Tuesday, 8 September 2009

help! iDVD won't open! i'm ruined!

Every now and again - and they really are few and far between - I do bother to blog about something technically useful. So here's this term's attempt.

A while ago, to my horror, I received feedback from a client that noted how pleased they were with their product (in this case, a double wedding DVD - wedding and reception, full day of shooting plus ridiculously time-consuming cutting.) However, there was one minor complaint - I had made a common spelling error with the bride's name, not only on the printed skin of the DVDs themselves, but also on the menu of both DVDs. I was pretty horrified, as you can imagine, so set about to rectify the problem. That is to say, it went on the page stuck to the side of one of the machines with "Unavoidable problems" on the top. A couple of weeks ago, I went about trying to rectify the problem, only to discover - to much deeper, further horror, that iDVD - which I had cheated a bit and used to compile the DVD designs together - was refusing to speak to me. Icon would jump, 'iDVD' would appear in the menu bar for a few seconds, and then it closed.

What a situation - many arghs later, I began trawling the 'net for solutions. I was originally running IDVD 6; iLife has never been a priority upgrade for me, particularly in this case as I've been forcing myself to use DVD Studio as much as possible. Two weeks later, and the situation has been solved.

Apparently, this is bit of a common glitch that appears from iDVD 6.0 right through to 7.0.2. No-one seems to know where it came from or what it's doing. All they have are several different ideas about how to fix it. Honestly, you'd think we were talking about Vista here.

One of the most common starting points is to Repair Permissions for the drive, which takes 2-3 minutes via Disk Utility. It's probably a good idea to delete the Application preferences from your Home>Library whilst your at it. However, in this case, nada.

Next up, into Home>Library again and to locate the very fiddly 'com.apple.iDVD.plist' file. Out the window with that, and we were at the point where iDVD would stay open until the menu appeared.

In frustration, I nabbed a Family pack of iLife '08 and install the upgrade. However, as the error was already know to be common to iDVD 7, it persisted! However, having located an Apple Support post that was actually written by someone who understood the problem, I upgraded all the way to 7.0.4, and by a miracle, the issue has disappeared for now.

It's the first time I've encountered such a problem with Mac software. I've come across some random crashed before - Safari is the most obvious culprit, but grown-up programs like Compressor and LiveType have also been know to topple down pretty quickly in my presence after a long day. However, for a complete shut down to be caused by something as simple as a preferences tweak or a misplaced font (so says the gospel according to DJ anyway) is really a bit irritating. But I guess it's the small price we pay for using an OS structured the way it is. It could be worse. It could be Vista.


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