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Old Jan 7, 2012, 08:17 PM   #1
Sacird
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iMovie 11 export has some nasty artifacts

I got a Vixia M40 and I capture my video through iMovie and it goes in there fine and looks fine when I play it back. When I go to export my project I get a lot of artifacting especially against dark backgrounds. Looks very digitalized and messy. The camera quality is good but the artifacts drive me nuts.

I export in full quality I do not want to go to "large" as iMovie recommends. Anyone have similar issues that they found a resolution to?

If my info is lacking I apologize I tried to keep it short and easy.
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Old Jan 8, 2012, 07:31 AM   #2
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Conspiracy theory states that Apple Intermediate Codec is to blame, and the only solution (thanks to ) is to buy FCPX which uses the ProRes codec. There is an alternative however...

(1) http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1396
(2) http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/16357/unpkg

You can retrieve the prores codecs from (1) using (2), then use MPEG Streamclip (for example, Export to Quicktime with any "Apple ProRes 422" variant). Then when you import to iMovie, it should skip the usual conversion to AIC. I haven't actually edited this way, but I know exporting straight to iDVD works.
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Old Jan 8, 2012, 09:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by DisMyMac View Post
Conspiracy theory states that Apple Intermediate Codec is to blame, and the only solution (thanks to ) is to buy FCPX which uses the ProRes codec. There is an alternative however...

(1) http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1396
(2) http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/16357/unpkg

You can retrieve the prores codecs from (1) using (2), then use MPEG Streamclip (for example, Export to Quicktime with any "Apple ProRes 422" variant). Then when you import to iMovie, it should skip the usual conversion to AIC. I haven't actually edited this way, but I know exporting straight to iDVD works.
Awesome thanks for the info! I tried out the FCPx demo and of course the export went flawless using the ProRes. Don't want to drop $300 on that currently though, maybe later. Good to know I can get that codec. Is AIC affecting a lot of cameras or just a select bunch? From what I read it seems to hinder anything that is interlaced.

Anyway thanks a bunch.
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Old Jan 8, 2012, 12:54 PM   #4
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I just went through hell for a few weeks because of this, and yeah, it's definitely they AIC. As far as I know it affects all cameras, because the codec only uses 8-bit regardless of the camera. I'm using FCPx now, or at least trying to learn it . Did you have any luck using DisMyMac's advice?
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Old Jan 8, 2012, 12:57 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Sacird View Post
Awesome thanks for the info! I tried out the FCPx demo and of course the export went flawless using the ProRes. Don't want to drop $300 on that currently though, maybe later. Good to know I can get that codec. Is AIC affecting a lot of cameras or just a select bunch? From what I read it seems to hinder anything that is interlaced.

Anyway thanks a bunch.
No problem, I had the same issues with AIC. Although I don't mean to slander Apple in case I goofed up my settings, Googling leads me to believe that AIC is just horrible, and Apple doesn't care because they already got our money and will be happy to fix our problems for another $300....
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Old Jan 8, 2012, 02:38 PM   #6
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No problem, I had the same issues with AIC. Although I don't mean to slander Apple in case I goofed up my settings, Googling leads me to believe that AIC is just horrible, and Apple doesn't care because they already got our money and will be happy to fix our problems for another $300....
I don't believe AIC is a horrible, its quite adequate for the beginner/intermediate user. FCP X is made for Prosumer/pro market and their needs are different, so a ProRes is a better format for that. I believe AIC is still much better then editing AVCHD natively.
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Old Jan 8, 2012, 03:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ja Di ksw View Post
I just went through hell for a few weeks because of this, and yeah, it's definitely they AIC. As far as I know it affects all cameras, because the codec only uses 8-bit regardless of the camera. I'm using FCPx now, or at least trying to learn it . Did you have any luck using DisMyMac's advice?
I am going to try and report back my findings later tonight or tomorrow. I need to look at how to get the .mts file off my camera and into mpegstreamclip. I am curious since if I recall a few times when I did a full screen preview on iMovie it looked fine, but after export, my god!! All the damn posterization I'll get to the bottom of this though.

