iMovie HD/iMac Disk Space Problems??

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Dream.Finder, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. Dream.Finder macrumors member

    May 14, 2009
    Hello all,

    Alright. Here we go. I am editing a fairly length HD family vacation video in the classic iMovie HD software and I have encountered a problem that I haven't had before. After editing many days and hours worth of my time, suddenly the bottom right corner (near the trash icon) glows yellow print and alerts me of my low space (ie: 208 MB and higher glows yellow) and when it gets really low it glows red (ie: 200 MB and under glows red). And once the number reaches too low it won't let me add music or edit anything anymore. This is a problem for me. I've spent WAY to many hours editing this project to have this crap interfere.

    For example, I'll add a few transitions between clips... or a music track and it will just fail on me and say I am running "dangerously low on disk space" and tells me to delete files or clips or whatever to make more space. How do I get around this? I have around half of the project yet to edit and this is being a major road block for me. It is very annoying. See what I see below:


    My plan when I am done this is to export it into iDVD and add some chapters and menus and burn it to a big sized disk, if I can find one... or at least throw it on a flash drive and play it in my X-Box or something!! This is so frustrating... well, any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you,
  2. Dream.Finder thread starter macrumors member

    May 14, 2009
    Picture update!!

    I took a screen shot of the error message as well, if that helps:

  3. JustMartin macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2012
    Well, how big is your hard disk? Are there any files that you can delete or move to another disk while you're working on this project?

    I don't know iMovies ratio of disk usage to movie duration while you're editing, but it's fairly obvious that you've nearly filled your drive. You need to make some more space.
  4. comatory macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2012
    Well honestly what did you expect? It's HD video and those files take up much more space than standard definition files. Your computer states that it needs more space on its system disk. OS X needs some free space for swap files, caches etc. The best practice is to have at least 10-20% of free space on your system harddrive (Macintosh HD). So if you have 500GB harddrive, keep at least 50GB free.

    When editing video, you should use so-called scratchdisk for optimal performance. This is usually another harddrive, in your case you could use Firewire 800 harddrive (USB3 or Thunderbolt is way better) to store your source clips.

    If you don't have additional drive, you should temporarily move some of your files on your system disk somewhere else. You see, you can fit source files on system disk, but iMovie will generate additional files (renders, temporary files) that can take up a lot of space.

    If you use iPhoto, open it and empty trash bin, it uses it's own bin. I wrote an article about freeing up space on Mac a while ago, read it here:

    It is possible you won't be able to finish the project if you don't free up space on your Mac, also your computer will be noticeably slower. Do yourself a favor and buy/borrow external drive.

Share This Page