I have a vintage 2009 iMovie project (.rcproject) I rescued from an old Time Machine backup, and I'm trying to open it in iMovie 10 under Yosemite. It's large enough that I'm pretty sure it does actually have the video in it.

Unfortunately there's no just "open a file" option and everything I can find on line about the '09 -> 10 transition is about upgrading your iMovie "library". I haven't got a library, just one .rcproject file. How do I convince iMovie 10 this is something it can upgrade / open?

(Additional info: I do have iMovie 9.0.9 on this machine, but under Yosemite it refuses to launch.)

1 Answer 1


In iMovie 09 an RCProject file is a binary text file which contains instructions and references to the actual video material. The actual video clips are stored in an Event folder. Check to see if you still have your Event folders. The clips would be in there.

You mention that your RCProject file is large. This probably means that you rendered your finished movies. iMovie saved the "Media Browser" copy in the rcproject file so it doesn't have to render it again unless you make a change.

So open your RCProject file and navigate to the Movies folder. Any completed movies would be in there.

To open the RCProject, right click on it in the Finder and select SHOW PACKAGE CONTENTS.

One more thing: If you do find the Event folder to go with the RCProject folder, iMovie is finicky about where these files are located.

Put the RCProject file in the Movies/iMovie Projects/ folder. Put the Event in the Movies/iMovie Events/ folder.

With these in place, there is a chance that iMovie 10 will see them. However, I am not sure if you have to convert to iMovie 11 (which is version 9) first. Both iMovie 9 and iMovie 11 use the RCProject format. The current iMovie is called iMovie (no year) and is Version 10. It uses a scheme more like Final Cut Pro, so everything is in an Event folder, including any projects relating to that event.

  • Found the rendered movie in MyProject.rcproject/Movies/medium.m4v. Thanks! Jan 3, 2015 at 0:40
  • After right-clicking on a RCProject -- I'm not much closer to being able to continue the iMovie project. What am I missing here?
    – esaruoho
    Dec 2, 2019 at 17:30

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