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How to use the Space Saver

No doubt about it, the Event Library makes iMovie better in the same way that drawers and cupboards make kitchens better. Having your footage conveniently organized and accessible makes a huge difference in your productivity. The problem with kitchen drawers, though, is the infernal junk drawer. It's never fun to clean out, but who really needs the dead batteries and gum wrappers that fill it up?

The Event Library can get filled up with all kinds of junk: blurry shots, shaking shots, long and boring shots. The problem is that this kind of stuff takes up a lot of space, especially if you are shooting HD. You can get rid of it by rejecting and deleting each individual clip, but this can be time consuming. iMovie, in its wisdom, gives us a faster way: Space Saver.

WARNING: Space Saver risks getting rid of footage you want to keep. Using the junk drawer analogy, it works by picking out the things you want to save then just shoving everything else into the trash. There might be a ten dollar bill or important phone number that you'll never get back. That said, here is how to use the Space Saver.

You'll find the Space Saver in the File menu.

Before you select it, it's important to understand that Space Saver only works on events that you have selected in the Event Library. You can go an event at a time, not unlike going a drawer at a time in your kitchen. Or, you can select multiple events at once and run Space Saver on all of them together.

I realize that my warning may scare you from doing anything with Space Saver, but iMovie actually takes you through a few steps before anything really gets deleted. If you select "Space Saver" from the File menu, you will see this dialog box show up:

What it basically tells you is that Space Saver can delete any footage that:
1) Isn't used in a project,
2) Isn't marked as a favorite, and/or
3) Isn't marked with a keyword.
This essentially means that it will delete any footage that you haven't touched using any of the tools described in this post:

How to use the advanced editing tools

So if you want your footage to be saved from the Space Saver, go read that post and learn how you can make sure the right stuff gets passed over for deletion.

Depending on the criteria you select in the dialog box, iMovie will delete more or less of your footage. After you have click the "Reject and Review" button, it marks all the deletable footage as rejected and changes your view of the Event so that you only see the rejected footage. Click "Move Rejected to Trash" and iMovie cuts out the rejected footage from the event and moves it into the trash in the Finder. This last part of the process works just like the process covered in the post:

How to delete a clip

If you want to undo the Reject marking that Space Saver applied, don't bother unmarking all the footage. Just hit Command-Z, and iMovie undoes what Space Saver did.

Have fun with all that free space!

4 comments: to “ How to use the Space Saver

  • Anonymous
    December 11, 2007 at 8:29 PM  

    Does Imovie '08 includes demo (snowboarding) footage? Or it is available only in Apple stores?

  • Matt
    December 19, 2007 at 4:15 AM  

    Hi Aaron,

    Great blog- explaining the ins and outs of iMovie is no easy task!

    Since this is only on iMovie 08, I'll focus on that- the Event Library, is really a clips library to organise your footage. But what if you could create these events yourself, rather than having iMovie 08 do it for you?

    We've been working in conjunction with Apple on a cool video tagging application that integrates with iMovie 06 and 08 called YourView.

    YourView enables you to tag your footage with icons to create video clips, or events, edit, preview and filter before importing all, or one of them into your iMovie 08 Event Library.

    This gives you a much more sophisticated control over the management of your project, meaning you only edit footage in iMovie 08 that you want to. It saves time on the physical import of video into iMovie 08, and time in the edit.

    I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on what we've been working on...check it out:


    I'll drop you a mail with a bit more information!

    Keep up the good work!


  • bk
    January 12, 2008 at 7:22 AM  

    Hi, Any more coming on this blog? The tips were great! I'm hoping you'll distribute more of these tips for free :-)

  • Anonymous
    February 26, 2008 at 9:28 AM  

    I have made an application to compress your imovie 08 thumbnails (and your movies if you want).

    This addresses the problem of the thumbnails sometimes being bigger than the movie itself when using imovie 08.

    With this simple program you will be able to reduce the size of your events library in several gigabytes.

    This application compresses all the thumbnails with only one click!

    To see it visit http://imovie08compressor.blogspot.com/