Running iMovie ’08 on a G4 Mac

Whew! Sorry I haven’t blogged here in a while. I’ve been extremely busy lately with our severe weather here, & the fact that I’ve recently started my own corporation known as Mallard Computer, Inc. I’ve just become the President/CEO & am really excited about the new technology items we’re working on delivering. The Lord has a lot in store for us here & I’m excited on how He will be using us to aid in fulfilling the Great Commission. Please pray for us during this exciting time!

This week I’ve decided to discuss an interesting discovery I recently found out about that has been an exciting one for me. Back last summer when Steve Jobs unveiled the new iLife ’08 during a keynote presentation he demonstrated the amazing new, totally re-written iMovie ’08 video editing app. It was built to be an entirely new way to edit movies. Well, today I’m not here to discuss what features I like & dislike about the new iMovie and what Apple did right & wrong to iMovie, I’m here to address the issue that was the most important one to me: iMovie ’08 will not run on a G4 Mac. The system requirements at state you must have a G5 or Intel Mac to run it. But my PowerBook G4 is only a little more than two years old. It’s also very good at running Apple’s $1,000 Final Cut Studio package according to some movie editors who use it on their PowerBooks. And I’m very satisfied with my PowerBook & don’t need a MacBook yet. So what am I, as well as all the other G4 users out there to do? It’s sad that iMovie ’08 won’t run on our very good, powerful Macs…

…or does it? I did some research on the web & it turns out that there IS a way to get iMovie ’08 running natively (& in fact quite well) on a G4 Mac. All it takes is an afternoon of time & your iLife ’08 installation disc. Here’s how:

Step 1:
First of all, you’re going to have to re-install the entire iLife CD. It shouldn’t downgrade any of your apps except GarageBand may need to be updated again afterwards. That’s what happened to mine. However, when you insert the CD & try to run the installer it will pop up a message stating that iMovie ’08 will not be installed, so before you run the installer you need to adjust a setting.

Step 2:
Open Disk Utility (Applications/Utilities) & click on the iLife ’08 installer DVD in the left hand pane. then click Disk Image, select DVD/CD Master, & click create. It will take a while to read/image the disk so go grab yourself a cup of coffee (or perhaps go eat a meal) & come back when it’s finished. You could try also copying the package installer to your desktop by option-dragging it to the desktop, although I found the disk image method works a lot easier.

Step 3:
Eject your iLife disk & mount the new disk image on your desktop. It should look just like the iLife ’08 disk. Right-click (control-click) on the iLife ’08.pkg file & click on “show package contents”. Double-click on the Contents folder. Right-click on the Distribution.dist file & click on “Open With>Other”. Find the TextEdit app in the list (found in Applications), click on it, then click “open”. Scroll down in that file until you find the second occurrence of “hasSufficientHardwareForiMovie” (the easiest way to do is is to hit command-f, type in the above text, & hit find twice). Scroll down to the line after “catch (e) {}” and change “false” to “true”. Save the file. Now run the iLife ’08 installer pkg file from your desktop. You’ll see everything is installed, including iMovie ’08. Easy wasn’t it?

Step 4:
Not quite. If you try to launch iMovie ’08 it simply won’t work. Next you need to edit a file & download some updates. To edit the files you will need an app called HexEditor, or you can simply download the already-patched files I’ve attached below.

Step 5:
Now to edit the files. Go to your applications folder, right-click on iMovie (that looks like a star), & click on “Show package Contents”. Double-click the Contents folder, then double-click the MacOS folder.

Step 6:
EITHER: Drag the iMovie UNIX executable file into HexEdit & change these variables:
Go to location 0x11ab44 and change the value there to 0x4e
Go to location 0x11ab45 and change the value there to 0x80
Go to location 0x11ab46 and change the value there to 0x00
Go to location 0x11ab47 and change the value there to 0x20
Go to location 0x11abd4 and change the value there to 0x4e
Go to location 0x11abd5 and change the value there to 0x80
Go to location 0x11abd6 and change the value there to 0x00
Go to location 0x11abd7 and change the value there to 0x20

OR: Download the iMovie ’08-part file below & replace the UNIX file inside the iMovie package with the UNIX file in this archive.

Step 7:
Run Software Update to update to 7.0.1 (if applicable, if 7.1 shows up, then update to 7.1 & skip down to step 11).

