Tuesday, June 8, 2010

iMovie event library on a network drive, NAS

I was shocked to find that iMovie '09 would not allow storing event libraries on networked disks. The AFP volume would show up, but remain non-functional with a yellow exclamation sign.

There are plenty of instructions for hacking around the limitation with clumsy symbolic links. I discovered a much simpler approach, using an undocumented (?) setting built right into iMovie:"Allow Network Volumes".

Use at your own risk, try the following command in Terminal

defaults write -app iMovie allowNV -bool true


55 comments:

  1. Thanks a lot for this! This is exactly what I was looking for but also only found the symlink workarounds.
    But may I ask how did you discovered it?

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  2. Thank you for this. I thought I was going mad when I upgraded. Quick tap-a-tap in Terminal and there's all my clips back!

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  3. Do you need to have the iMovie "events" and "projects" stored on the root of the Network Volume ? The Volume is showing up, but I am not seeing how one browses to where my footages are stored.

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  4. Damon, the folders need to be at root of the volume. I think I used iMovie to move my footage from local volume to a network volume.

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  5. Thanks yes this works well on my iMac. I guess Apple doesn't allow this by default to avoid issues because of slow networks. Next week I will uprade to iMovie '11 hope this trick will still work.

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  6. Thank you very much for sharing this. Works great.

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  7. This doesnt work on iMovie 2011, any workaround?

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  8. lukegt, I don't have iMovie '11 yet. Thanks for the heads up.

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  9. Just tried it on iMovie 11 and it actually worked just fine!

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  10. Wooo!! This is great. Thanks so much. Can now be anywhere in my apt without being tied down to a firewire and external HD.

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  11. Tried it and it didn't work. As I'm new to the Mac world any help would be great. I do have a lot of HD video and would love to start using iMovie more, but it keeps filling my hard drive. I have attached an external drive but I get the yellow exclamation sign.
    Thanks in advance

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  12. Well, this might save me a whole heap of time. But I need to know: has anyone tested it with having more than one person editing different projects in the projects folder? iMovie opens and lists all projects/events so there's a potential for two users to edit the same project - which would likely lead to data corruption. But if we were careful, could we go ahead and edit separate projects??? We are a team of three and we shoot a lot if weddings and events and use an expensive San shared storage and feet fast connections. iMovie is by far the fastest editor for events but it slows us down having to transfer each event to whichever mac it will be edited on; and then it's stuck there until completion. Your suggestion could save us HOURS but I'm worried about corruption. Anyone know?

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  13. James, I have not tried sharing a network volume with another iMovie user.

    If sharing doesn't work, could you export multiple volumes from the same server and only mount each of them on one workstation at a time.

    If done right, this is less likely to corrupt data and unmounting/mounting volumes is faster than copying files over network or even moving external drives around.

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  14. puffin, what do you mean by "export a volume"? Hope to hear back from you. This is the missing link for me.

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  15. James, I'm using a Linux server with netatalk daemon to provide the network volumes for Macs on the LAN.
    There I can configure specific directories to be visible as Apple network volumes.

    If you are using a commercial NAS, see if its configuration allows something similar. Or simply buy more of those boxes.

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  16. Thanks a lot I was looking for an easy solution for the long time and yours is just the best.

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  17. It worked for me, the network drive shows up with all the events but it doesn't play smoothly. (I have a HDD connected to time capsule)
    in IMovies the movie stops and goes on again etc. I guess the wireless network is not fast enough. Any ideas how this could be improved. Do the events play nicely from your network drive? Thanks

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  18. Works great on iMovie 09,Thanks!!! To maintain the event/clip history, I had to create a sparsebundle (HFS+ Journaled) on my NAS drive. I also found changing the Boolean operator from true to false will cancel the original command Puffin gave us (just in case you have multiple users on your Mac). I also experienced the slowness of play-back from the NAS drive, actually not practical for editing, so I drop&drag events and projects from NAS drive to local for editing and playback.

