iMovie '09: Slow performance when exporting video

iMovie may seem to export video projects more slowly than expected.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

There can be many factors that influence the exporting and rendering process in iMovie. The following may account for any perceived performance issues:

  1. How large is the video project that is being exported? It usually takes 1.5 to 2 times the playback time of the project to render and encode during the export.
  2. How many applications are currently open during the export process? The more applications that are running the longer the time it will take to export; it is a good idea to close any unnecessary programs during the export or burning process.
  3. Is the project on an external hard drive? Data stored on an external hard drive will export more slowly than data stored on an internal hard drive if the connection to the external device isn't as fast as SATA.
  4. What is the format of the the video project? High Definition video will take longer to render and encode than Standard Definition footage.
  5. How many clips, titles, transitions, and effects are in the project? Large numbers of clips, titles, transitions, and effects can increase the amount of time to compile and export the video project.
  6. How much hard drive space is available? At least 10 GB of available free space (on the drive your operating system is installed on) will allow your computer to run at optimal speed.
    • For best results, if the hard drive your project is stored on is very full, you should create at least enough free space to account for twice the size of the video project you are exporting.

If none of these conditions exist or account for the slow performance when exporting, you may need to use Disk Utility's Repair Disk feature. See the following articles for more information:

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