Trick iDVD into recognizing a modified video file

Alert 2015-08-23 10-49-28After many years working with iDVD, I’ve finally beaten the worst bug – I mean feature – of that clunky kids’ program.

The worst thing that could happen when creating a long iDVD project was to realize, after burning, that there was a typo in the credits or a sound glitch that you had missed in editing.  Bad enough to go back and re-edit the footage, and re-output to an MOV file, that’s some time and effort.  But the worst part was that when you re-opened your iDVD project, iDVD would throw up an error – “Modified Asset Warning.”

The only thing iDVD would fail on at that point would be to mess up all your chapter buttons.  They would still be there, with their proper names, but they would all point to chapter one.  This was unavoidable, even if you had named the file the same thing, all the chapter markers were in the same place, etc etc.

Since renaming chapter buttons and selecting thumbnails is so clunky in iDVD (my projects often have 40 chapters per disk!) it’s worth finding a way to avoid this error if you ever need to re-export a video file with minor changes.

I finally figured out that the reason it fails to accept the file is that the TIME STAMP has changed!  This is truly the mark of an amateur program – good as it is.  It assumes that if the file has been modified since you last opened iDVD, then there must be a mistake, and it doesn’t even bother checking the length, the file size, the placement of chapter markers – anything!

Notice the “modified asset warning” error message – click through to see an example – complains about the date stamp!  It’s easy to miss if you don’t hit the dropdown triangle – the first time I’ve ever seen such a drop-down in an error message.  No wonder I never noticed it before.

Alert 2015-08-23 10-48-00I finally succeeded.  I fixed a sound error in FCPX that I only noticed after naming dozens of chapters in iDVD.  So I re-output the file, and then changed the date stamp to the same exact time (down to the second) of the original video file – and iDVD opened up without so much as a hiccup.  I’m glad it didn’t compare file size, now, because they would not have matched!

Not sure what would happen if you changed the length of the file or moved the chapter markers, but that’s for another day I guess.

Here’s what I did.

If you have already gotten the “Modified Asset Warning,” write down the “original modification date.” from the error window, then force-quit iDVD (cmd-opt-esc) to avoid saving your project with any new errors.  Then you can skip step 8.

If you are thinking ahead and you need to make changes but haven’t done so yet, step 8 will give you that date stamp info.

1. Quit iDVD

2. Re-edit my movie project

(I haven’t tried this with a file that has a different length, or changes to chapter placement – I only changed credit text, adjusted audio volume / filters, etc)

3. Re-export with the same name as the original movie, but adding “fix,” i.e. “Whatever Filename”

4. While that is exporting, you can do this:

5. Start the Terminal application (/Applications/Utilities/

6. Type the following, but don’t hit return (keep a space after the CD):


7. Now drag the folder where your problem video file is, the one you need to fix from your iDVD project, INTO THE TERMINAL WINDOW.

This will put the file name into the command line.  Like this:

It should look like:

cd /Volumes/Mac\ HD/Movies/Whatever\ Directory

8. Now type the following in the command line:

ls -lT

to see the file’s detailed info (notice the capitalization; I did it the wrong way in the video up above, then corrected myself).

(with thanks for the instructions on changing the file date stamp to Raj Patel)

Now, you have to think of the date in the format

E.G. right now the time where I am would be 201508171736.35 (unless you have a US time system on your computer; you might need to do – God knows why the US uses that, same reason they have 12 inches in a foot, three feet in a yard, 5280 feet in a mile etc).

9. When your new version is outputted, remember to copy down or type somewhere the old time stamp of the incorrect file.  If anything happens to it, you are hooped.  Once you have that info, rename that file “Whatever Filename”

10. Now take the “fix” suffix off the new file, so it becomes “Whatever”

(Make sure the new file is in the same directory as the old video file!)

11. Now, type the following in the command line, but do not hit enter/return.  Replace with the date information that you learned from the old, problem movie file

touch –t

12. Drag and drop the NEW, FIXED file into the Terminal window, the file and path will be added to the end of the line you just typed.

Here is an example of what the line should look like (make sure you end up with a space between the time and the file path):

touch –t 200005151125 /Volumes/Mac\ HD/Movies/Whatever\

200005151125 in the example above represents 15th May 2000 11:25 AM.

13. If all is in order press the enter/return key.  The creation date should now be changed to the date specified above, as well as the last modified date.

14. Now, if you feel lucky, open up your iDVD project.  What’s this?  iDVD doesn’t even complain!  Just chugs right along.  Check all your chapter buttons and see if it works.

Woohoo!  Bug-fixing is a dish best served cold.

Trick iDVD into recognizing a modified video file

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