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  19. Works great on iMovie '11 for me. Too bad this isn't part of the secrets app!

    Great find. Thanks!

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  20. You are seriously the "iMovie+NAS man"! I specifically bought a $800 Buffalo NAS for storing and sharing my HD video and fired up iMovie to find I couldn't access it... As one poster said "tap-a-tap" et voila!

    I would also ask though how/where on Earth you found this undocument option? Are there other undocumented options that might help us?

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  21. it worked great!!! the best way to create the file you will use on your NAS is drag from your local drive to your NAS, it will automatically create the iMovie Events file, then you can copy your new videos there.

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  22. In Event Library, I can already see the drive icons for my NAS. When I click on them, nothing happens and no files/folders appear.

    I entered your command into Terminal.

    I tried clicking on my drive icons again and no difference.

    Am I missing a step?

    The drive icons are small and there is a tiny red pixel near the corner of the drive icons. Does this mean anything?

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  23. Hi guys, Worked great for me on different mac's... Upgraded 2 of them to MAC OS X Lion.
    After that, it stopped...

    Anybody else has the same experience? Real shame if the upgrade would have stopped this feature.
    I can enter the command without errors..drives don't pop up...

    Any advice?

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  24. Same here!

    Anyone? Solution please??

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  25. Apple is going for the € now in the app world as well I would think.....
    http://trick77.com/2011/07/15/about-os-x-lion-nas-time-machine-compatibility-netatalk-gpl-violations/

    Workaround (still need to test myself) to go around the authentication issue...

    http://www.ulrikchristensen.com/2011/07/mac-os-x-lion-connection-error-with-afp/

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  26. the ulrik christensen url does not get TM to work...
    If the problem is related to Authentication this helps...

    sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.AppleShareClient afpdisableduams -array "Cleartxt Passwrd"

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  27. I entered the command without error and even when I do a 'defaults read' I can see the entry, but my network drives still have the Bang/Triangle on them. Is a reboot required for the change to take effect? I quit iMovie and restarted it, but that didn't change anything.

    Any thoughts? BTW, I am running iMovie '11 on 10.6.8.

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  28. As long as I was on 10.6.X it worked fine.
    On Lion I can't get it to work. Any hint appreciated?

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  29. workaround
    http://charlestendell.com/os-x-lion-afp-nas-connection-error-fix/

    brought my afp shares back, still need to workout TM and iMovie though...
    need to run, wanted to share this quickly..

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  30. since my update to Lion i don't even see my external drives anymore in iMovie, so not even a triangle for me...
    TM is running fine though?!

    (i have a drobo fs connected to my airport extreme)

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  31. Well, I just did this, typed the command into Terminal, moved the iMovie Events to the root folder in my WD World Book Edition II instead of in the Shared Videos folder I had it earlier. I then created an alias and replaced the iMovie Events in my hd\Movies folder with the alias. I'm not sure I had to do that, but did it anyway. I wasn't having any success after restarting iMovie. Then, restarted the computer, fired up iMovie, got my usual 3 or 4 can't find the network drive (ever since I made my own Ubuntu server a few months ago then shut that down to run my WD NAS, I have been getting that as many of my videos were already stored on the network) and now it is "Processing event" and optimizing movies. I think I'm going to call this success and call it a night. Thanks for the Terminal command. It worked great. Actually I still get some of those "can't find the server" error messages, but I'm still working on those. One of these days I'll find a solution for it.

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  32. As a quick update...I think the creating an alias and replacing the original iMovie Events with the alias from the NAS was the key. Now, in my iMovie Event Library I have my two NAS drives show up, but no events... They are all listed under the Macintosh HD without really being there. The whole idea of saving all media to the NAS was for backup and a faster MAC (more empty space on the hard drive). I'd say success for now.

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  33. I'm a novice at this, and have tried to follow the directions, but with no luck. Any advice would be appreciated.

