- Clam-Shell iBooks Incompatible
- Reverting to iMovie 2.1.x
- Performance woes, suggestions
- Date bug
- Making iMovie default to PAL or NTSC
- Video splitting time synchronization problems
- Formac/Sony converter box issues, solutions
- Localized String Missing
- iMovie 2 titles; font holdovers
- Miscellaneous:Letterbox Effect Bug; more
As we wade through the reported problems, it is important to remember that some problems are specific to certain system configurations, and that repairing permissions using Apple's Disk Utility is always a good idea after applying a significant software update.
iMovie 3.0.x's 1024x768 minimum video resolution requirement bars it from running on "clam-shell" iBooks - including original iBook (Blueberry, Tangerine, or Graphite) and the iBook FireWire (Indigo, Key Lime, and Graphite.).
MacFixIt reader Ian Parkinson writes:
"There is a big problem for Firewire clam shell iBooks (I have an Indigo model). iMovie will no longer run on these machines. iMovie 3 requires a screen that will support 1024 x 768 (these iBooks have 800 x 600), and unless you have it will not start up, you just get a message telling you to change to a higher resolution."
Parkinson received a boxed copy of iLife from the Apple Store UK.
iMovie previously carried a minimum resolution requirement of 800x600 - matching the "clam-shell" iBooks' maximum. 640x480 resolutions could not be used.
Apple's iLife System Requirements state simply: Power Mac G3 or G4, iMac, eMac, iBook, or PowerBook G3 or G4; 256MB of memory; Mac OS X v10.1.5 or later (Mac OS X v10.2.2 or later recommended); 2GB disk space required to install iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD (Apple SuperDrive required for iDVD) or 250MB disk space to install iTunes, iPhoto, and iMovie only.
The only releases available for standalone download are Mac OS 9-only. In order to re-install iMovie 2.1.2 for Mac OS X, you'll need to use the Software Restore CDs that came with your system, or the Mac OS X 10.2 CD. And these installation methods will not allow you to install only iMovie. You will need to reapply the entire installation.
One option for restoring iMovie 2.1.2 seems to be locating another Mac OS X system with the older version still intact and simply copying the application.
Several readers note that iMovie 2.1.1 is available on the Apple iDisk (if you have a .Mac account) at iDisk:Software:Apple Software. Unfortunately, readers are reporting problems applying this update after installing iMovie 3.0.1, including unexpected quits and inability to launch from the old release.
For those of you who do not have a .Mac account (iMovie 2 can be pulled from the iDisk), and did not keep an old copy of iMovie on hand, the shareware utility Pacifist can be used to extract iMovie 2.1.x from your original Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) CD, and then installed as a separate package.
The most widely reported and lamented issue with iMovie 3.0.1 is poor performance. Owners of virtually the full gamut of Mac models report sluggish performance in some areas, where iMovie 2 performed respectably.
A particular area of concern is the Ken Burns effect:
"After fooling around with the 'Ken Burns' effect I gave it a whirl. Much to my disappointment, this feature can't compete with the amazing and speedy shareware app, Photo to Movie. It's just too slow, Apple."
Other readers note that, as is to be expected, having the movie playback window at too large a size can seriously degrade performance. But the same readers report much improved performance when using the older iMovie 2 at the same sizes:
"While playing around with iMovie 3, the video was stuttering and the audio was skipping during the playing of clips. I noticed that I had increased the size of the window, as I have a large monitor. As soon as I re-sized the window down to its smallest size, all my playback problems went away. I edited a movie for 3 hours afterwards, without any more problems."
Hiding the dock for performance boost Tim Rosencrans reports that hiding the dock can cause iMovie to stop automatically re-sizing its main window, eliminating some performance bottlenecks:
"I noticed that iMovie would resize itself automatically to prevent itself from being under the dock so on a hunch I turned on dock hiding so it would remain normal size. Interface problems are gone and responsiveness is greatly improved. It seems that even though the window can be sized smaller doing so throws a monkey wrench into the works."
Old QuickTime plug-insIn at least some cases, the presence of old QuickTime plug-ins may be the root of performance issues with iMovie 3.0.1. It should be noted that iMovie 3.0.1 requires QuickTime 6.1 - if you don't have it, sorted problems in iMovie can occur.
