iMovie project is too big

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by akeibler, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. akeibler macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2011
    I'm making a "montage" of my favorite videogame, or a compilation of my best shots, to be put on YouTube. I used a Dazzle to record the games from my PlayStation to my computer, and they are saved as .mov files.

    Well, I'm using iMovie to edit them into the montage. What it usually entails is importing a 20 minute or so video into iMovie, editing out a 10 or so second clip, and trashing the rest. Now, though, I'm getting an error message when I try to import a video into my project: "There is not enough disk space left to import x."

    Additionally, apparently my Mac HD is running out of space generally because the iMovie file of this montage is 44 Gigabytes. It's two minutes of video! Literally! Can anyone help me out? If not, looks like I'll be contacting Apple tech within the next few days, because this is intolerable.
  2. jackrv macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2011

    First, just to get it out of the way, for any video editing you may want to invest in an external drive to hold your source files.

    That being said, you may try using an encoder like Handbrake to convert your source into something more manageable. Be aware that every encode may reduce the quality of your video somewhat. If you are aiming for an HD upload to youtube, you may want the external drive.

    I have no idea what format Dazzle outputs to, but you can experiment with different formats from AIC and work your way down to a format that is acceptable to you. But the best solution is to have the drive space necessary for working with multiple video sources. The iMovie file isn't the output file. It contains all of the sources you are using. Plus the original source files, if on the same disk, are also taking up space. By default, iMovie make a copy of any video imported, so 10GB of source may end up being ~20GB of space used after import.
  3. akeibler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2011
    Thanks a bunch. I'll try Handbreak.

    I still don't understand, though, why the project is so big. It's 2 minutes worth of video and 6 minutes of audio. The original files shouldn't still be counting towards the space. After importing them and isolating a short clip, I put the rest of the video in the trash and emptyed the trash.
  4. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Generally Speaking

    A 2.5 minute iMovie, recorded in full 1080 dpi runs at about 560mb ( or half a GB if you prefer) You can reduce the size when you export, but obviously the smaller you go, the more resolution you lose until you end up with a movie that can only be viewed in a small window.

    It depends on the quality and size of your source files, soundtrack etc.etc. My video camera can upload directly to YouTube if I want to bypass the editing process and just put some rough cuts there.

    It's trial and error, a little like life really....:)
  5. sevoneone macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2010
    I second the external hard drive solution. If you work with these videos often, filling up your system drive with video will degrade your system performance in general. An external drive will have tons of free space and, depending on your system, might be faster than the drive inside your mac, speeding up your editing.
  6. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    Uncompressed HD video files are massive. Files you download from the Internet are smaller because they're compressed. What you're experiencing is completely normal. Until you finish your project and encode the video with a codec like H.264, you're going to be dealing with huge files. Welcome to video editing.
  7. akeibler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2011
    So there's no way smaller before I'm totally finished with it and export it? I'm not concerned about the size after export, I know it can be compressed... I'm worried about the 44 gigs of space it's taking up on my computer.
  8. MacTech68, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011

    MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    A long time ago, I came across the following chart showing different capture & encoding methods and the relative GB per hour. I can't remember where it came from, so can't give credit. Nor can I vouch for it's accuracy, but it's scary to see some of the uncompressed HD rates :(

    I have a Dazzle Hollywood bridge and an hour and a half "DV" capture in iMovie is about 35GB. That's not even HD 720. That rings true to my early experience of iMovie on OS9 that Apple's "DV" was abour 6MBytes per second.

    Perhaps you should try starting the iMovie project in a lower quality DV. It sounds like you're capturing in 1080, which if you're using a composite to FirewireDV capture bridge is pretty pointless due to the original source resolution.

    I certainly echo the suggestion for using an external Firewire hard drive for capture and editing.

    Attached Files:

  9. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    Hate to break it to 'ya buddy, but 44 gigs isn't all that much these days. Some games take up more space than that now. ;) It sounds like you need an external hard drive. Your Mac will be chugging with all that used space anyway, you never want to be running at full capacity.
  10. akeibler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2011
    I'm not too good at this, but it looks like 44gb is the biggest thing on my computer. Like, by a LOT.

    Either way, it's total crap that I'd have to shell out $50+ for an EHD. I know for a fact that people using Pinnacle on a PC to do the same thing aren't having this problem.
  11. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    Big size effects everyone, doesn't matter whether it's Mac or PC. It's possible that your files might be TOO big for whatever reason, but I'm not educated enough in this to offer advise on how to fix it. I'd try pre-encoding the files beforehand and if that doesn't work, call Apple, they might be able to figure out what you're doing wrong.
  12. MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    You'll need to provide more information about HOW you've done it, what model Dazzle converter, what version of MacOS & iMovie even what Mac you are using.

    44GB is just wrong, even for 1080 HD on consumer level editing of 6 minutes of footage.

    According to iMovie 9.0 Help:

    I must admit to being a little confused. You say:
    Which implies that you haven't been able to import this project.

    So, do you have OTHER iMovie projects on your hard drive or just this ONE project?

    Secondly, when you recorded (captured) with your Dazzle capture hardware, what software did you use, and, what was the size of that file and what were the settings for the capture?

