If iMovie '08 crashes…

You can try bothering with the preferences files, or the codecs, or the color profiles, as the forums tell you to do, or you can do the following:

  1. Go to your home folder > Movies > iMovie Events. Locate the folder with the last clips you imported. Delete the iMovie Cache and iMovie Thumbnails folders.
  2. Restart iMovie. For most of you, that’s all you’ll need to do.
  3. If it still crashes, that means one or more of the actual clips themselves weren’t closed properly by the video camera (perhaps you ran out of battery, space on the card, etc.). Open them up in Quicktime (if you have Quicktime Pro) or some other application (like the software that came with the camera) and snip 1-2 seconds off the end of each clip. Save them, then delete the iMovie Cache and iMovie Thumbnails folders (in case iMovie re-created them).
  4. Now restart iMovie. It should work fine now.

A few words to explain some things:

  • If a movie clip doesn’t open at all from the Finder, then it is corrupted. Perhaps only its header is messed up for some reason. At any rate, I have not yet found software that will fix those movie clips. I searched enough, and only found spyware that promises to do it.
  • If a movie clip opens and plays fine in Quicktime, but iMovie crashes when trying to import it, then its ending is corrupted, as explained in step #3 above. Cutting 1-2 seconds off the end of the clip in some software other than iMovie will restore its ending and let you import it without crashes in iMovie.
  • The method I described above has worked reliably for me on three occasions now, and this is after I wasted hours on the phone with Apple Support. It only occurred to them to let me re-import video clips after having me try all of that other stuff, including a re-install of iMovie ’08 and also the creation of a new account to see if the problems re-occur there. Pointless. I say go to the root of the problem and take care of it right away, don’t beat around the bush.

Hope this helps you too.


11 thoughts on “If iMovie '08 crashes…

  1. hi, my imovie ’08 crashes whenever i try to export my project. I tried exporting to quicktime movie or just export it on itself…and still crash in the middle of the way. I tried deleting the files as you mentioned earlier..still happening! my project doesnt not contain any video clips, just pictures & audio. please help!

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  2. I am using iMovie 09, but same thing happens. I deleted the folders as advised, but still only plays the audio. As a test I started a new event and dragged a clip up, same thing- only sound. Can’t play previous projects I created either. hmmm.

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    1. When I delete the cache, then open another file- it plays. When I attempt to open that bad file, THEN other files, nothing plays. I think I better delete the cache then start the project from scratch again.
      g

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    1. I don’t think it’ll hurt the actual videos. iMovie will just regenerate the cache and thumbnails the next time you start it up. But just to be on the safe side, make sure you’ve backed up through Time Machine first.

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  3. You’re a genius. I’ve been trying for over a year to figure out how to fix the problem. I’m so glad I found this. THANK YOU!!!

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  4. I have a simmilar issue on a project I need to turn in 3 days. My movie was complete, is stored in an external disk. It opened perfectly but now I opened the project and 60% of the clips are not playing anymore. I opened the package and they are there but Imovie simply won’t open them. Quicktime does.The audio plays too but not the images. What do you suggest I do?
    Should I unplug the external drive and erase all the files from my Imovie and then plug it again and try to open it?
    Should I erase the Imovie cache?
    Please help me!!! I’ve been working non-sleep on this project for weeks!

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    1. Carmen, the only things I can suggest you do are what I’ve already said in the article. If you’ve tried all the steps I detailed above and iMovie still isn’t working, then please call Apple Support. That would be your wisest option. Don’t go deleting original movie files.

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