Archive for March, 2008

On iPods and iPhoto

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

One of the features of all current iPods (with the exception of the iPod shuffle) is displaying photos. However, all the click wheel iPods suffer from the same issue of portrait-mode images only taking up about half the space on the screen (thus looking tiny), while square and landscape-mode images take up most of the screen. To counter this, when I add images to iPhoto I often add duplicate copies of any portrait-mode images. One set is left as-is for viewing on my computer, while the other set is rotated for my iPod, which treats them as regular landscape-mode images. For organization, I maintain two sets of photo albums in iPhoto, one for viewing on the computer, one for syncing to my iPod. Except for one set containing rotated images, both sets are mirrors of each other.

This comes with quite a cost in harddrive space, however. I spent some time last night figuring out how many duplicate images I had and how much space they took up. Getting the number of photos was quite easy, as I just had to manipulate the keyword tags across my entire photo library and have a smart album accumulate all the images that ended up having the rotated tag. This produced an album of just under 9800 images - almost 40% of my iPhoto library!

Finding out how much space they took up was harder to do. The smart album claimed it was only 4.6GB, but extrapolating from the size of the iPhoto Library folder on my harddrive suggested they should have taken up 9.5GB. After looking more closely at the folders and files inside the iPhoto Library folder, I determined that iPhoto is storing two copies of rotated images. One set (which is left unrotated) is stored in the main Originals folder, alongside the unrotated images. The other set is stored in the Modified folder. This set is odd because each image takes up twice as much space as the original file. In the end, the rotated images are taking up 3x the space they normally do, or some 15GB worth.

I really should get an iPod touch. Since it can rotate between portrait and landscape mode, I’ll be able to eliminate all those duplicate photos and free up some much-needed space on my harddrive. It’ll also reduce the size of my iPod Photo Cache, as iPod touch-optimized images require less space than 5G iPod-optimzed images.