to commonly asked questions.


What alternatives to iMovie can you recommend?

We tried to download Final Cut Pro on our Mac Book but were unsuccessful. Is there a way to do it? Or can you recommend another video editing program for her Mac Book that would be an upgrade from iMovie?

Can you tell me of some good alternatives to iMovie?

Final Cut is available only through the Mac App Store. You can find the App store in the applications folder on your Mac. It is possible that the version of the operating system you have installed on your computer may be older than what Final Cut currently requires. The Mac App Store will tell you if this is the case prior to purchasing.

If you'd rather go with a different option, Adobe Premier Elements is a good alternative and is less expensive. There's also a free trial available.

Davinci Resolve has a free version as well that's worth checking out.

How do I convert my miniDV library to iMovie?

Do you recommend a product to transfer old Mini DV tapes to a Mac as an iMovie file?

Your old camera may have an old type of output cable that will connect to the computer like USB or FireWire. If it does, stop. You don't need anything. Just plug the camera in via that cable. Open iMovie. Choose to import media and select the source as your external camera. You might have to put the camera into some sort of exporting mode. However, there is a chance are that your old miniDV camera may not be recognized by iMovie. So instead proceed ahead…

What you'll need is a physical device that will act as a transcoder of sorts. It's called an "analog to digital converter". This box will sit in between your old camera that can play the tapes and the computer. Here's a popular one I've had success with in the past.

Elgato Video Capture
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There are others on the market that look and act similarly.

Lastly, keep in mind that if you're importing a great deal of hours of footage, your internal hard drive may be too small to hold that much data. You may want to consider using an external hard drive to store the movie files. iMovie will allow you to choose where the imported media will live.

Video into iMovie from DVD

Can you help us? Our hope is to put together an iMovie of old movies and pictures for a gift. We already have converted old movies on Costco DVDs and but the files are saved as “unix executable” files (.VOB, .IFO, .BUP). When I try to pull the files, it says the files are “unreadable.” The videos play but I want to pull them into iMovie and it won’t let me. Would this be something you can help with? 

Most likely, when you had costco burn video to a DVD (probably from tape like VHS or something older like that) they made an actual DVD and not just video files stored on a DVD disc. This shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll need some special software designed to rip the video content from the DVD. If you’d like, you can check out Handbrake and try to do it yourself first. Handbrake should be able to convert the DVD video content into something usuable the iMovie can then take to edit like .mov, .mp4 etc...

Keep in mind, the ripping process (taking video off a DVD) can be quiet long so we may only walk through the process for you to then be left to do the homework of ripping all the costco dvd content yourself.  Then maybe I return at a later date to assist with the actual iMovie editing portion.  

iMovie uploads to youtube, sometimes.

Hi Scotty. I turned on my Mac Pro this morning, only to have the thing totally freeze up. The only thing moving is the multi colored round ball/wheel. Can't even turn it off.

Any suggestions?

First, hold the power button down to force it to shut down then restart.  If it does the same thing again, force it aff once again then unplug everything attached to it except for the mouse/keyboard.  If the unit still does not boot then it's one of two problems.  Hardware or software.  The LARGE majority of time, it's a bad hard drive.  I can take care of it if you need.

Moving iMovie projects to DVDs.

Hey - the new software update broke our Letterbox plug-in. Do you have a trusted source for a fix yet for the latest update? 10.6.7

Here you go: He’s the creator of the letterbox plugin. Apple is always breaking it and he’s always fixing it.

Panasonic HDC-TM700 with iMovie?

I am having two different issues. One how do I get the snow leo. mac osx 10.6. Then I am having the same problem with Imail nothing to do with addresses, things just will not go out. So I am using all the other email s.  anything you can suggest. Also the I pad is doing funny things. The typing is out of sync and also it will just in mid sentence drop down into another line.

First issue: To acquire Snow Leopard, the easiest thing to do is to purchase it for $29 at the Apple Store, Best Buy or on It is not available as a download. It must be purchased on a DVD.

