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32.9. Project Corruption

Most of the time, iMovie stops people's hearts only with the beauty and magnificence of its creations. Unfortunately, every now and then, it can stop your heart in a much more terrifying way. At some random moment when you least expect it, some iMovie project that you've worked on for days or weeks refuses to open.

How to Save Your Project for Future Generations

OK, I'm done editing my iMovie. How do I back up my project to reclaim the hard drive space?

That's an excellent question. Considering the hours you've probably spent building your masterpiece, preserving a full-quality copy, preferably in editable form, is probably extremely important.

(As you know, exporting the movie to QuickTime, cellphones, the Web, or VHS entails a huge deterioration in video and audio quality. Surprisingly, even burning to DVD involves losing some of the original quality, because the video is stored on the disc in a compressed form.)

In the end, there are only three ways to preserve a movie at its full original quality.

First, you can store it on a hard drive. This method is getting less expensive every day, and offers fast and convenient storage of your entire project. Because you can store your entire project package or folder, you'll be able to re-edit the project next year when iMovie 6 comes out with enhancements you can't resist.

Second, you can use a backup program like Retrospect to copy your project folder onto multiple DVDs (not video DVDs, but DVD-ROMs—like glorified blank CDs). It takes a handful of these blanks to store one hour of video. But this solution is certainly cheap. And in a pinch, you'll be able to reconstruct your entire project folder, with full editing capability.

If the project is small enough to fit on a DVD, you can use the File → Burn Project to Disc command.

Finally, you can send the movie back out to your DV camcorder, as described in Chapter 19. MiniDV tapes have about a 15-year life span, but they store the original video quality, even if you rescue the footage by copying it onto a fresh tape once every 10 years.

You lose the ability to edit your titles and substitute new background music, of course, but you don't lose all editing possibilities. If you ever re-import that movie back to iMovie, most of the clips will still appear as distinct, rearrangeable clips in your Movie Track (because clip boundaries are nothing more than breaks in the originally recorded time code).

(The exception: Clips that you create within iMovie, as opposed to those captured from a camcorder, don't have a time stamp, so they'll re-import as one conjoined clump of scenes.)



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