    You then say:
    Is this referring to the iMovie project file or the .mov file from your original capture?

    And finally, when you say that:
    Does this mean you already have footage in this current iMovie project and you are ADDING footage, or this is an empty iMovie project.

    Emptying the trash on iMovie is slightly different from earlier to later versions.

    For example: for iMovie v9 ('11)

    And iMovie v6 and earlier is far simpler, but:
  13. akeibler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2011
    Mac OS X
    Version 10.5.8
    iMovie HD 6.0.3

    It is a Dazzle DVD Recorder Plus... the white one. It outputs to .mov files... I use a program called VideoGlide to record, since the Dazzle software doesn't work with my Mac.

    It is the only iMovie project on the computer. I think I might have figured SOMETHING out. Even though each clip is only a few seconds long, when I click "show clip info," it says that each clip is 3-5GB, which was the size of the original movies.

    I guess the problem is that for some reason iMovie is still storing the whole imported movie, even though I isolated a clip from each and trashed the rest. Any ideas?
  14. MacTech68, Dec 3, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011

    MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    Yup. iMovie 6 will retain the original clip and uses "references" to the original capture file for the portions you've selected. The second link I posted about iMovie 6 trash makes this point.

    Also, by default, VideoGlide will capture in the Dazzle's native format, which creates huge files (which iMovie will need to convert anyhow).

    From the VideoGlide ReadMe:
    I think if you re-capture, changing the settings in VideoGlide to a compressed video format (provided your Mac is fast enough to compress during capture) you'll find that the output files become much smaller. Reboot your machine before capturing and don't run any other Applications when capturing so that the computer has the best chance of NOT dropping frames.

    I would recommend using one of the DV formats (since that's what iMovie 6 natively uses and iMovie won't need to convert the video to a format it can work with). Use either "DV - PAL" or "DV/DVCPRO - NTSC" depending on your country. You'll know if you have the wrong one (NTSC or PAL) if your video is black&white.

    When you capture, try to capture only the portions you need as this will save space too.

    I've tried the Mpeg4 codec, but as it stands, it's a pretty poor example of Mpeg4 compression. :mad:

    When you create your new iMovie project, select the "Video Format" as "DV". You may need to click on the little triangle next to "Video Format" to see the choices. Anything other than plain "DV" (ie: HDV 1080i or HDV 720p) will be overkill since your capture device is certainly NOT HighDefinition. *see note below

    Once you've dragged the captured footage into iMovie (and it "imports" or rather copies the DV .mov file you captured), you can delete the .mov file that VideoGlide created to save space.

    *NOTE: capturing as DV is overkill in itself, but when working with iMovie v6, it's the best choice due to iMovie 6's limitations as to what video codecs and formats it works with internally. Any other format will only get converted to DV when you import the footage into iMovie which will take time to convert AND potentially lose a little quality in the conversion process.

    Hopefully, this all makes sense and helps you get your project done! :)

    EDIT: to work around iMovie 6's holding onto the original full file after smaller clips are selected, you could use MpegStreamClip to cut and create "rough cut" pieces of your VideoGlide catpure footage, saving them as smaller DV .dv files and importing those into a NEW iMovie project.

    In MpegStreamClip, open your VideoGlide .mov file (which you captured using DV compression), drag the playhead to the start of the clip section you want and press "I" on your keyboard. Next drag the playhead to the end of the clip section you want, and press "O" on your keyboard.

    Now, go to the file menu and select "Save as...", give the clip a unique name, and select the format as "DV" and click "Save". You will now have a much smaller .dv file you can drag to your new iMovie project. Repeat this for the other sections you need.

    Use the "Save as.." option rather than "Export" since all you need to do is save the portion of DV stream into a new .dv container file. ie: No conversion needs to be done.
  15. akeibler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2011
    Well, I ended up going with the MPEG streamclip program, and everything works great up until the part where I have to save it as a DV. Then, it says "Error: the file cannot be saved in this format" or something like that.

    Still, this is fantastic. Even as MOVs, the new clips are very small since they're only a few seconds long. I should be able to fit plenty of them in an iMovie project without even converting them to DVs.

    Thank you SO much.
  16. MacTech68 macrumors 68020


    Mar 16, 2008
    Australia, Perth
    If you didn't re-capture them in VideoGlide changing the Video Settings to "DV" then the error is expected.


    However, I'm glad to see you're progressing. :)
  17. Kaitlin613 macrumors newbie


    Sep 10, 2016
    I just had to figure out the same thing myself regarding a large file - i discovered that if you go to the 'file' tab, then select 'share', after this you want to export to a file, so select 'file' and a box will pop up - in that box you can change the 'resolution', 'quality' and 'compress' - they all will alter the size of your file. For example: when i changed my resolution from 1080p to 720p it halved the size of my file (which you can see on the right hand side of the box! and when i changed my Quality from 'best pro' to just 'high' it took my file size from 16GB to 2.62GB - amazing, so i fiddled around so that i had a good enough quality and reasonable resolution - but a easy to download file size :))) hope this helps!

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16 November 27, 2011