don't know what type of camera you have, I can't guarantee this will work. However, it has worked for me in the past and may be a viable solution for you as well.

  • To import from camera in iMovie, connect your camera. If iMovie is already open, it may pop up automatically. If it doesn't, press Command + I or go to File > Import from Camera.

Good luck and happy importing!

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