iMovieHD iMport iSsues

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Rahsten, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. Rahsten macrumors regular


    Mar 13, 2007
    Ok, I just filled up my first 60 min DV with my household's Easter festivities! By the way, Happy Easter to those who do the Easter thing! Anyways, I just tried to import the footage to iMovie but ran into a problem.

    Firstly, I have a Sony HDR HC7 connected to a 320GB Buffalo HD by FireWire and the HD is connected to my MacBook by FW too. I opened iMovie, created a new project and began to import my footage. After about 15 minutes of importing in Real Time it dropped to 1/8th time. I was out of the room at the point when it dropped but the image in iMovie was stuck, but the Viewfinder was still playing. So, I hit stop in iMovie and it seemed like it was taking for ever for the footage import to catch up. I decided to quit iMovie and load it again to try importing from where it previously slowed down. When I opened iMovie again however, all my clips were stored in iMovie's trash. What's up with that?

    Basically, I'd like to know, is importing in less than real time normal with iMovie even using FW or is it my set up? Should I just leave it when the speed drops and let it catch up on its own when the 60min tape is over? It seems ridiculous if I have to be sitting their watching the whole 60 minutes import just so I can stop it manually when the import speed drops. Before when this happened on my USB HD I expected it to be slow, but on the USB HD when I leave it to catch up it ALWAYS overloads iMovie or something and the App quits on its own and all data and clips are lost. Will that happen with my FW HD?

    Also, why does iMovie put all my clips in the trash when I quit and reopen?

    As always, all help is appreciated. Thanks.
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I don't have hard answers for your, but here is my best late night speculation.
    1. FW HDDs are better than USB 2.0 HDDs (this will probably be the only thing I say that's not speculation).

    2. iMovie has to transcode the HDV footage into AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) for editing so thats probably why it drops to less than realtime.

    3. I have no idea why it's putting your stuff in the trash.

    4. Happy Easter.:)

  3. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

    Jul 24, 2006
    Hollywood, CA
    Hmm, something is definitely wrong. Try importing video with Activity Monitor open, looking carefully at the CPU usage and disk activity as this is happening. Your setup should definitely be plenty fast enough for HDV capture. How full is the 320GB drive and are you running any other apps while the capture is going on? How much RAM in the MacBook?

    Also try creating a new project, importing a brief clip, then save the project, quit iMovie, and reopen it in iMovie. The clip should not be in the trash. Clips should only wind up in the trash when iMovie abnormally terminates (well, even then they shouldn't, but they do).

    Also try capturing to the MacBook's internal HD, if you have the space, just as an experiment. Just trying to diagnose what's wrong.
  4. Rahsten thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 13, 2007
    OK, thanks.

    The reason all the clips are appearing in the trash IS because of abnormal shutdown. However the abnormal shutdown of iMovie is due to the fact that the import is so slow and if the lag in the capturing gets too big iMovie appears to idle for a LONG time, quit on its own or I Force Quit.

    If I manually stop the import as soon as I notice the import speed drop to 1/2 - 1/4, usually that will save it and the app can catch up with the data in the cache.

    I'm assuming that my problem is due to the fact that I only have 1.25GB RAM. Will getting another 1 GB solve my problem?

    Here is the data from Activity Monitor while importing:

    User % was between 60-80 but there is another %CPU in the Monitor Window next to the iMovie HD icon and it was reading up to 180.

    System Memory:
    (gets killer gobbled up when the import begins)

    Free: went from about 700MB to 10-15MB in less than a minute...but hovered around 10.

    The following I wasn't too sure what they mean:
    Inactive:738MB(why so much is inactive...could this be the problem?)
    Used:1.23GB of a total 1.25GB


    Disk Activity:

    Data written/sec: was at 15-16 MB but when iMovie import slows down it dropped to like 2-3MB, at this same point the Free Mem has dove to like 10MB and the Used is at 1.23GB...the fans are also going crazy too!!!

    So, what's up with that inactive chunk of RAM, it's like half of the available, is it really inactive and if so why??? lol:confused:

    I tried it in Apps opened and closed environments.
    Having just Firefox open (usual environment) or closed didn't seem to make much of a difference. In fact with Firefox open iMovie actually maintained real time importing for longer than with it not open....

    I guess it can't hurt to increase my RAM. Does anyone else agree that not enough RAM may be the problem?

    By the way, the FW HD is new and completely empty, save for the 20GB I've managed to already import.
  5. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

    Jul 24, 2006
    Hollywood, CA
    Hmm, sorry, I dunno what the problem is. :( I've never actually dealt with HDV before, only DV, so hopefully someone else can chime in. Apple lists the system requirements for iMovie HD as a 1GHz G4, so your MacBook is obviously totally capable. I think you have plenty of RAM, too.

    In the meantime maybe you could import the video in 15-minute segments?

    Happy Easter :)
  6. Texas04 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2005
    If you do not save you iMovie project file (which it sounds like that is what you did) it DOES put your stuff in the trash. It is very annoying but it can happen. :rolleyes: :( Happy thing is you can always drag it out of the trash! :D sometimes... :eek:
  7. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2005
    Do you have enough space on you Macbook HD? If so, maybe you could try importing it with the camcorder connected directly to the macbook instead of the external hd. See if you will get the same results.

    Also, about the inactive memory. That is like free memory. The only difference is the computer keeps the memory somewhat full because it thinks you might access it again. However, if you open something and it needs more ram and your free ram is almost empty, it will use the inactive memory. So basically your free + inactive is how much memory you aren't using.
  8. Rahsten thread starter macrumors regular


    Mar 13, 2007
    I have very little space on my HD but I figured it's OK if I just sit there for the hour or so it takes to import and manually stop it whenever the import speed drops too low. That way it catches up rather quickly and I will spend only an hour or so dealing with the import (at same time i can watch and review my footage) rather than it taking up my entire afternoon and evening like it did when I would just leave it.

    Now, all I need to do is find some time to do my editing. Between work, wife and baby....there isn't much time for me, lol.:(

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