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kvdv
Sep 26, 2009, 12:30 PM
Hi,

I'd like to export a time-lapse movie I created in iStopMotion (I started from very high quality JPG's, shot with a Nikon D700), so I can edit it in iMovie 09. Apparantly, iMovie does not import .mov files, so I tried "DV-PAL 16-9". Now, I don't know where exactly things change, but the end-result looks bad compared to the original movie I created in iStopMotion.

While I'm working in iMovie, the quality I see there, is already low, but maybe this is normal while working as you only see some kind of low quality preview? I'm not sure about this... But, in the end, when I save the iMovie result as HD 1280x720 (using the highest quality preset with 'Export Movie'), it doesn't improve. The quality remains low. To be more precise: the movie is less sharp and straight lines get this ugly jagged look.

What am I doing wrong here?

Thanks,
Kris



xStep
Sep 26, 2009, 04:34 PM
First, iMovie imports .mov files just fine. It is dependent on the codecs used though. Codecs to to try are H.264, AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec), DV Stream, Uncompressed 4:2:2.

The different versions of iSM have different resolution limits. I have iSM2 Home and it is limited to working in standard definition size (max 720x576). So for reference, what version do you have?

When you started your project, what resolution did you set it at? Blowing up from a smaller size to a larger size is going to cause quality loss. Click on 'Document Settings...' under the file menu for that project. You can make some changes there, but if iSM resizes on import, then it is too late for that imported media. I think it does resize upon import.

So, if you are editing in DV-Widescreen, exporting to 1280x720 HD will affect the quality. You might want to try two exports. The first using the current native size and the second one in HD. Then compare how iMovie exports them from a project. You might find that iMovie does a better job on upsizing the native size version.

I'm not sure what affect frame rate will have.

kvdv
Sep 28, 2009, 07:09 AM
Hi xStep,

Thanks a lot for your help, I appreciate this! I'm a photographer so I new to all this, but since I'm now very much interested in time lapse photography, I have to learn this stuff.

my replies:

..."First, iMovie imports .mov files just fine. It is dependent on the codecs used though."...

-> This explains a lot. I remember being able to import .mov files into iMovie, so now I know why.


..."Codecs to to try are H.264, AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec), DV Stream, Uncompressed 4:2:2."...

-> iSM is ging my a number of options, but not all of the above, in fact, only DV Stream. (See my attachment)

..."The different versions of iSM have different resolution limits. I have iSM2 Home and it is limited to working in standard definition size (max 720x576). So for reference, what version do you have?"...

-> I have iSM Pro.

When you started your project, what resolution did you set it at? Blowing up from a smaller size to a larger size is going to cause quality loss. Click on 'Document Settings...' under the file menu for that project. You can make some changes there, but if iSM resizes on import, then it is too late for that imported media. I think it does resize upon import.

-> I started with hi-res jpg images, having a resolution of 1800x1200, enough to have a HD movie in the end I think. In iSM, the quality is excellent! And in iSM, the Documents Settings say: Pixel Aspect Ration: HD(1:1).


..."So, if you are editing in DV-Widescreen, exporting to 1280x720 HD will affect the quality. You might want to try two exports. The first using the current native size and the second one in HD. Then compare how iMovie exports them from a project. You might find that iMovie does a better job on upsizing the native size version. I'm not sure what affect frame rate will have."...

I could try this later today, but I'm not sure it will help, because when importing the DV file from iSM into iMovie, I can already see immediately the loss of quality (loss of sharpness, jagged edges, etc). See my second attachment to illustrate the difference between the movie in iSM and the import into iMovie. After exporting from iMovie, I can see no extra quality-loss, it looks exactly the same as the import of the iSM DV file.

Many thanks in advance,
Kris

xStep
Sep 29, 2009, 04:43 PM
Hi xStep,

Thanks a lot for your help, I appreciate this! I'm a photographer so I new to all this, but since I'm now very much interested in time lapse photography, I have to learn this stuff.

my replies:

..."First, iMovie imports .mov files just fine. It is dependent on the codecs used though."...

-> This explains a lot. I remember being able to import .mov files into iMovie, so now I know why.


It's hard to say, but something to keep in mind.




..."Codecs to to try are H.264, AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec), DV Stream, Uncompressed 4:2:2."...

-> iSM is ging my a number of options, but not all of the above, in fact, only DV Stream. (See my attachment)


Select the 'QuickTime Movie' option and then click on the 'Customize...' button. You'll find more possibilities via that selection. See my iMovie export guide (http://www.reely.com/darren/Guides/) on things you can do from that. The guide really discusses the standard QuickTime exporting tool which iSM uses when the 'Customize' button is selectable.




..."The different versions of iSM have different resolution limits. I have iSM2 Home and it is limited to working in standard definition size (max 720x576). So for reference, what version do you have?"...

-> I have iSM Pro.

When you started your project, what resolution did you set it at? Blowing up from a smaller size to a larger size is going to cause quality loss. Click on 'Document Settings...' under the file menu for that project. You can make some changes there, but if iSM resizes on import, then it is too late for that imported media. I think it does resize upon import.

-> I started with hi-res jpg images, having a resolution of 1800x1200, enough to have a HD movie in the end I think. In iSM, the quality is excellent! And in iSM, the Documents Settings say: Pixel Aspect Ration: HD(1:1).


It sounds to me like you should be exporting full HD, HD 1080p25 or HD 720p25 from the pop up, or a more custom setting using the 'QuickTime Movie' option mentioned above. Under the 'Size' option in the QTM export, try selecting 'Deinterlace Source Video'. I suspect that otherwise the video made will be interlaced, which is why the jaggies (the differences in your two images) are so prevalent.

So, with an iSM project that is HD, you want to export up to 1920x1080 HD, deinterlaced video to a QuickTime file. From what I can tell the 'HD 1080p25' option with deinterlaced selected in the Customize section should work out for you.

P.S. You mentioned "DV-PAL 16-9" in your first post, so I'm assuming you are in a PAL country. Otherwise the p25 codecs I mentioned in the paragraph above don't make sense.