How To Split A Clip Into Two Separate Events In iMovie ’09

For anyone who uses iMovie ’09, or probably even ’08:

Today I ran into the problem of wanting to split a single clip inside of a single event into two separate events.  If you’re cool, then you already know that you can just highlight a selection, right-click, and select the “Split Clip Before Selection” option.  BAM!  Problem solved.

HOWEVER, If you’re like me and you originally recorded your footage on your DV tape continuously (without breaks between “events” or days) then your tape will capture into iMovie as one continuous clip, with today’s date.  iMovie doesn’t seem to be set up to split such a clip into separate events because of its relatively new non-destructive editing feature, which really is great.

Whether or not iMovie will allow you to split your clip into separate events may depend on how your camera records footage onto your DV tape.  For example, there’s this other tape I have that not only imported the correct date for some of the footage, but also allowed me to split clips into separate events.  If that’s the case with your tapes, then, lucky you.

But how about if you select a few expendable frames between the two sections you want split and then delete those few frames?  Sure, your event will then look like it has two separate clips in it, but when you try to split them into separate events, it still doesn’t work–what the F!

If you give up now, you’ll just be selling out to THE MAN.  So instead, For those of you as vehemently anal-retentive about your iMovie ’09 event organization as I decided to be this afternoon, here’s a workaround I found, with a little inspiration from stuff I saw on them internets, which I won’t cite, because I don’t remember where I saw it.

(After-my-initial-post-Update: Hey, skip to the bottom and read the thing in italics before you read the rest of this, it might save you time)

1. In the finder, I went to Movies/iMovie Events folder. There are all of my events in folders, including the one I want to split into two separate events (“YC08 + Grand Canyon”).

2. I created a new folder inside of “iMovie Events”, called it YC08, and then copied and pasted all of the contents of the the “YC08 + Grand Canyon” folder into the new “YC08” folder. It was over 13GB, which is about right for a 63 min DV tape.

3. I checked iMovie (I still had it open). It didn’t update this new folder live, so I closed iMovie and reopened it. The new “YC08” folder is there where I created it, along with my original “YC08 + Grand Canyon” folder! I renamed my original folder simply to Grand Canyon.

4. I selected & rejected the YC08 footage from the Grand Canyon event, and did the same to the Grand Canyon footage from the YC08 event. Then I right clicked each clip in each of the two events and adjusted the date and time. They adjusted independently of each other, as thought they were separate clips (which they now are).

5. Then I went to File>Moved Rejected Clips to Trash. That brought up a progress bar that took about ten minutes. It looks like this process does some destructive editing to the original clips, because when I compare how big each of the two folders is inside of the iMovie Events folder, they’re different sizes now (one is 8.4GB and the other is 5.4GB, which adds up to an entire DV tape).

There you have it. Please let me know if there’s an easier way to accomplish exactly this (splitting one event clip into completely separate events).  And let me know if this works/doesn’t work for you.  So long, suckaz.


Update: Wow.  Actually, all you have to do is delete a frame or two during the clip, between the two parts you want to separate.  And THEN you have to move the rejected clips to the trash. This will probably take awhile, because, that’s right, it’s doing destructive editing and splitting the clips in the finder FOR you.  Then you can split a clip into a separate event with ease.  This is what I get for posting so soon after figuring something out before investigating things further to see if there’s a simpler way.  Ridiculous.  Anyway, there you go, friends!  Let me know if any of this doesn’t make sense.


15 thoughts on “How To Split A Clip Into Two Separate Events In iMovie ’09

  1. Thanks. It works. I spent about an hour going over the iMovie tutorials, 1/2 hour with iMovie Help and about 1/2 hour with AppleCare with no success. I guess they should Google your blog.

  2. Thanks for the post! I’ve been on Apple forums and Google for the past thirty minutes trying to figure this out to no avail. My problem was that I wasn’t moving the rejected clips to trash.

  3. The process worked on one large single clip event, but not on another. The clip that would not split was originally shot on an analog camcorder. I played it back on my newer DV camcorder that is able to play both analog and digital. Would/should/could this circumstance explain why the clip would not allow me to reject a piece of it?

  4. Thank you so much for this tip – I was about to lose my mind with frustration before finding this!

  5. i just cannot figure this out…im trying to get one clip unedited..then i split it, and deleted the rejected video clips, and emptied trash, and i want to layer them…but it STILL WILL NOT WORK. help!!

  6. I can’t get either to work…

    1. I don’t have the “Split Clip Before Selection” option when right clicking a selection i the Event viewer

    2. How do you delete a frame or two? You didn’t explain that and I don’t see any options to do so.

    I have a single file, recorded to an SD card that I want to only use some parts of and then delete all unused parts of the video to save hard drive space…the fluff on the videos is eating up my drive space…

  7. I can’t seem to get it to work either and I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the fact that I am working with captured video from a VHS-C video camera. Maybe in order to get this to work I have to be working with something that was recorded digitally.
    Back to searching for an answer.

  8. Nevermind…I too posted to soon. I needed to move the event into a project then reject the selection. I then created a new project and was able to paste the rejected selection into the new project. I didn’t clean up the event library but it did clean up the project library which I can live with.

  9. @Travis, I’m glad you got it working.

    Anyone else: I hope you can get it working too, and sorry I’m not any more help than what I posted above.

    Happy editing.

  10. HI… I’m still using iMovie ’09 even though it’s now 2013. Truth be told, I’ve never needed (or used it) until uploading a Flip video of our family reunion. The video is too long for uploading to YouTube. I’m thinking of splitting it into ‘3’ parts (Reunion Part I, Reunion Part II, etc) and uploading them separately to YouTube. How do I split a Flip video into 3 parts using iMovie? Any help would be appreciated.

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