With the mail not sending, it sounds like there may be a problem with your outgoing mail server settings. Since you have many email addresses it is a problem more easily handled in person.

Last issue: One possibility could be that your hand is physically making contact with the iPad screen therefore causing the cursor placement to jump to a different area. If you feel this is not the case, then you may want to restart your iPad by holding both the home button and the sleep button up top until you see the red slider. Slide it then after the iPad goes off you can hold the sleep button up top to start it back up again.

Cameras that work with iMovie


   I have 2 different WD Passport external hard drives that I cannot get my computers (desktop and laptop) to recognize.  I have used these external hard drives for a while in the past to store files; except now all of a sudden they are not picked up by my computers.
Any solutions?



As I always say...every hard drive dies. But not two at the same time. There must be another explanation. I would suggest fist try connecting them to other Macs to see if that may work. If they don’t then the drives are the problem. If they do connect then we go back to the other computer. Once you connect them to the other computer, open a program called “disk utility” in the utilities folder inside the applications folder. You can also spotlight search for it. Disk Utility should give you the option to manually mount the drives if they are anywhere close to available. Give that a try.

iDVD produced a blurry DVD

Hi Scott,  you evaluated our home service a few week back and found our windstream server to be a little slow.  We are thinking of changing over to Time Warner, but  I just hear about Clear WiMax.   Is that something we should consider??


I have to say currently have zero clients in Charlotte and the surrounding area that have the Clear service. So my experience in dealing with Clear is also zero so far. I can only judge by reviews I’ve read online. Charlotte was one of their roll out locations. I hear they are constantly working to improve. The speed is around 1/2 to 1/3 of a standard Time Warner cable connection. The benefit is that you are mobile in the Charlotte area. The reviews are mixed that I’ve read. I would still have to say that at this point, Time Warner is the best thing going although ATT’s uverse has been installed on several of my clients networks and they have been very happy. I am no fan at all of windstream

Here’s an interesting write up on Clear. Clear brings 4G Wimax to Charlotte, an in-depth look | CLT Blog

Use iDVD to make a watchable DVD on a standard DVD player

I hope you are doing well.
Can you help me?  I have no doubt somehow set up mobile me or sync wrong because all my calendar entries are entered twice.
Also it doesn't seem like my iPhone 4, iPad and desktop are all mobile me syncing. I enter something on my iPad and it never shows on my phone.
One last thing, once I figure out why the duplications, how do I get rid of them?  I spent hours manually deleting and they all came back.
Help please!!!!


MobileMe is famous for duplicating entries and unfortunately there’s no easy answer. One common occurance is that itunes is syncing your contacts via the usb cable and mobileme is syncing them via the cloud therefore two entries of each exist. That’s usually solved easily enough. With your iphone or ipad connected, select the “info” tab in itunes and be sure that both check boxes for calendars and contacts are unchecked.

But more likely it’s just mobileme acting crazy. In this case we will need to clean off the data that is having the problem. This requires several steps and is not the easiest thing to do. I involves using system preferences Mobilme sync tab and selecting to replace data on each of the computers and the cloud. If you would like assistance you can schedule online. This can be solved and is common but it’s a bit of a pain.

Where is iMovie HD?

I have 155 messages in my spam box. How do I delete all of them at once, instead of individually?


To delete several messages at once, you can use the "select all" command under the Edit menu. Or use the key combination apple key + A. (the apple key is now called the command key by the way). Then hit the delete key. All the messages should be out of your Junk Mail "spam" box now.

avi files in iMovie

You were recommended by a couple of the guys at the Genius Bar at the Apple store as another source for any issues or problems.

I have a a couple of issues with some iMacs that are in a doctors office in Charlotte.  The issue of the day is that they use Terminal to connect to their server for their practice management software.  They have about 13 iMac's (with more to come in the future to replace all PC's) all of which have been fine up until now.

I find it very strange that they have to use "Terminal" to connect.  There would most likely be a much better way than using unix code to drill in.  I would be interested to know what software they are using.  If it's Mac Practice, then terminal would not be necessary.  

