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Add custom chapters to iMovie movies in iDVD'08 Apps
iMovie won't add chapters to your movie. Who needs a DVD without chapters? Here's how to fix that.
  1. Do the homework. Go to your movie, play it in any player, and write down the following:
    • The total duration of the movie, in minutes (T)
    • The number of chapters you'll need (N)
    • The starting point for every chapter (HH:MM:SS)
    • Convert the starting points to seconds (HH*3600 + MM*60 + SS); write them down for each chapter, too.
  2. Calculate the average chapter length in minutes, by dividing the total number of minutes in your entire movie by number of chapters you need. t = T(min) รท (N-1).
  3. Create a new iDVD project. Add a movie asset which has no chapters.
  4. In iDVD, go to Advanced » Create Chapters for Selected Movies. Choose 'Create chapter every XXX minutes.' Make XXX = t, where t is your average calculated time from step two.
  5. Save the iDVD project, close iDVD. Back up the project, just in case.
  6. Open the iDVD project in the Finder by Control-clicking and choosing Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. Under Contents » Resources, find the ProjectData file. Open it with any text editor.
  7. In the file, find the following section:
    <key>iDVD Generated Chapter Duration</key>
    Once found, delete it.
  8. This is the key step. In that file, every chapter that you've created has two entries -- one is for the thumbnail, and one for the actual location to start playing. Look for the string Chapter X, where X=2...N. (It starts with Chapter 2, because Chapter 1 is the beginning). For each chapter, find the following keys:
    <key>Button Thumbnail StartTime</key>
    <key>TrackMarker Timestamp</key>
    Replace both instances of ??? with the number of seconds at which you want your custom chapter to start, based on the homework you did.
  9. Save the text file, quit the editor, and reopen your iDVD project. Your chapters are now as you like them! If you have more chapters than you need, you can now delete them.
Have fun!

[robg adds: Note that if you upgrade to iLife '09, this hint shouldn't be necessary -- iMovie '09 adds back the ability to set chapter markers via drag-and-drop. I haven't tested this hint.]
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Add custom chapters to iMovie movies in iDVD'08 | 2 comments | Create New Account
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Add custom chapters to iMovie movies in iDVD'08
Authored by: djmnet on Jan 29, '09 05:21:41PM

An easier way to add chapters wherever you want in a QuickTime video is to download Metadata Hootenany (for free). Open your video, select the Chapters view, move the progress bar to each place you want a chapter and click the plus sign, then name the chapter. Save the file. iDVD should recognize the chapters.

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Add custom chapters to iMovie movies in iDVD'08
Authored by: dilettante on Jan 29, '09 07:06:37PM

Or (as has been described here:, bring your movie into GarageBand and add chapters there.

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