11 Replies Latest reply: Mar 22, 2013 11:50 AM by bniblick
bniblick Level 1 (0 points)

Does the resulting size given for an imovie project by the "get info" (*apple i*  command)  include the clipboard contents (unused in the project) as well as the clips in the timeline (the actual project)?


I already know that the imovie's project's trash is included in the size indicated in the "get info" command for the imovie project.


Thanks for any thoughts...

iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.8), imovieHD
  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    For versions '08, '09 and '11, iMovie projects don't actually contain clips. The clips you see in the project timeline are simply referencing the actual video contained in the associated Event (or Events). The clips are not actually copied to the project, but just linked to the Events. That's why projects have a relatively small file size.


    The project file also keeps track of all your edits, including information about where you've trimmed clips, and added transitions, effects, titles, music, photos and so forth.


    If you are concerned about the size of your project in regard to burning a DVD, bear in mind that iDVD doesn't care about size, only the duration of the project. For a single-layer DVD, the maximum length is 2 hours. Allow about double this time for a double-layer DVD. If you use the Best Performance setting in iDVD, the total duration (including menus) is 1 hour for a single-layer DVD. For durations above this, use the High Quality or Professional Quality setting.



  • bniblick Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry, I should've specified that I'm using imovie6HD.
    I'm wondering why, with an imovie 6 HD project, the size of the file when exported to QT at full quality is only 2.16 GB while the file size for the imovie project (according to *get info*) is 25GB? 

    2.  Then when I open the 2.16 GB file in QT 10 the *movie inspector* in QT tells me that same file is 5.3 GB?

    Trying to understand the different file sizes for the same project...and the relation of size to quality since I plan to show this film in a film festival on a large theatre screen and want the best quality possible.

    Thanks for your time...

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 (27,405 points)

    In iMovie 6, when you edit, it keeps a copy of both the before and after clip so you could undo the change if you wanted to. When you import a clip from another project, it imports the whole clip, so it is in both projects. Project sizes quickly balloon in iMovie 6. Back then, they did not worry about it too much because they assumed you would not keep projects on disk. Disks were too small back then. They assumed you would write out the finished project to tape and destroy your project, so they did not worry about the huge waste of space.


    So the size of an iMovie 6 project is not related to quality. It relates to the iMovie 6 scheme for allowing an Undo function.

  • bniblick Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank-you for the informative answer.  If you don't mind a follow-up question, do you know where does imovie 6 keep the copy of the clip that you change/edit for the project? and does it remain to be used again after the project is "saved" and the project trash is emtied?

  • Klaus1 Level 8 (47,600 points)

    In iMovie's trash.


    Non-destructive editing is an important feature of iMovie HD 6.


    iMovie preserves the entire copy of every clip you place into your movie in case you change your mind at a later stage.


    So, if you have cut out one minute from a 45 minute clip, iMovie will have stored two complete copies of that clip. This is why is helps to set import as 3-5 minute clips rather than one huge chunk. As DV runs at 13GB per hour your project files can get very big.


    One workaround is to complete the editing of a section of the movie, then export that to Quicktime: highlight the clip/s, choose Share-Quicktime, turn on Share selected clips only, and choose Full Quality from the pop-ip menu.


    Once you have saved the stand-alone clip to your hard drive, you can re-import it into your project using the File/Import command, and delete the original long clip/s from the project.

  • bniblick Level 1 (0 points)

    That's a very  helpful explanation.

    Speaking of quicktime,  when I open a 2.16 GB full quality quicktime file in QT 10,  the *movie inspector* in QT tells me that same file is 5.3 GB?  Can you explain the difference in "size" for the same file/project?

  • Klaus1 Level 8 (47,600 points)

    Not off-hand, but there may be some conversion going on.

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 (27,405 points)

    Yes iMovie 6 should keep everything, even after the trash is emptied. The trash will only reduce project size if a clip is moved to the trash and nothing from that clip is used in the project timeline. If any piece of a clip is used, the whole clip is retained and not sent to the trash.


    I haven't dug around in an iMovie 6 project lately, but basically, an iMovie 6 project is a package, meaning it is really a folder containing other (hidden) folders. To see the insides of a project, right-click on the project in the Finder and choose "Show Package Contents."


    Be careful within the package, because you can damage your movie and make it unplayable if you don't know what you are doing.


    But in general, you will see an .iMovieProj file and several folders. This .imovieproj file will contain internal references to the QuickTIme clips in the Media folder.

    The Media Folder in the package contains the QuickTime movies, graphics, and sound files you used in the movie. IF you want to make a copy of a clip, it is most likely to be in here.

    The Shared Movies folder contains things like a reference movie for iDVD, a movie to be sent to GarageBand, and a copy of any movies that you have shared.

    The Cache folder contains  reference movies, plists, and thumbnails for iMovie's internal use. Nothing for you there.

    The Audio Waveforms folder stores graphics for the Audio Waveforms if you use this feature.

  • bniblick Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes, I had looked in *package contents* and  thought that might be part of the source of the large file size. 


    This discussion originated because I was concerned that I was losing a huge amount of quality converting the imovie (25GB) to a "full quality" QT movie (2.16GB). That concerned me because the film will be projected in a large theater at a festival.


    Through this discussion, I have been reassured that the quality has not necessarily suffered in conversion to *full quality* QT  and that a 10-minute SD digital video of "full quality" is commonly about 2 GB.


    Does that sound about right?

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 (27,405 points)

    Yes, and you can get very close to the same quality by converting to h.264 at 1/10 the file size. If your setup at the venue will handle DV, then you can go with the 2GB version. Obviously if you wanted this on the web (like YouTube) you would go with the h.264 version.

  • bniblick Level 1 (0 points)

    Many thanks!