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ebrandon_appleuser Level 1 (0 points)

I can't create the iMovie library because there's not enough room on the hard drive.


I have a hard drive that's more than half full with iMovie 9 events.


I can't create an iMovie 10 library on this drive, because there's no room for both the original events and the new library, which would be the same size as the original event.


How do I create an iMovie 10 library on a different hard drive , from the iMovie 9 events on my old hard drive?

MacBook Pro, OS X Mavericks (10.9)

MacBook Pro, OS X Mavericks (10.9)
  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    One method is to firstly move the existing Events and Projects to a larger external drive. It's preferable to "Copy" them to the external drive (rather than "Move"), then delete them from your MacBook Pro (or other older drive, as applicable). See this User Tip by AppleMan1958 for full instructions (note that copying and moving must be done within iMovie, NOT in the Finder):



    After the Events and Projects have been moved to the external drive (by copying and deleting), you can then use the menu command in iMovie 10 (iMovie 2013) - "File > Udate Projects and Events". iMovie 10 should find the relocated Events and Projects on your external drive and update them to the new format. Bear in mind that you will then have two versions of the Events and Projects (occupying approximately double the space). iMovie '11 (version 9) will still be able to access the original Events and Projects, so you can continue to edit the Projects in that version if preferred.


    See these Apple articles for more information about updating Projects and Events:




    Please note that I haven't upgraded to Mavericks as yet. So I'm not able to update at the moment to iMovie 10 to test my suggestion. Possibly there is a command in iMovie 10 that will allow you to create the new library on another drive (but maybe that's wishful thinking!).




    Message was edited by: John Cogdell

  • Michael59 Level 1 (0 points)



    The library file can be created manually by File -> Open Library -> New…iMovie.png

    from there you can select your drive and location.



    I have the issue for the iMovie Theater file, which doesn't fit on my MBA and I couldn't move it so far…

  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    Thanks for that info Michael59. I had a feeling there was a better method from within iMovie 10.



  • ebrandon_appleuser Level 1 (0 points)

    OK -- the answers above didn't really solve the problem, although they are on the right track.


    Once again -- the problem was that I had over 2TB of iMovie 11 "events" on a 4TB drive.  No way to automatically update to an iMovie 10 library because there wasn't enough room on the drive.


    So ... here are the steps I used to solve the problem:


    1 -- bought another 4TB drive

    2 -- changed the name of "iMovie Events" on the OLD DRIVE to "iMovie Eventz" so iMovie 10 wouldn't recognize it

    3 -- created a folder on the new drive called "iMovie Events"

    4 -- copied events from the old drive in 250GB batches into the new "iMovie Events" folder on the new drive

    5 -- opened iMovie 10 and selected File>Update Projects and Events

    6 -- when it's done creating the the iMovie 10 library, delete the old events from the NEW Drive

    7 -- if you have multiple iMovie 10 libraries (you will), drag events from one library into another to copy them there.  Use file>Close Library to close the library you've copied the movies FROM.  Delete that library in the finder.

    8 -- repeat steps 4-7 until all your old events are in a new iMovie 10 library on the new drive.


    It's a pain in the neck, but you only need to do it once and it works.

  • Samhain Apple Level 1 (0 points)

    I think there is more to it than that.


    I have just updated to the new iMovie. I have an iMovie events folder that is 400GB. I have updated to an iMovie 10 library which is now in my Movies folder in addition to the original iMovie events folder and is sized at 390GB. Seeing as my hard drive is only 750GB I am not sure what on earth is going on here as both folders add up to 790GB which can't be possible?


    Does iMovie really create a copy or are they in some way linked or sharing the original files?

  • ebrandon_appleuser Level 1 (0 points)

    This is fascinating, and a really important question.


    Also, the "updating" process is impossibly fast.  I bet the 390GB folder was created much faster than a computer can write 390GB to a hard drive.


    What is going on here?

  • Samhain Apple Level 1 (0 points)

    I thought so too - my updating took a matter of minutes and 390Gb could not have been copied in that time.


    Also Time Machine seems very confused by it and is trying to crate an impossibly large back up.


    I would like to delete the old imovie folder but I'm not willing to do that whilst this remains unexplained.

  • MacProUsers Level 1 (0 points)

    Great discussion....the incredible speed could have to do with the Compressed Memory feature highlighted in the keynote.  With OS X Mavericks, Compressed Memory allows your Mac to free up memory space when you need it most. As your Mac approaches maximum memory capacity, OS X automatically compresses data from inactive apps, making more memory available. This would greatly benefit any task to do with iMovie.


    On the issue of using external HD's I believe this is something Apple will probably address, even if it is in the form of a tutorial video.  iMovie 10 is a complete rewrite, vs previous versions which had none of the compatibility issues.  Some of my movie folders now just have a file which is called 'Currentversion.imovieevent'....the folders themselves do show in iMovie 10 under various libraries (1, 2, 3, etc) but shows no movie clips in them.


    Maybe the answer is to have a good 'video in the cloud' option, where users can scale up the TB's when needed....although that would cost a pretty penny!



