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Why are transferred iPhoto movies only 1 frame long?

180 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Jan 3, 2013 9:59 AM by LarryHN RSS
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Jan 3, 2013 9:04 AM

13-inch MacBook Pro i5 2.5GHz & 4GB RAM (MacBookPro9,1), iPhoto ’11 (9.4.2)


This summer, had an older, slower 17-inch MacBook Pro (don’t remember the exact iPhoto version of that) transferred at the Apple Store to a brand new 13-inch MacBook Pro.  External G-Drive was used for TimeMachine on the older 17-inch machine.


At the advice of Apple Store genius, once the transfer was done, they re-formatted the G-Drive and set it up for Time Machine on the new MacBook.  I should have suspected something, since they had me click the “erase” button in Disk Utility!


This October I’m checking out my iPhoto library (about 5,300 photos, 320+ movies) and every movie transferred at the Apple Store is only 1 frame long, and the info pane says “MJPEG” format and 0 length.  All movies added since then, using exact same camera and input method, show up as H.264 format and play fine.


Doing a “Reveal in Finder” on the older files shows a .AVI file with sizes from 58KB to 740KB.  Double-clicking the originals plays back only one frame, using QuickTime Player.


Of course, the 17-inch was completely reformatted, fresh OS re-installed and sold soon after the 13-inch was home.  No sign of the older TimeMachine backups from the 17-inch on the G-Drive, just the new machine.


I’ve backed up the iPhoto library and done all the “Command + Option + Click” First Aid steps (Repair Permissions, Rebuild Thumbnails, Repair Database and Rebuild Database) but still no joy.


I’m guessing I’m totally hosed on this one, which is disappointing to say the least since the movies were irreplaceable baby and toddler videos.


Is there any advice or suggestions the collective can offer to give me any hope?


Without that, what did I (or the genius) do wrong that I can avoid in the future?


Thanks in advance.

  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (54,870 points)

    Since you do not tell how you transfered your movies one can only guess


    the correct way to move movies and photos to a new system is Connect the two Macs together (network, firewire target mode, etc) and drag the iPhoto library intact as a single entity from the old Mac to the pictures folder of the new Mac - launch iPhoto on the new mac and it will open the library and convert it as needed and you will be ready move forward.


    My guess is that you exported the contents of the library - there are several problems with this is I guessed correctly - you get the previews of all images which for a movie is a JPEG of the first frame, you lose all of your organization (albums and folders and any event reorganization you have done) and depending on the options you check you may lose palces, keywords and other metadata


    It is possible that disk recovery software like File Salvage can find some or all of the movies - the free download will tell yu what can be recovered - you have to purchase to actually recover



  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,660 points)

    Sorry I can't give you any hope. The Movies were replaced by the thumbnails that represent them in the iPhoto Window. Best guess, that would have happened at the point of migrating from the old machine to the new. Someone mucked up there.






  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (54,870 points)

    I have not used file salvage but it gets good reports form people who have - and it costs nothing to see what it will do


    migration assistant unfortuantly has a really bad record with iPhoto libraries and my recomendation is not to use it for the iPhoto library - but that ship has sailed - I do not remember reports of it losing the original of a movie though




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