iMovie Glitch: Unplug Removable Media before Using iMovie

I spent a few hours today working on a video for Stage Right. I usually use Screenflow for my videos, but today for some reason I thought I’d try iMovie. Big mistake.

Of the eight video clips I wanted to use in iMovie, seven seem to have imported properly, but the eighth has this little camera icon.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 10.45.19 PM

I didn’t notice it until hours later when I was finished with the project and wanted to “share” it as a file (Apple’s annoying way of hiding the “export” function). I got the unhelpful error message “This item cannot be shared while it is still referencing media on the camera.”

Hovering over the camera icon yields a tooltip that mentions “Reimport from Camera/Archive,” which is nowhere to be found in the menu.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 10.50.17 PMIt’s not under “Import Media…” either.

I was able to re-import the affected clip, but in iMovie I had chopped that clip up, adding voiceover effects and Ken Burns zooms, such that simply re-importing the clip wouldn’t have helped. So, rather than importing another copy of the clip and editing it all over again, I really wanted to find out how to export a polished video from the chopped-up segments I had arranged in iMovie.

A quick Google search told me that I can click the “Share” button and choose “Theater,” then drag the file from the theater to my desktop. The help fora also say I should eject my camera before using iMovie, to make sure this doesn’t happen again. (I’m actually importing video from my camera’s SD card, but the advice is basically the same.)

Assuming sharing the video to the theater works (the status wheel is giving me 4m until the export is finished), this was not a disaster, just an annoying delay.