    I'm running an iMac on OS X 10.6.7 and I have a Time Capsule networked to it. I'd like to move iMovie files to it to free up space on my iMac. The drive shows in iMovie with the famous yellow triangle. I opened Terminal and typed in the recommended command, but it did not help. I've restarted, rebooted the Time Capsule, everything I could think of - but nothing.

    Advice for a novice?

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  34. I'm running Lion and '11. I used to see my external drive on '11 on Snow Leopards and '09 on Snow Leopards. But since Lion I don't even see my network drive on Event Library let alone an clips.

    I tried the command line, upgrade my netatalk to 2.2.1. etc.. But no luck so far.

    Thanks in advance for help...

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  35. Works like a charm!

    I connected my Book World II directly with an ethernet cable to my iMac11,1 model. Did the command syntax in terminal, started iMovie 11, saw the Public drive, this time without yellow warning symbol, Moved one Event folder to it and it works like a charm!

    Tx!

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  36. I am using a drobo fs - used the defaults write -app iMovie allowNV -bool true
    command in Terminal - the shares from the drobo fs show, but it is not accessing the events stored there.
    any ideas on how to fix this?

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  37. Hi, I used the command and the advice above and I can now see my events on my share, but for some reason I can no longer import video. How do I remove the command to ensure it is not causing the problem.

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  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  39. Worked great. Make sure you pay attention to capitol letters in the script. I'm a rookie so i missed that little detail the first time around.

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  40. I have this same problem. I am a novice and I do not understand how to do this. Do you have instructions listed somewhere? I do not even understand when you say try this command in Terminal. This would be a huge help.

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    1. I figured it out. But how would I delete the command if I want to?

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  41. this worked a treat for me ...

    FCPX, any idea how to get it to work in this ?

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  42. Worked perfect. (netgear ultra 4 and mac mini, iMovie11)

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  43. Beauty!! Thanks for lending your genius to the rest of us! FYI I didn't pay close enough attention to the command when I first read it. Note the part of the command -bool the last letter is an l not a t. I saw it and my mind read boot.

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  44. Has anyone tried this approach on Mountain Lion?

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  45. Awesome. Spent all day hacking away, and then just did some proper googling and voila!

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  46. I got a new imac yesterday and opened imovie and automatically, without my doing a single thing it found my Synology Diskstation NAS where I had an old folder labeled "imovie events" that I had moved there just for long-term backup storage of raw video footage. Now the entire terabyte of video is listed as events in imovie. I actually wish imovie DIDN'T recognize this NAS drive since its only there for storage purposes. But I guess keeping the folder name as imovie events allowed imovie to search for it even in my NAS drives and use it all.

    But, when I plug my sony camcorder into the imac and import video it is deposited into an "imovie events" folder under the regular movie folder on the macintosh HD. BUT I had the option to record it all to the same NAS drive. The NAS is 6 Tb and the imac is 3Tb so I have enough space just to keep it all on the imac or now.

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  47. Hi there - where do I find 'terminal' to write this code in. Desperate to apply this - my wife wants to make a movie!!!!

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    1. Dennis, "Terminal" can be found in the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder. Double click on the Terminal icon and it should bring up your user name with a "$" sign after it. Copy and paste Cary's code on to the line after the $ sign. Then hit the Return key. Exit the Terminal application and start iMovie. It should recognize your network attached drives (at least it worked for me).

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  48. Great work for me, almost 3 years since your post.

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  49. Is there a way to undo this command in terminal? A would like to undo this command for my time capsule, but not for my external hard drive that is connect to time machine.

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    Replies
    1. Would
      defaults write -app iMovie allowNV -bool false
      work for you?

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  50. Puffin, Thank you so much! I was beginning to despair until I found your work around. May the force be with you!

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  51. Hi there, any idea how to get this work around working in the latest version of iMovie (2013)? I bought my MacBook Pro in December 2013 and have a Time Capsule. It will not store any media files from my iMovie.

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