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Lost Video project

2307 Views 20 Replies Latest reply: Feb 7, 2013 2:27 AM by John Cogdell RSS
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CMBP Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Jan 27, 2013 2:18 PM

I  have been working on a project for several weeks, but on booting up this morning i find the named project missing although all the other projects and event clips were there. I looked in the trash, I looked back over several days in Time Machine which backs up every hour, I searched in Finder under the project name.  Nothing ! Yet everything else was there on a day by day basis.  I find this totally weird as nothing else is missing, just all the many week's work in putting all this together. I can not recall doing anything untoward and have worked steadily on a repetitive process daily.  How can something just vanish even in the external hard drive backup ? Does anyone have any suggestions ?   I can obviously start the whole project again, but the weeks of work that went into it will be frustrating, and surely it must be somewhere.

iMac (20-inch Early 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), imovie 11
  • greenblue1144 Level 2 Level 2 (155 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 27, 2013 9:39 PM (in response to CMBP)

    Um, recheck throughly in Tim-Machine. It should be there. Did someone use your computer? Things don't usually just happen like that. Try calling Apple Support. Hope you get it resolved!

  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,595 points)
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    Jan 27, 2013 11:34 PM (in response to CMBP)

    Unfortunately I can't help you solve this problem, but just wanted to let you know that I recently experienced a similar issue.


    Oddly enough, my project appears in the Finder in the folder <my user name>/Movies/iMovie Projects but does not show up in the iMovie app in the Project Library. The clips were originally imported to Final Cut Pro X in ProRes 422 format. This format can also be edited with iMovie, and I chose to do the editing in iMovie as it was a reasonably straightforward project. Therefore, I imported the clips to an Event in iMovie as ProRes 422.


    My attempt to open the project from the Finder (Open with > did not work. iMovie opened but the project did not appear. Attempting to import and open it in Final Cut Pro X caused this app to crash. So, I'm assuming the project is corrupted. As I mentioned, the project is NOT listed in the Project Library in iMovie, although it is listed in the Finder in the iMovie Projects folder (weird)!


    This is the only time I've imported ProRess 422 clips into iMovie. The editing was progressing well - spread over a few days, off and on, and nothing very complex was involved. Unfortunately I had turned off Time Machine while editing (that's another story), something I normally wouldn't do. So I don't have a backup.


    My thinking has been that the problem may have been caused by using ProRes 422 clips in iMovie, as I had not used that format previously in iMovie. But it may have been a pure coincidence. Usually, when using iMovie, I import as Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) and have not seen the "disappearing project" problem before (and I've edited dozens of projects with all versions of iMovie).


    Just curious - what format did your project use? Was it AIC?


    As I already have all the clips imported as ProRes 422, I'm going to re-edit the project in Final Cut Pro X. When next using iMovie I will stick with the AIC format as I've always had succes with that.


    I tried various "fixes", such as deleting iMovie's preference file, repairing permissions, etc. but to no avail. Hope you have better luck, and sorry to hear that you seem to have lost weeks of work. Hopefully someone here can help you.



    MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2008), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), Sony HDR-SR7 & DCR-TRV20E
  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,595 points)
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    Jan 28, 2013 8:15 PM (in response to CMBP)

    Just a quick reply as I have to go out shortly.


    I hope that you are not too badly affected by the Queensland weather. It's a real disaster for many people there.


    When your AVCHD clips from your Sony camera are imported, iMovie converts them to the Apple Intermediate Codec (referred to as the AIC format). This process converts the clips to a more suitable format for editing, as the compressed video is expanded to full frames. See this User Tip by AppleMan1958 for a full explanation of the AVCHD format and AIC:



    The ProRes 422 format is the main format used in Apple's Final Cut Pro X application (far more advanced than iMovie). iMovie can also edit this format, provided the codec is installed on the Mac.


    Projects don't have to be finalised before sharing. Finalising simply publishes a movie in each of the supported sizes for the media (clips) you are editing. For example, Medium, Large, HD 720p, HD 1080p. Just share in the size you want - no need to finalise unless you want all the available sizes. It will be much quicker just sharing at the one size.


    I will get back to you later with some more information, particularly regarding some articles and Help topics that you may find useful. Have to go now!



    MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2008), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), Sony HDR-SR7 & DCR-TRV20E
  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,595 points)
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    Jan 29, 2013 1:24 AM (in response to CMBP)

    Back again!


    See the following forum discussion, where AppleMan1958 provides a number of links to iMovie Tutorials. Some relate to earlier versions of iMovie, but are mostly still relevant to the current version - iMovie '11 (the latest update being 9.0.8).



    Earlier you said "finding all the event clips is proving a headache as they are scattered everywhere on my computer". So, aren't the event clips in the Event Library? From your original post I understood that you had lost the project (as has happened to me). Are you now saying that the event clips have also disappeared from the Library? In my case, all the event clips are intact in the Event Library - it's just the project which does not appear in the Project Library (although it is shown in the Finder as I described earlier).


    Good luck with your re-edit - hope it all goes well. Enjoy the reading (and viewing of video tutorials)!



    MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2008), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), Sony HDR-SR7 & DCR-TRV20E
  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,595 points)
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    Jan 29, 2013 5:24 AM (in response to CMBP)

    OK - fully understand now! The important thing is to ensure that all the files are placed in your user folder Movies/iMovie Events. When iMovie is next opened it should see these files and they will be listed in the Event Library. Otherwise you will need to import them into a new event or events - that's probably a better option (in iMovie select File > Import ⇒ Movies)


    Let us know if you have further problems wiith any of this.



    MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2008), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), Sony HDR-SR7 & DCR-TRV20E
  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,595 points)
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    Feb 3, 2013 11:24 PM (in response to CMBP)

    Hi CMBP,


    Sorry it's taken a few days to get back to you. I've been busy re-editing and exporting the project I had "lost", among other things. All is well now. I did most of the work in Final Cut Pro X but then had trouble with the background rendering and FCP X freezing. So, had to remove some effects, titles and transitions, then finish the job in iMovie. My "client" (family friend) is very happy with the final product (a 50th wedding anniversary). So all's well that ends well.


    Earlier you asked about Final Cut Pro X and mentioned Adobe Premiere as the preferred choice of a camera store guy. As you appear to be fairly new to video editing, my advice would be to persevere with iMovie. It's quite an easy program to use once you get the hang of how things work. Your earlier reading of information in the links I provided should help with this. Final Cut Pro X is an amazing piece of work, but there is quite a learning curve, being far more complex than iMovie. You can move up to this once you feel comfortable with iMovie. FCP X has a similar interface to iMovie '11, but there is lots more going on under the hood! I can't comment on Adobe Premiere as I've never used it.


    I'm still confused as to what you've done with your iMovie Events (not to mention Projects!). If you have moved them out of the iMovie Events folder in the Finder, they must be returned there, otherwise iMovie will not recognize them. One way of doing this is to drag Event clips into iMovie's Drop Box. When iMovie is next opened, you will be given the opportunity to import these clips into an iMovie Event (either a new one or an existing one). I've inserted below the Help article from iMovie Help (italicised and in quotes):


    "Import video from iMovie Drop Box

    When you import video into iMovie the first time, iMovie creates a folder on your hard disk called iMovie Drop Box.

    You can copy or save video files to this drop box without opening iMovie. To find the drop box folder on your hard disk, go to your home folder/Movies/iMovie Events. In the Finder window, the home folder has the house icon to the left of its name.

    Every time you launch iMovie, it checks if there are new files in the drop box and if so, it asks you if you want to import them into iMovie. The drop box is a convenient way to save files to your computer quickly without having to import them into iMovie right away.

    To import files from iMovie Drop Box:

    1. Open iMovie.iMovie detects if you have new items in the drop box that haven’t yet been imported.
    2. In the dialog that opens, do any of the following:
      • To add the files to an existing Event, select “Add to existing Event” and then choose an options from the pop-up menu.
      • To create a new Event with the files, select “Create new Event” and then type a name in the text field.
      • If you’re importing HD video, select “Optimize video,” and then choose Full or Large from the pop-up menu.
    3. Click Import.


    The files now appear in iMovie, within the Event you specified at the time the files were imported."


    You said in your last post: "I tried  Camera archive and all I get is my Sony camera which I don't understand. I tried imovie iOS project and imovie HD project. What is the difference because none of them enabled me to import anything either from projects or events."


    Camera Archive is a very important feature in iMovie that allows you to archive the original footage from your camera. It's essential to do this so that you can always go back to the archive if things go amiss with the Events in iMovie and you no longer have the clips on your camera. The clips are stored in an Archive folder in their original AVCHD format. These can be imported at any time to an iMovie Event and will be converted to the AIC format, ready for editing in a Project (as I described in an earlier post here). To import from a Camera Archive, from iMovie's menu select File > Import ⇒ Camera Archive then navigate to the Archive folder to select the clips for import. You can get more information from iMovie Help - search for "Make a back-up copy (archive) of the contents of your camcorder".


    Regarding iMovie iOS projects - these relate to clips taken with an iPhone or iPad that have been edited in those devices using the iMovie for iOS app. The edited project can be imported to iMovie on your Mac for further work if desired. An iMovie HD project is a project that has been edited on an earlier version of iMovie (either iMovie HD - version 5, or iMovie HD - version 6). Both these versions work quite differently, and have a completely different interface, to the later versions (iMovie '08 through iMovie '11). The earlier versions (up to iMovie HD 6) are no longer supported by Apple, but Apple had the foresight to allow the earlier projects to be imported to the current version (although in a limited form).


    Hope all this helps to clarify things for you. Please post back if you need more information or help.



    MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2008), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), Sony HDR-SR7 & DCR-TRV20E
  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,595 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 4, 2013 1:42 AM (in response to CMBP)

    Thanks Chris. I did see your other post just after I had posted my reply above. Sorry it was a bit long, but there was quite a bit of ground to cover!


    I'm considering a response to your other post about formats, but just a bit caught up with things at the moment (also have to collect my thoughts). Possibly someone else here will respond before I get to it, and explain it better than I'm able to (c'mon AppleMan)! It is quite a complicated and confusing area. In the good old days we only had to worry about DV and HDV (using miniDV tapes).




    MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2008), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), Sony HDR-SR7 & DCR-TRV20E
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