11 Replies Latest reply: Dec 8, 2012 7:54 AM by Mom24monsters
howdesign Level 1 Level 1
I've got a movie project in iMovie '11 (9.0.2) that is a bit over 2.5 hours and I get an error when trying to export it ("Unable to prepare project for publishing..... Project is too long.) Unfortunately the error doesn't come up until AFTER it's gone through the motions...5 to 6 hours later! This seems crazy to me since I would think people burning to DL DVD would have projects as long or longer. I'm not going to iDVD with it so I don't need it to be under 2 hours for a SL DVD.

I have 70+GB of space available on my HD and let it run overnight several times. Haven't tried exporting to Quicktime out of it since it says it's going to take 22 hours to process!

I can split it in half if necessary, but does anyone know an official project length limit or other workaround? THANKS!

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.7), 2.8 Core 2 Duo
  • F Shippey Level 7 Level 7
    I get an error when trying to export it

    How and to what format?
  • howdesign Level 1 Level 1
    See my explanation above for how. I get the error when using the Share > Export Movie menu. No format or options are offered (except for the quality). I'm specifying Large size and it wants to make a .m4v file.

    Anyone ever export a move longer that 2.5 hours from iMovie?
  • F Shippey Level 7 Level 7
    Share > Export Movie menu. No format or options are offered (except for the quality). I'm specifying Large size

    That's what I was looking for. There are several ways to Share/Export a clip.

    What is the destination you are using for the file? (I save my Exported movies to my Desktop)
  • howdesign Level 1 Level 1
    Interesting idea about the destination folder. I just created a 2 hour and 40 minute test movie (with no audio) made up of still photos and it exported okay! My 2 hour and 31 minute project SHOULD work then.

    I'll change the destination and also try a couple other tests and report back. Thx.
  • mikeamick Level 1 Level 1

    This link helped me, maybe it'll help you.


  • Joz85 Level 1 Level 1

    I have been getting the same error with an iMovie 11 project that is 2.5 hours long. Weird thing is that I have exported 10+ times already using all different formats Now all of a sudden it won't let me export it at any format or size. I have never had this issue before even with longer movies. I am running Lion and iMove 11 (9.x)


    Here is the error window. Any solutions?


  • future2today Level 1 Level 1

    I am currently working on a 7.5 hr project and I have been running into the same troubles that you have.  My most recent attempt is to export through quicktime. Now I have tried to export through here before however my project was going to become this gigabyte eating file.  This time, before clicking save so it will start exporting I clicked on options right next to it.  From there I was able to set the codec to animation which instantly reduces the final size of the file.  Also through there you can change the FPS, color depth, and key frames.  Originally my project exported through quicktime was going to take 60 hours, now it projects 6.  Hopefully after all of this is said and done I will not have the "project is too long" error message.

  • Mom24monsters Level 1 Level 1

    Same here. Ripped a 2 hour and 32 minute movie from a blu-ray that I own, and only need iMovie to boost the volume. When it gets to the very end, it gives me an error telling me that it is too long.


    I am using Lion and iMovie11, and am using an MP4 and want to keep the formatting for my iPhone and iPad and my kids' iPods. I'm trying to export to the desktop, and I have over 300 GB available on the HD. The original file size is just over 1.5 GB.

  • sheikhy Level 1 Level 1

    iMovie project can be how long it likes I think,,

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7

    Yes, your movie is too long. Divide it up into 5 30 minute movies. You can do this by selecting your movie in the Project Library View, and clicking FILE/DUPLICATE PROJECT 5 times. Then for project 1, delete everything but the first 30 minutes. For project 2, delete everything but the 2nd 30 minutes, etc. If 30 minutes is still too long, you can shorten it again with this method.


    If you need to make a theatrical length movie (e.g. 2 1/2 hours), I suggest Final Cut Pro X. It will make movies this long.

    Final Cut Pro X can import iMovie Projects, so if you want, you can create your movie in Final Cut Pro X.


    The reason iMovie is not the right tool for you is that it was designed for amateur home movies. Technically, iMovie will render the entire movie in a single pass. This means that the longer your movie, the more powerful computer, memory, and disks you will need, but ultimately there is a limit to what can be accomplished in a single pass. However, Final Cut Pro X can do multiple renders. It will render as you go, so that at the end, when you make your 2.5 hour movie, it can just string together sequences which have already been rendered.

  • Mom24monsters Level 1 Level 1

    Thanks! Having a PC as well, I have software that will murge the files into one movie!