Step 8:
Repeat Step 5, then proceed with Step 9.

Step 9:
EITHER: Drag the UNIX file back into HexEdit & change:
In simplified syntax, change the following:

11A820: 7C 08 02 A6 -> 4E 80 00 20
11A8B0: 7C 08 02 A6 -> 4E 80 00 20

OR: Download the iMovie ’08 7.0.1-part file below & again replace the previous file.

Step 10:
Run Software Update to update to 7.1.

Step 11:
Repeat Step 5, then proceed to Step 12.

Step 12:
EITHER: Load the UNIX file back into HexEdit & change the following:
12B63C: 7C 08 02 A6 -> 4E 80 00 20
12B71C: 7C 08 02 A6 -> 4E 80 00 20
12B7E0: 7C 08 02 A6 -> 4E 80 00 20
12B8A0: 7C 08 02 A6 -> 4E 80 00 20

OR: Download the iMovie ’08 7.1-part file below & again replace the previous UNIX file with it.

Step 13:
Run Software Update to update to 7.1.1.

Step 14:
Repeat Step 5, then proceed to Step 15.

Step 15:
EITHER: Load the UNIX file back into HexEdit & change the following:
12F6A8: 7C 08 02 A6 -> 4E 80 00 20
12F76C: 7C 08 02 A6 -> 4E 80 00 20
12F5C8: 7C 08 02 A6 -> 4E 80 00 20
12F6DC: 7C 08 02 A6 -> 4E 80 00 20

OR: download the iMovie ’08 7.1.1-part file below & again replace the previous UNIX file with it.

That’s it! iMovie ’08 should now successfully open up on your G4 Mac. Answers to your questions & related links are listed blow.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Is it legal?
Obviously, yes. It’s one thing if I was going behind Apple’s back hunting down a hacked version of iMovie for free so I wouldn’t have to pay for it. However, I, as well as every other honest Apple customer, has went to the Apple Store & bought & paid for their copy of iLife ’08. You install the actual copy of iMovie that comes on your CD, the only thing you’re downloading is the UNIX files that contain the G4 binary codes. If you even don’t want to use those then you can use the instructions above & load your file into HexEditor & edit the binaries yourself. Apple is the one that didn’t put the G4 support into the app to begin with, & all these instructions tell you how to do is take your legal copy of iMovie & get it to run on a G4. If Apple doesn’t like it, then spare us the trouble by supporting the G4!

How well does it run?
Quite well, actually! It takes a moment to start up, but performance is as good as any other app on my PowerBook. I’ve yet to find any problems with it, & it runs as well as if Apple personally supported the G4 platform.

Will Apple help me if it doesn’t work?
I doubt it! Apple doesn’t support the G4 with iMovie ’08, so if you have an issue with it I don’t think Apple’s going to be interested. If you do happen to need assistance just drop a comment here on the blog or join the Mac OS X Hints discussion group at the link below & maybe one of us can try to help. None of us can promise anything, but we’ll try to do our best.

Will it mess up my system?
I’ve personally performed this test on my actual work machine and it didn’t mess up anything, so if it didn’t mess up mine, it shouldn’t mess up yours (since I’m the one every computer problem usually happens to). If you’re worried about it then I’d backup your critical files first. Everything should go smoothly, but please remember none of us are responsible if it doesn’t. Install at your own risk.

Will it run on my Mac?
It runs well on my 12″ 1.5GHZ PowerBook G4, so if you have a fairly new Mac it should run OK. If you have an older G4 Mac it may or may not run. Simply put, you won’t know if you don’t try.

Will it run on a G3?
I doubt it! It’s highly unlikely that it’s going to run on a G3, but if you can ever get it do, let me know! Would love to hear about it!

Will 7.0 or 7.0.1 work with the patches?
I couldn’t get it to do anything until I updated to at least 7.1. 7.0 & 7.0.1 just bounced in the dock & did nothing. I’d still patch each time after downloading each update from Software Update to make sure you get everything patched.

What happens when new updates are released?
As Apple updates iMovie ’08, chances are it will break the program. Visit the Teksanity link below to get the latest updates & patches, & I will try to post updates here as they become available.

Related Links:
Mac OS X Hints Discussion Thread on iMovie ’08 G4
Latest Updates & Patches for iMovie ’08 from Teksanity