Christopher Erickson offers a simple process for removing any old QuickTime plug-ins: "After the QT 6.1 install, verify that /Library/Internet Plug-Ins contains the QT 6.1 Plugin. Check and remove any other QT plug-ins from /username/Library/Internet Plug-Ins. Restart. Launch iMovie and test performance."
Processor hogging Based on some independent reader testing, it appears that for some users, iMovie 3.0.1 is more than a little liberal with its processor usage. Bob Rodenburg did some extensive comparison between iMovie 2 and 3, and came up with the following results:
"I've got a Blue and White G3 at 400 MHz with 384 MB RAM, and on my Mac iMovie 3 uses 80 - 90 percent of the CPU when running. iMovie 2 uses 2 - 3 percent at the same tasks. iMovie 3 is very jerky, controls my camcorder in a haphazard and unsatisfactory way, with mostly unresponsive controls on the screen. iMovie 2 controls my camcorder much better, with virtually instant response when I stop, start playback, rewind or fast forward. The camcorder mechanical response is the limiting factor in iMovie 2. The fact that iMovie 3 appears to consume the CPU may explain a lot of the complaints made since it was introduced."
Long movie times and performance From the hundreds of iMovie complaints we have received, one consistent factor in sluggish performance seems to be the length of the movie. Longer files seem to degrade performance sharply.
Steve Finlay writes:
"I was also having problems with the play head moving a good 5 seconds after hitting the space bar, the program pausing with a beach ball every time I save file, or do an edit on a clip. After reading the various reports coming in I realized that no users were documenting the length of their iMovie projects. Mine is over 1 1/2 hours long in the rough edit stage. I then tried loading a 12 minute movie and... Voila! The thing works like it should. No more sluggish performance, nearly as fast as 2.2."
"iMovie 3.0.1 has a bug such that the time code of a given DV clip matches the time the DV was imported, not the time the DV was originally recorded. Thus, there is no way within iMovie to find out when the original video was shot. That information appears to be lost.
"This makes iMovie 3.0.1 useless to those of us who rely on such time stamp information for one reason or another."
MacFixIt reader Cliff Mould offers a tip for making iMovie default to the PAL video format rather than the standard NTSC.
"Control-click on iMovie and show package contents. Navigate to Contents/Resources/English.lproj. Then drag Localizable.strings file to TextEdit
"Find 'NTSC' you should find the line 'Default to PAL or NTSC' and change the value to 'PAL'"
Developer MacParc has released a small program called iMovieVSS (listed in the Utilities Updates section below), that allows easy switching between the default video standard settings in iMovie - NTSC and PAL. The new release, 1.1b, has German and French localization, as well as some new menu commands.
iMovie seems to have a problem synchronizing the two pieces of video that are created when using the "split functionality." Generally the application actually splits it a second or so before the designated point.
Using the arrow keys then splitting does split at the correct position, but as many readers note, it's usually hard to find the desired spot without audio and in slow motion. This problem also seems to occur more when using the PAL video format.John Fieber lets us know how to workaround the default error:
"The issues here is that when you stop playback by pressing the space bar, the frame displayed is where the video was playing when you pressed the space bar, but the playhead is pointing at a different frame. Pressing the left, then right arrow (or vice versa) will show the frame where the playhead is actually positioned. In a series of trials I found that the playhead was positioned as far as 20 frames from frame where I stopped the playback."
Another audio synchronization workaround Manfred Zorn offers another workaround for the audio synchronization problems that are exhibited in many iMovie 3.0.1 processes.
In Zorn's case, the audio synchronization problem happened when attempting to write back to a digital video camcorder. His workaround involves extracting the audio clips so they are rest to the original start point, and then re-joining them with the video stream.
"I had serious problems with iMovie 3 and iDVD 3. In iMovie 3 writing the movie back out to the DV camcorder results in drifting audio or sometimes complete dropouts, e.g., audio and video seem to start at different times. I wasted two DVDs where the audio lags about 2 seconds behind the video.
"As an experiment, I extracted the audio of all my clips in the final movie and wrote it to DV. After all the editing was done, I selected all the movie clips in the time-line, and selected "Extract audio" from the "Advanced" menu. It takes a while to extract all audio from all clips, but the resulting audio clips are locked at the original start time-code. I then unselected the audio track from the original movie clips just to be on the safe side."
