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iMovie Heap Zone Error

16002 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Jul 17, 2013 8:58 PM by bbonn RSS
lilchris0294 Calculating status...
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May 1, 2011 9:18 AM

I am running iMovie 11 9.0.0 only because 9.0.2 makes the exported audio sound like crap.


But anyway, I was able to export a short 5 minute HD 1080p movie, but am unable to export an 18 minute HD 1080 movie. When I try to export, it goes through the Preparing Project for about a good hour and half, and about 3/4 of the way through, it says time remaining is an hour but then I get a message:


Unable to prepare project (Not enough room in heap zone)


I have almost 50 gigs of memory left on the HD, so I dont understand why this is happening?

Please help?

Macbook Unibody 13 in., Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • Lennart Thelander Level 8 Level 8 (38,220 points)
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    May 1, 2011 10:45 AM (in response to lilchris0294)

    The "heap" resides in RAM, not on the hard drive.


    Try restarting the Mac just prior to the export. That frees up RAM.

  • Matthew Morgan Level 7 Level 7 (22,420 points)
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    May 1, 2011 10:50 AM (in response to lilchris0294)

    There was a thread a while back about this.


    I'm not sure if it provides any real answers but there may be some clues.




  • deanrhook Calculating status...
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    May 22, 2011 8:47 AM (in response to lilchris0294)

    I have received the exact SAME error trying to produce a 30 minute 1080p HD movie on my new Macbook Pro 2.3 Mhz Core i5 with 4 GIG of Ram and 500 GIG HD.  I can produce the SAME movie at 720P with no issue. I am receiving the SAME exact error about the same time you are describing,


    Apple, there is a problem here.  Please address.

  • Lennart Thelander Level 8 Level 8 (38,220 points)
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    May 30, 2011 12:24 PM (in response to deanrhook)

    deanrhook wrote:


    Apple, there is a problem here.  Please address.

    This is just a user-to-user forum (that is hosted on computers on


    Please file a bug report:

    Or, at the very least, provide feedback:

  • enriquedv92 Calculating status...
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    Jun 25, 2011 1:54 PM (in response to lilchris0294)

    What i am doing is cutting by parts the project and exporting each one, so far is working

  • Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (43,345 points)
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    Jun 25, 2011 4:30 PM (in response to lilchris0294)

    For people getting error 333, "not enough room in heap zone". Make sure your project name does not have special characters in it.

    20" 2.1GHz iSight iMac G5,, Mac OS X (10.5.8), iLife 9 but iMovie 6, QTPro 7.6.9, Safari 5.0.5
  • Ed Sudario Calculating status...
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    Aug 13, 2011 8:26 AM (in response to lilchris0294)

    what a pain! I've tried every suggestion... got rid of all FlipVideo files, cleared RAM cache, booted in Safe Mode, disconnected all periphery items from MacMini, renamed the file, deleted the iMovie preferences file, moved all other projects from library except for the project I'm trying to export.


    I get 2/3rd's of the way through then the "heap" error message comes up.  Am I missing something else? Here's my specs.....


    2011 Mac Mini Server

    Lion OSX

    iMovie 11 v 9.0.4

    8MB Ram

    Project is 98% iPhoto pics and 3 video clips no longer than 10 seconds each. Duration 17:31 - 30fps

    Using Photo Album Theme

    6 iTunes songs


    Wondering if the project has TOO many title overlays.... for the viewer they are almost manditory since it's one of those ...."needed to be there" to understand the content of the picture.


    Tried the project on the main hard drive, secondary hard drive then over to a 3TB external. All with the same result.


    I can export to iDVD but maybe it's my imagination but the resolution is pretty poor. My goal is to export to media browser at 720p.


    Would appreciate any and all suggestions.


    Thanks in advance!

  • moviemaker777 Calculating status...
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    Oct 18, 2011 11:40 PM (in response to Ed Sudario)

    Restart your computer. It worked like magic for me...

  • steviewild Calculating status...
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    Oct 19, 2011 6:01 AM (in response to lilchris0294)

    I have exactly the same error (108) when I try to export my projekt to 1080p and 720p. My machine is MacBook Pro Core i7 2.0 GHz with 8 GB RAM and around 150 GB of free disk space.

    Restarting the computer doesn't help. Does anyone have a solution?


    Thanks in advance,


  • LinuxElf Calculating status...
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    Dec 10, 2011 12:55 PM (in response to lilchris0294)

    For a solution that works, see Brian Flaherty's post...



    I had also tried restarting, removing special characters, shortening file name to 8 characters, on and on, everything suggested.


    Have compared output using Brian's method with previous method -- same quality, but ...

    1. It works!

    2. The export completes in 1 hour, compared with 7+ hours using original method.


    So happy to be able to export to Blu-Ray disc again!


  • Y-Dog123 Calculating status...
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    Jan 17, 2012 7:21 PM (in response to lilchris0294)

    Ok, I had been getting the heap error for some time now. WHen I took my MacBook Pro in to the shop because the fan was making bad noises they said they were going to replace the fan. I also told them about the heap zone error. They said that after they replaced the fan the movies were going through and evern faster. They said it might have been because the CPU was getting to hot and causing the error. So it might be worth a trip to the computer store and having them look and make sure all of your components are working correctly.

  • bbonn Calculating status...
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    Jul 17, 2013 8:58 PM (in response to lilchris0294)



    This pretty much explains it all.  Copied from MacRumors:

    I have the "true" answer to this age old question.  It was also confirmed for me by a senior tech advisor at Apple.  Here is my case number you can reference to prove it.  Case #454595897.  There is no fix.  iMovie is a 32bit application and OS X is a 64bit operating system.  A 32bit application can never use more than 3.4GB of RAM.  iMovie tries to pull everything into RAM when rendering.  So, if your entire project contains more than 3.4GB of data, it will NOT render the movie.  iMovie will also start behaving strange as it gets close to it limit. 

    You have two options.  Split the project in half and render each separately.  OR pay $300 for Final Cut Pro which is a 64bit application. Save your money on the RAM.  More RAM just lets you have more 32bit applications open at once.  Pay more for 64bit applications vs RAM.  A lot of people trouble shooting this problem think they solve it by doing special tricks but it is just a coincidence that they may have did something that made the project just small enough to render.

    I hope this saves people a lot of time to make up for the time I wasted. 



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