 There was a new that was just setup and when they connect to their practice management software, there are some additional characters that show on the screen.  As you go into different menu items, things get worse.  It's almost as if the lines are wrapping or items are shift so much so that you can tell where you are in the system.  What make it most frustrating is that we have set the preferences in Terminal to be exactly like the setting on the other iMac's that work beautifully.

I would first, be sure that all software is updated.  Next I would be curious to view the network and sharing settings of each Mac.  Are there a limited number of nodes the software will handle at once?  Is the software living on a mac server or windows based?  I just find it difficult to believe that terminal would be required to interact with any server based software.  There's got to be a GUI that would make things much easier.  I have several doctor's and dentists in my client base and have not encountered this system.  

Is there something simple I'm missing?  Also, can you give me an idea of rate to troubleshoot and correct this problem?

see below

Another issue is that they've had the hard drives fail on a couple of the machines and in trying to save money, I had Geek Squad install new hard drives and I was going to re-install the operating system.  (I've done it numerous times on Window machine and didn't think it would be much different.)  The problem is that I load the disk and it gets to the point of asking me to select the location to install it and the hard drive doesn't appear.  I'm sure there's some formatting or something that needs to be done first, but I haven't had the time to research it.

easy one, yes the drives installed are most likely formatted for windows and the OS X install disk does not recognize them in that state.  To solve this issue, go to disk utility within the file menu while booted from the DVD then you'll see the disk.  Use disk utility to reformat the drive for "mac os extended journaled" then quit disk utility and return to the installer.  You should now see the disk as a selectable item.  

The last issue is that a screen has gone blank.  When it's first turned on, the screen looks fine for a few minutes, then goes completely black.

This could be a hardware issue.  Hard to tell what it is with the description.  Possibly a power supply issue.  Just not sure.  

Movies not playing in iMovie

I like IBank, but it runs VERY slowly... like every time I hit enter  or even click on anything,  the color wheel comes up and spends for 1- several seconds.. am I overloading the processor on the 2005 Power pc G5?  We maxed out the ram last year at 2 gigs...


Well, the G5 is getting up there in age and as of Snow Leopard, there's no more support for Power PC processors like the one inside your G5 iMac. It is time to consider moving to a new machine, however, that doesn't mean this spinning beach ball issue couldn't be solved. There are several things to consider.

1. How many other applications are running
2. try running the program in another user to see if the problem carries over or if it's isolated to only your user.
3. toss the plist file associated with iBank (can be found in users/youruser/library/preferences
4. be sure that iBank is completely up to date as well as your operating system.

But overall, do consider the next purchase to get you to the intel side of things (the new processors Apple now uses in their computers)



FYI- I tried deleting the plist for "iggibank" and it deleted all my info.  Luckily I had not emptied the trash so I just dragged it back into the Preferences folder from the trash and it seems to have recovered everything.



It's true a plist file can hold pertinent information about an application but overall I see this as a bad practice among software developers. I know Apple's plist file contains account information and usually do not recommend removing it. So it's good to know that iBank may be on the same list. Thanks for the info.

iMovie 08 is a no go on PowerPC

Hi Scotty,
Thanks for all your hard work yesterday.
Unfortunately, there don't appear to be any photos in my library on the new mac. Should they have gone straight onto events or are they somewhere else first?
Also that screen we talked about that you thought would pop up when i opened the new iphoto never came up.
And looking at 'iphoto library-1' (on the old mac) that doesn't seem to have all the photos in it that are actually in' iphoto' on my old mac when I open it up.
How do I try transferring the photos over again?


Try starting iPhoto with the "option" key down then direct iphoto to your iphoto library_1 folder that is in your pictures folder.  That will tell iPhoto to look there for your pictures.  You'll know you're doing the right thing when you see a dialogue box saying it's upgrading the library.  

Another issue could be that the version of iphoto you're coming from is too old for the newest iPhoto to support.  So we may have to do it manually.  I feel confident that the pictures are there.  Just maybe not in the new iphoto yet.  Let me know if you need me to return to patch things up.  

This image is a theme.plist hack