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I would like to move all iMovie (iMove '11) events to a specific folder of an external hard drive. Apple documents a means to do this, but without specifying the folder; iMovie files are created in the root of the mounted drive, in a folder called iMovie Events.localized.

That's great, except my wife would like to do the same thing on the same hard drive. Since we want to keep our media libraries separate, having everything dumped in the same folder would be problematic. I could move everything manually, of course, though warnings abound that iMovie data should be moved only from within iMovie itself. Is there any way to tell iMovie to use a specific folder when moving the iMovie data for projects/events to an external drive?

Note: I tried to mount the appropriate user directory of the external drive as a separate volume using bindfs without success.

[Edit: As per a suggestion in the accepted answer, I am creating a disk image for each iMovie library. Please see the comments in the accepted answer for further details.]

  • I am not clear on your question. Do you want to make 2 copies, one for you and one for your wife. – user44516 Mar 26 '13 at 11:19
  • I would like to have my iMovie data in one folder of the external drive, and my wife's iMovie data in another folder of the same external drive. – Nathan D. Ryan Mar 26 '13 at 11:22
  • For me, iMovie is mostly a convenient means by which to upload data from our video camera. I'd be happy to store the raw video files. For my wife, it's a different story. She uses iMovie more extensively (many projects, etc.). I'd be fine letting her use the default iMovie Events root folder, but for the potential of my corrupting her data by a careless drag-and-drop from within iMovie. I'd much rather have our iMovie data appropriately separated into our respective subfolders hierarchies on the external drive. – Nathan D. Ryan Mar 26 '13 at 11:53
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Since iMovie doesn't have a setting to set a folder inside the drive and stores things at the root of an external drive, you can use folders to segregate projects quite nicely.

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When you open iMovie, just right click on the name of the external drive and make a new folder. Make a second folder and name them for each of you. When you open iMovie, you can collapse her folder and vice versa to avoid having to see all of the projects for the non-active user.

You could also make disk images on the drive and store them anywhere, but that is a bit more tedious for little additional payoff. You would avoid having two folders made at the root of the drive, but at the expense of a more complicated storage layer. The down side is you still have folders at the root of the external drive as well as all the project footage is in subfolders rather than in their own folder.

The remedy for this is to create sparse disk images for each set of projects and mount them before moving content to each "disk". The iMovie visual will be as if you have two drives additional drives even though they are just files/folders on the same drive.


The only warning I have is when you have multiple clips referencing the same footage - avoid moving one and not the other. Moving all the projects to the external would be extremely robust and workable, but iMovie can be a little too aggressive in moving footage to a new drive without checking to see if other projects left behind reference that footage. Luckily, things re-link nicely once you discover the missing footage error and reunite the "left behind" project with it's partner and footage.

  • I've been experimenting with this solution a bit, and I've run into a problem. Folders can be created only for projects, not for events. When I move/copy projects to the external drive, I can pull along all related events, but the events still go directly into the root iMovie Events folder of the external drive. When same-named events from the iMovie data of the different computers are added (by having related projects added), the data of the latter event overwrites the data of the former event. So, I would need to ensure unique event names between the two computers! – Nathan D. Ryan Mar 26 '13 at 12:49
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    I'm accepting the answer for the suggestion to use a disk image. I'm just going to create a large sparse image for each user, save it in the appropriate user hierarchy, and set each computer to automount the respective disk image when the external drive in question is mounted. This will make backups more of a pain, but it gives me some additional portability. – Nathan D. Ryan Mar 26 '13 at 16:05
  • Awesome. If you want to edit that in as the first suggestion - have at it! I figured that would be your last choice, but it gives great flexibility and no mixing / distinct names on the disk images when iMovie shows them as drives attached. – bmike Mar 26 '13 at 17:51

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