File structure and hierarchy in Aperture.

Hi, everyone.
I am trying to import folders with images into Aperture and, much to my surprise, have found that this process is everyting but intuitive and straightforward.
My library (outside of Aperture) is made up of folders each corresponding to a day and location. These folders are labeled using the data and location as part of their name.
As I try to import these folders into Aperture I can't seem to import them into a single folder or project as sub-folders or sub-domains of that project. I have tried to create a project and them import the folders into it but Aperture won't import them into that project and doesn't allow me to drag and drop it either once it has been imported. I also tried to create albums and folders but haven't been successful.
How does this file structure in Aperture work in terms of hierarchy ? It certainly isn't structured the way the Finder is or any other file system I have seen to date. Creating folders, organizing them and bringing any type of data into these folders should be a simple process but in Aperture it doesn't seem to be.
Am I doing something wrong or is Aperture trying to re-invent the wheel ?
Is there any tutorial I can watch or read on how to work with Aperture's file structure and import folders and folders into it ?
Thank you in advance.

Regarding your specific problem I suggest treating each existing dated folder of image files as a single Project in Aperture. In Aperture a Project is a specific time-based concept that may or may not jive with what you previously considered a project. For instance I may have in my mind that shooting all the highest peaks in every state is a "project," but that would be inappropriate as an Aperture Project. Instead each peak might be a Project, but the pix of all the peaks would be pointed to as an Album.
The way I look at it conceptually:
Aperture is a database (DB), and each image file lives in one Project.
Albums are just collections of Pointers that point to individual image files living in one or more Projects. Since they just contain pointers, albums can be created or deleted at will without affecting image files. Very powerful. And Albums of pointers take up almost zero space, so they are fast and do not make the Library size grow.
Keywords can be applied to every image separately or in batches. Keywords are hugely powerful and largely obviate the need for folders. Not that we should never use folders, just that we should use folders only when useful organizationally - - after first determining that using keywords and albums is not a better approach.
As one example imagine the keyword "flowers."  Every image of a 100,000 images Library that has some flowers in it has the keyword flowers. Then say we want to put flowers in an ad, or as background for a show of some kind, or to print pix for a party, or even just to look for an image for some other reason. We can find every flower image in a 100k-image database in 2 seconds, and in another few seconds create an Album called "Flowers" that points to all of those individual images.
Similarly all family pix can have a keyword "family" and all work pix can have a key word "work." Each individual pic may have any number of keywords. Such pic characteristics (work, family, flowers, etc.) should not be organized via folders.
So by using keywords and albums we can have instant access to every image everywhere, very cool. And keywords and albums essentially take up no space in the database.
Another approach is to use a folder "Family" for family pix, a folder "Flowers" for flowers pix and another folder "Work" for work pix. IMO such folders usage is a very poor approach to using an images database (probably stemming from old paper or film work practices). Note that one cannot put an image with family in a field of flowers at a work picnic in all three folders; but it is instant with keywords.

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    You'll also see the "project file" inside the package. It has the same name as the project package, with the extension ".iMovieProj". The project file is the heart of the project, containing the description of each clip. The description includes the name of the Media file the clip relies on, the starting frame for that clip in the file and the length of the clip. Essentially, it says "start playing this clip at frame 400 and play for 2000 frames." (Plus lots of other stuff.)
    There's a second project file with a tilde (~) in its name. That is project file backup of sorts, containing the PREVIOUSLY-saved version of the project.
    "Clip" refers to a thumbnail on the Timeline or the Clips pane. The clip has no physical existence. It is the thumbnail of one frame of the video, plus pointers to the Media file that supports its video. Splitting/Copying/Pasting clips simply adds a new thumbnail and a new set of pointers.
    When we trash a clip and empty the Trash, iMovie always discards the clip, although not always its Media file.
    I should first clarify that my 12GB imports are not what I think you would call a single clip
    Aha, I misunderstood. I thought the project had two 12GB clips.
    Your point #5 seems to imply that if I delete clips (e.g. 55 minutes worth) from the 12GB import and then empty the iMovie trash, then the project file size will drastically decrease. Is this correct? If true, this would address a large part of my issue.
    Yes, probably so. It all depends on what clips you discard. If your 12GB project is imported as 12 clips, each 1GB, then each clip you discard will recover 1GB when you empty the iMovie Trash. But only if the clip hasn't been split or copied in some way. In other words, only if no other clip relies on that Media file. If you have split the original clip, then both clips must be discarded for their Media file to be discarded.
    This is so iMovie's non-destructive editing feature can work. It always allows us to restore a clip to the original condition of its Media file. To be able to do that, the Media file must be retained intact until that clip — and any other clip using that Media file — is discarded.
    The rule is this: When you discard a clip and empty the iMovie trash, its Media file is discarded only if that is the LAST clip using that Media file.
    Does the project file reduce in size by 1/2? 3/4?
    In your example, the project size would be reduced by 1/2.
    The number of times you import from the camera doesn't matter. All that matters is the clips that are imported, and their relationship to the Media files. Whatever you import from the camera files is saved in the Media folder. Those files ARE the source material. There is no link to the video on the tape.
    So too when you import a QuickTime movie. The movie is imported as a single clip, adding one Media file to the project. So too with photos.
    Hope this helps. If not, please say.

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