I spent the better part of a Saturday trying to figure out why iPhoto 11 won’t play old videos. I know I recorded them on an iPhone. Yet, whenever I try to play a video, I get a the gray exclamation point triangle sign.
I pulled up the information inspector (Cmd-I), and I see that these older videos are in RAW format (compared to H.264 for more recent videos).
Installing Quicktime Player 7 — Strike 1!
After scrounging around on some forums, I see that the problem may be that Apple didn’t ship with the necessary codecs to play videos recorded, oh… IN THE LAST YEAR!
Apple: It Just Works — Until It Doesn’t… Because We Took a Part Out
Install it, and then relaunch iPhoto. I also hear using VLC also works for playing back these “old” videos.
Did that work for me? No, it did not. The videos still would not play, dagnabit! But, what the hey! It was worth a shot. Maybe it will work for you.
Cmd + Alt rebuild of iPhoto — Strike 2!
I was able to find the videos on the disk though and they were able to play there. So, it looks like iPhoto just needed to be rebuilt. I had already done the trick of restarting iPhoto while holding down the Cmd and Alt keys. This brings up the following window:
You would think that running all of these would rebuild iPhoto. But, no. Even that did not work!
iPhoto Library Manager — Strike 3!
Finally, I tried iPhoto Library Manager from FatCat Software.
iPhoto Library Manager (ILM) has some nice features, including iPhoto library first aid.
Oh, yeah, that’s the stuff!!! I started iPhoto Library Manager, selected my current iPhoto Library and selected the Rebuild Library option (File > Rebuild Library or Cmd-R). Then it was time to go get a cup of coffee… from the nearest contiguous state. Depending on the size of your library, this process can take quite some time. Like… on the order of 10 hours.
And I got a very clean library with all of the those videos that wouldn’t play…. gone! Well, that’s one solution but not what I was really looking for.
Was I ever able to get my videos back?
Yes! Finally, I just went into finder and searched for “.mov” files. Then all the ones listed as being in my old “iPhoto library > Master” I moved to a new folder and then dragged them into iPhoto again. After being re-imported the files are again playable. I am not sure what to say about this. The files were in the old iPhoto package, but three separate techniques for rebuilding the iPhoto database failed to find and do whatever mojo was needed to get them viewable and playable under iPhoto. This is not exactly a ringing endorsement for iPhoto.
Can anyone recommend another Mac app for videos? Would I be likely to have fewer problems with Aperture?