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When you've reached to the point where you are certain your iMovie project is in its final form--meaning you are sure you're not going to make any more changes to it, or at least pretty sure--you might want to consider finalizing the project. When you finalize a project in iMovie, iMovie saves your project in all the possible sizes we looked at in this chapter: Mobile, Medium, Large, HD 720p, and HD 1080p--as long as your project supports those sizes. Unlike exporting your movie to the Media Browser, the finalized versions of the movies don't show up in the Media Browser or iMovie. Instead, iMovie stores them and uses them when you share your project to your MobileMe or to one of the social media sites we looked at, like YouTube or Facebook, and that cuts down the time needed to share a movie to those sites.
Think of finalizing your movie as pre- rendering them so they're always ready to go. This can be especially useful if you have a long project and don't want to have to wait for the movie to be compressed later before you upload it. Also, finalizing a movie helps improve the playback when you view your movie in full screen. So when you click the Full Screen button here, some older Macs have trouble playing video in full screen. When you finalize the video, your Mac then choose the best version of the video that it's going be able to play without any hiccups or mistakes.
So let's go ahead and I'll pick the shortest project I have here, which is just 15 seconds long, the Green Screen project. I'll make it even shorter, and I'll choose File > Finalize Project. So iMovie is now going to go through and create all the versions of this movie that it can. You can see it's starting with HD 720p, and it's skipped over 1080p. That's because this was a lower- resolution video, and it's not going to be able to create a 1080p version of the movie. Now it's doing the large version, and you can actually tell by looking at these dots here which versions of this file are now available.
So you have HD 720. That's the large, and that's the medium. It did not create the mobile version here. So when it's done, you're not going to see the actual files it created anywhere. But now if I go to export this movie to, say, Facebook, iMovie will no longer have to compress the movie; all it has to do is upload it. So that's how to finalize a project in iMovie.
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