  • superhumanity Level 1 (0 points)

    I wanted to chime in on this issue.  Maybe others will find it helpful.  If I understand the premise of the original question correctly, I believe I was in the same situation, but had a much simpler solution:



    I had about 1 TB of iMovie '11 events on an external hard.  My internal drive is not large enough to hold all my iMovie '11 events.

    I upgraded to OS X 10.9 (Mavericks).  iMovie '11 updated to iMovie 10 (BTW Apple, can we stay consistent on the naming convention of iMovie?  Why go from '08, to '09 to '11 back to the actual version number "10"?)

    When I started iMovie it created a new library in /Users/<username>/Movies named "iMovie Library.imovielibrary".  I then imported my first recording from my video camera into iMovie 10.  It imported the movie into the new iMovie Library.  So it appears that if I select "File -> Update Projects and Events", it will attempt to import everything to my internal drive (which will fail due to lack of disk space).


    So the idea is to move the "iMovie Library.imovielibrary" file from the internal drive to the external drive and then open that library from iMovie 10.  Then use this as the primary library file and delete the old file.  Finally, update your projects and events from iMovie '11 to iMovie 10.


    1. Open iMovie 10

    2. Right click on the iMovie Library and select "Reveal in Finder".  Confirm your iMovie library's location (e.g., /Users/<username>/Movies).

    3. Copy your library file to your external hard drive using Finder.

    4. In iMovie select "File -> Open Library -> Other -> Locate" and select the library file on your external hard drive copied in step 3.

    5. In iMovie, move any events from the iMovie library file that may have been imported after the upgrade to iMovie 10 by dragging them to the library on the external hard drive.

    6. In iMovie, right click on the iMovie library you want to remove and select "Remove library".  This will not delete the library from the file system.  It will only remove it from iMovie so future imports will not be copied to your internal hard drive.

    7. Now you need to have iMovie 10  see your iMovie '11 events.  Select "File -> Update Projects and Events".  This will COPY all of your iMovie '11 events into the new iMovie Library file on your external hard drive.  So you will have your original iMovie '11 files and the new iMovie 10 files.  So be sure you have an external hard drive large enough.  To see your new events from within Finder that have been copied into the new iMovie library file, locate the file (again, the same file you located in step 4) and right-click on it and select "Show Package Contents".  You will see a list of your iMovie 10 events.

  • cdj123 Level 1 (10 points)

    Same situation here.  Folder and Library with same sizes (~100GB) but not possible since I don't actually have the harddrive space to accomodate the extra 100GB.  Something strange going on.

  • Scott Shuchart Level 1 (130 points)

    I am pretty sure we are observing a clever (if potentially a little dangerous, and certainly under-documented) use of hard links, as are used to make Time Machine work.


    Here's the canonical explanation of how they work in TM:



    To see for yourself, update some old events, go into Terminal, drill down into the new library and into some event's "Original Media" folder, and execute ls -l. After the permissions string will be a number, probably 2, indicating the file is appearing in two places at once - your old library and the new. That's how you get more files than your disk can hold, and how the library migration was so incredibly fast.


    What I can't understand is why the .mov files down there, deriving from an ancient (pre-iMovie 09) set of events, work fine in iMovie but cannot be quick-viewed, and, when opened in Quicktime, have to be "converted." How are there Quicktime formats that iMovie can play but Quicktime 10 can't?

  • OptifitPT Level 1 (0 points)

    I do not understand number 5.
    I have done the first 4 parts.

  • superhumanity Level 1 (0 points)



    It has been a while since I wrote those instructions, so I'm trying to remember what I meant when I wrote step 5.  :-)


    After re-reading it, step 5 might be unnecessary since all the files were copied over in step 3.  I may have meant to convey that IF you have any events in the uwanted library, be sure to drag those to your new library before removing it (perhaps if a video import from your camera took place between steps 3 and 5).

  • UKBradTheissen Level 1 (0 points)

    I am also concerned that iMovie creates the project on my Boot drive.  My Boot drive is NOT my Data drive.  That, and I want to be able to switch back and forth between my macMini and MacBook Pro- both with Mavericks and both with current iMovie 10.


    Also, I am a new convert to iMovie from FCP 7, no FCP X in the middle.


    So I just created my first project, and sure enough, it saved it on the Boot drive in my Users > Movies folder.  I Q)uit iMovie 10, tthen copied all of the files over to the external as you described above.  Then trashed all of the files created on my Boot drive.


    I double-clicked the new iMovie Library.imovielibrary, iMovie 10 launched with all of my project looking like it did a few minutes before on the Boot drive.


    I go to Users > Movies and iMovie created iMovie Library.imovielibrary and Theater AGAIN, but they are 100kb.


    This is real frustrating, and I do not want to wear out my macMini Boot drive with data!!  Let's hope nothing changes for the worse.


    What a pain that we have to create a new project, Q)uit, copy, then launch it again!!  Hoping that it truly does work on the external drive...

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