7 Replies Latest reply: Jan 21, 2013 7:22 AM by AppleMan1958
Velanche Stewart Level 1 (20 points)


I'm a bit frustrated with the fact that I cannot get a timecode to appear when I'm scrubbing videos in the Event Viewer. The only thing that displays on the tool tip area when I scrub is the original movie creation date. The video is a Quicktime movie I've imported, and not one that was original created in iMovie.


I followed a set of directions listed in one of the community topics where I had to delete both the thumbnail and cache folders in an event folder, and it also mentioned changing the "seconds" by one, though the file name did not have any time ID included. I did try adding a few characters in order to rename the file, but no change.


What else can I try? Not having the ability to scrub timecodes makes the editing process a bit longer.




MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7)
  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    Unfortunately, timecodes are not available in the Event browser. As you note, all that appears is the creation date and time for each separate clip. If you have just the one clip (such as with your imported QuickTime movie) you will see only a single date and time (the creation date of the QuickTime movie).


    When working in a Project, go to the Menu and select View > Playhead Info (so that it is ticked). When scrubbing through the thumbnails in the timeline a timecode will now appear beneath the creation date in the black window that moves with the red playhead marker.


    Perhaps your best alternative will be to drag the full movie from the Event into the Project. Now do all your editing within the Project, rather than selecting pieces from the Event. In the Project, it's easy enough to split the full movie into segments, then delete unwanted segments as required. Fine tune each remaining segment if necessary. It's best to turn on "Show Advanced Tools" and "Display time as HH:MM:SS:Frames" in iMovie's Preferences (menu item iMovie > Preferences - General tab). Also in the Preferences Browser tab, check the box "Show Fine Tuning controls".



  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 (27,405 points)

    There is a way to do this that has worked for me so that I can see the date and time as I skim.


    Make a copy of your Event clip. Then rename it in the form clip-yyyy-mm-dd hh;mm;ss.ext

    where clip must be lower case, hh is hours in 24 hour time, and ext is the current extension (e.g. .mov)


    Then use FILE/IMPORT MOVIE to import this clip into your event. You should be able to see the time as you skim.


    Of course, this method requires that you know the time and date of the first frame so that you can use it.

    I usually know the date, but only an approximate time, so I use 12;00;00 (or an approximation of the time of day inthe clip) as the time so I have a relative sense of time.

  • Velanche Stewart Level 1 (20 points)

    Hey thanks a lot! I was spooked that it looked as if it didn't work at first. Once I started scrubbing, though, I saw the minutes/seconds started scrolling. Kinda different than what I would have like to see, butt this is far better than being in the dark and lacking reference points for clips I'd like to choose and use.


    Best wishes and thanks again!

  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    Thanks AppleMan. Your suggestion helped resolve an oddity with iMovie that had been troubling me since I posted my reply to Velanche.


    When responding to Velanche's question, I firstly tested scrubbing through a recent Event in iMovie to double check what showed in the black box connected to the playhead. I was surprised to see that just the creation date and time was visible for each of the clips. The time did not change as I scrubbed through a clip. Each clip showed the same behaviour. From my past experience I thought that the time should, in fact, change as the playhead moved through the clip - just as you explained. I concluded that perhaps an update to iMovie had removed this feature, but felt somewhat puzzled.


    It turns out that the Event I was testing comprised clips I had imported from Final Cut Pro X in the ProRes 422 format. Interestingly, ProRes 422 clips have a slightly different naming convention to normal iMovie clips that have been imported as Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC format). The word "clip" doesn't appear before the date and time. Also, "(id)" appears after the date and time, immediately before the extension .mov (for example: 2012-12-08 18_39_36 (id).mov).


    It appears that, when scrubbing through ProRes 422 clips in an iMovie Event, the time does not update as the playhead moves - unlike AIC clips in iMovie Events. Of course, in Final Cut Pro X the elapsed time for each ProRes 422 clip is shown in the timecode viewer box in the centre toolbar.


    So that explains things! Thought I was going crazy for a while! I had forgotten that the clips I was testing for Velanche were in ProRes 422 format - that's the first and only time I had imported this format to iMovie. I recall now that I was originally intending to edit the Project in FCP X, but then decided to use iMovie. Rather than re-importing from the camera or camera archive as AIC, I used the ProRes 422 clips already imported to FCP X.


    Thanks again for your input AppleMan. I feel much happier now that I have an answer to why I wasn't seeing the time updating when scrubbing in an iMovie Event.



  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 (27,405 points)

    Hi John,

    My ProRes clips in FCPX have the same naming convention as yours. FCPX seems to handle metadata more robustly than iMovie does. FCP allows you to rename clips and it does not affect the metadata. FCPX handles timecode a lot better, too. It is easy to see where you are. I am enjoying working in FCPX.


    I thought that iMovie could do everything I needed, but I think I realized that I was just very good at keeping my creativity within the limits of what iMovie could do.  With FCPX I am doing things that would have been tough in iMovie.

  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    Thank you AppleMan. I probably need to persevere with FCP X. I have edited a few small projects in it, mainly to get a feel for it, but tend to use iMovie for most projects.


    I understand that you have a fairly recent iMac which is much more powerful than my earlier model MacBook Pro (late 2008/early 2009 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo with 8GB RAM). I get a bit frustrated with the background rendering in FCP X, which runs slower than I'd prefer - no doubt due to my older hardware. I like working in iMovie as everything happens almost instantly, and I'm very comfortable with it. I guess I could use proxy media in FCP X, but haven't tried this yet.


    Overall, I'm still pretty happy using iMovie but may gradually move over to FCP X as it is an amazing program (but much more complex). Perhaps when I upgrade to a more powerful Mac! Like you, I've probably reached the limit of my creativity with iMovie, so need to expand my horizons by using FCP X more than I do presently. It would be nice to see some bug fixes and extra features in iMovie, as it hasn't had a major facelift for quite a while (just minor updates) - perhaps another reason to move to FCP X.



  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 (27,405 points)

    Keep in mind that you can disable background rendering in FCPX. Also, background rendering should stop as soon as you press a key or move the mouse. Good luck!