"When trying to export a movie from iMovie 3 I get an error stating that there is no camera attached, I am trying to export the movie through the Sony Media Converter box (DVMC-DA2). The import through the converter box works fine."
MacFixIt reader Robert Beck offers another simple simple workaround that works, in some cases, for users having difficulty with the Sony iLink Media Converter:
"If you launch iMovie with the camera off, the import button is shaded but by quitting iMovie 3.0.1 and launching it again, the import button is then blue. The camera must be on and set to VTR when you launch iMovie, not the other way around."
The Formac Studio DV Pro A/D converter box also initially ceased proper functioning under iMovie 3.0.1, with users also unable to launch the Studio TVR x.2 v1.1 application. Formac has now released a fix for the problem.
Depending on the installed EPROM version, the fix can be a free software download. However, EPROM versions earlier than 1.06 will require returning the unit for a $49 upgrade.
The company's support page states:
"Formac's new release of the Studio TVR software features a special iMovie 3 preference, adjusting the audio and video settings of the Studio dv/tv for optimal recording quality in iMovie 3. The settings are automatically activated every time iMovie 3 is launched. Additionally, the Studio TVR software includes a special iMovie remote control, allowing you to select TV channels and video sources directly in iMovie. You can now watch, record and edit TV directly in Apple's video editing application.
"The second software release, Formac's new Audiomaster software, allows you to record audio from any analog source into high-quality DV audio format. The software provides three digital audio modes, allowing you to determine the quality of audio by adjusting bit rate and sample resolution. Standard setting for the DV audio is 32 Khz at 12 bit. Additionally, you can choose between two high-quality settings: 44.1 Khz and 48 Khz at 16bit. Audio recorded with Formac's Audiomaster software can be imported directly into iTunes and converted to MP3."
For more information, or to order the upgrade, visit Formac's site.
Several readers have reported receiving the message "There is a problem with the file PlugIn Localized.rsrc." If you get this message, try re-installing iMovie 3.0.1, or re-applying the Mac OS X 10.2.3 combo updater. Patrick Monnier offers a workaround:
"I went in my iMovie folder (~/Library/) and then in the 'Plug-ins' folder. Once there, I move each elements out, restart iMovie and move back in when iMovie send me the same message... Until I found a element that when I moved out, iMovie stop telling me about the localized string: the 'Toast Video CD Export.'"
When opening iMovie projects created with version 2 that have title clips clicking on/viewing the title clip will cause iMovie 3.0.1 to unexpectedly quit.
Font holdovers from iMovie 2 can cause problems MacFixIt reader Dennis Wolf offers a simple workaround for title issues, identifying the culprit as old fonts leftover from iMovie 2:
"After some digging around I noticed that the font I was using in the iMovie 2 project (Arial Black) did not exist in the iMovie 3 font list. I used a text editor to replace occurrences of "Arial Black" with "Arial Black Regular" and then reopened the project in iMovie 3. Now it works fine."
Letterbox effect bug Mike Harrison reports a bug with the Letterbox function in iMovie 3.0.1:
"When applying the letterbox effect to the first clip in a series of clips, the clip 'vanishes' and never applies the letterbox filter. Once you click in the timeline field, the clip re-appears unaffected or the program quits unexpectedly. I can duplicate this with multiple projects and clips."
Visual effects equal audio dampening? Scott Rose reports that under some circumstances, if you apply a visual effect to a clip (such as changing a clip's brightness/contrast), it actually dampens the volume on that clip and makes that clip much quieter.
"You can't see the change in volume when you look at the clip in the timeline (it still says 100 percent for volume, for example), but it actually does play quieter. Applying visual effects should have no effect on the volume of a clip, and they did not effect the volume in iMovie 2."
Problems exporting Several readers corroborate that while playing a finished clip in iMovie 3.0.1 works properly, exporting the movie in QuickTime format results in audio mis-matches and other problems. Gfeller Andreas writes:
"The film starts with an audio track that belongs to a clip later in the film, mixed with a third audio track. [...] When playing the film inside iMovie 3, audio and video is always correct."Resources