Backing-Up and Transferring iMovie Projects

Anyone involved with groups of people doing movie projects in schools with students and teachers will tell you the transition off iMovie HD aka iMovie 6 has been a tough one for everyone to get used to. It happened many years ago now when Apple released a totally different application and called it iMovie 7 but it was completely different and just about every way then the previous version that everyone was accustomed to. Many of us have been trying to handle that transition for people for years now.

Perhaps the biggest issue for me around all of this is not so much what changed inside the walls of the application, but rather how iMovie 7 onward deals with its files. This is just a very difficult concept for people to have to grasp if they want to share or move an editable project around to other computers. The old iMovie would save all of its project-related data to a single database and content file – simple for people to comprehend. Starting with iMovie 7, iMovie keeps its data in a couple of folders and save a project file out is really worthless without the content that file is pointing to.

To effectively backup or make a movie project portable you now really need to grab the directories iMovie is using because in the combination of those directories is your iMovie project.

To backup your iMovie projects

1. Quit iMovie
2. Copy the two directories under the /Users/<current username>/Movies folder named

iMovie Events
iMovie Projects

to an external drive or large USB memory stick. This has all the video data you might have used in the project.

3 .If you used photos and or music as well, you need to really grab these directories as well to be sure you have what you will need.

/Users/<current username>/Pictures
/Users/<current username>/Music

To place your movie project on another Mac you need to do the following.

1. Make sure iMovie is not open.

2. Connect media you moved everything onto and copy the folders into the same paths they were in on the above procedure.

3. Open iMovie. It will be looking for those paths and when it sees that data, it will provide you will all the event clips and settings you had on the other computer.

It is quite annoying and especially the case in a lab computer environment where students might be working on things from home, then bringing them into the school, then passing them around to other students doing groupwork, etc. The frustrating aspect of this is that a similiar problem and solution is out there now if Apple could just replicate it.

Generating InDesign files is very similar to what we are dealing with in iMovie projects. InDesign uses fonts, images, etc. and if you need to give a printing house your information or pass an InDesign project to another designer, you have the function of ‘Packaging‘ the file. This allows InDesign to gather all the relevant files for the file together in a simple way so it is easily portable to another user/computer.

I would LOVE to see Apple incorporate something like this. I have mentioned this multiple times to Apple Reps around the iMovie training and product management, but nothing yet. I had hoped iMovie ’11 would have had something like this, but didn’t happen.

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