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iMovie is basically unusable for me at this point. I've got over 1000 video clips (most of them around 6 seconds since they were taken in Vine) and any time I try and switch events or projects it takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes (I've timed it).

I'm frustrated enough at this point to drop the $300 on Final Cut Pro X if that's what it takes to actually be able to do anything with my video files. Anyone know if this will actually address the issue? Is Final Cut Pro X going to be able to handle this amount of video files better than iMovie? I really don't want to spend the money and then have the same problems...

I have a Mac Mini purchased in 2011. 8G RAM. 750GM 7,200RPM HD.

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    not necessarily faster, but way better suited to handle that many clips – Mirco Widmer Aug 15 '13 at 19:08
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    A big factor is probably reading all those large files from that 5400 rpm drive (if you have the default drive). If I had $300 spend it would hard to know if it would be better to get an SSD or FCP. Someone here will prolly know... – AllInOne Aug 15 '13 at 19:25
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    Yes. I've heard different rules of thumb for how much free space you should have (5% - 15%), but you have less than any of them! Can you free up say 80 GB and see if it improves performance? – AllInOne Aug 15 '13 at 22:34
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    I think I've fixed my problem. I had 1000+ movies in iPhoto, and since iMovie just treats them as 1 huge "event" it was trying to open an event with 1000+ movies in it. I exported them all out of iPhoto, moved them to an external HD, separated them out into individual folders and am importing each folder 1 by 1 as a separate event. iMovie is lithe and snappy once again! – cmcculloh Aug 16 '13 at 2:12
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    Awesome! It is totally acceptable, and in fact encouraged, to post your solution as an answer and then accept it. Also if you still want to make that Mini faster and increase total storage capacity, OWC offers a kit that allows you to add a second drive. With and SSD as your boot drive that machine would be a lot faster. – AllInOne Aug 16 '13 at 12:59
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I think I've fixed my problem. I had 1000+ movies in iPhoto, and since iMovie just treats them as 1 huge "event" it was trying to open an event with 1000+ movies in it. My HD only had ~10GB empty. I exported them all out of iPhoto, moved them to an external HD, separated them out into individual folders and imported each folder 1 by 1 as a separate event, keeping the files stored on my external HD. I've now got my 3 years of video files all imported and have created 3 different projects which I've taken to completion and posted to Youtube. iMovie is lithe and snappy once again!

So, tips for speeding up iMovie:

  1. Free up HD space so you have >10~15% free
  2. Make sure your events don't have too many video files in them (anything over 50 is getting close to the upper limit it seems)
  3. Consider an external HD, preferably SSD (You can use multiple drives to hold your "events". You're not just limited to your primary HD)

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