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No problem, I had the same issues with AIC. Although I don't mean to slander Apple in case I goofed up my settings, Googling leads me to believe that AIC is just horrible, and Apple doesn't care because they already got our money and will be happy to fix our problems for another $300....
Slandering Apple is fun though I like to nail all the big three, MS and Google as well when I can. F em all.

I checked it out as well (AIC) it seemed mixed bag, good to edit with and sometimes good results other times things just went bad.

Okay so I think I might try this thing soon, so I need to download the codecs and I am guessing those go into quicktime? What is the second link a download for? It's an unpackager? I have no clue how to get the video files off my camera and imported not using the iMovie importer. Just want to be sure I am getting this right.

Last edited by Sacird; Jan 8, 2012 at 03:54 PM.
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Old Jan 8, 2012, 04:36 PM   #8
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Okay so I think I might try this thing soon, so I need to download the codecs and I am guessing those go into quicktime?
Yes, the path is usually "Macintosh HD > Library > QuickTime". I'm not sure if the computer or programs need to be restarted after you add a component.

Quote:
What is the second link a download for? It's an unpackager?
The apple support download is actually an installer for several codecs - you need the unpackager to navigate to the ProRes file. I don't think it was intended for iMovie, so I'm not even sure if the editing features work (ie. transitions or anything else), all I know is that it exports OK after you import a video.

Quote:
I have no clue how to get the video files off my camera and imported not using the iMovie importer. Just want to be sure I am getting this right.
The camera's hard drive should appear on the desktop when it connects (otherwise I don't know why iMovie would see it). Double-click on it and navigate to where ever the movies are, maybe by looking for large folders... drag and drop the files onto the desktop, then open them with Streamclip (convert, send to iMovie, etc.).
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Old Jan 8, 2012, 06:31 PM   #9
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Yes, the path is usually "Macintosh HD > Library > QuickTime". I'm not sure if the computer or programs need to be restarted after you add a component.
Hmm I see them there not sure how to or what to add them to, I thought they just kind of fell into QT.

Quote:
The camera's hard drive should appear on the desktop when it connects (otherwise I don't know why iMovie would see it). Double-click on it and navigate to where ever the movies are, maybe by looking for large folders... drag and drop the files onto the desktop, then open them with Streamclip (convert, send to iMovie, etc.).
Got it, that part worked easy getting the cameras video directly to the desktop. iMovie only saw the footage if I clicked the import button directly in iMovie, obviously I am steering clear of that. I tried streamclip and it did not recognize the .MTS extension. I think i ma have to DL the MPEG thingy from apple for $20 and I wont be doing that.

I gave handbrake a shot and could only make an MP4 and thats not going to work. So after 10 hours of this BS I am tapping out. Might look for another solution later. I am really mad at this garbage, how this makes it past testing is beyond me. I put the file in Windows using movie maker and it looked fine, go figure.

Too much workarounds for something no one should have to do a workaround for.
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Old Feb 4, 2012, 12:20 PM   #10
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Didn't work for me..
With the two steps below I got acces to the file "AppleProResCodec.component", copied it into the Quicktime library (replacing the file that was there already), restarted my computer, used Streamclip to "export to quicktime" in Prores422, imported that into iMovie and exported from iMovie.
Still the same extremely ugly artifacts

Quote:
Originally Posted by DisMyMac View Post
(1) http://support.apple.com/kb/DL1396
(2) http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/16357/unpkg

You can retrieve the prores codecs from (1) using (2), then use MPEG Streamclip (for example, Export to Quicktime with any "Apple ProRes 422" variant). Then when you import to iMovie, it should skip the usual conversion to AIC. I haven't actually edited this way, but I know exporting straight to iDVD works.
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Old Feb 4, 2012, 03:34 PM   #11
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Didn't work for me..
With the two steps below I got acces to the file "AppleProResCodec.component", copied it into the Quicktime library (replacing the file that was there already), restarted my computer, used Streamclip to "export to quicktime" in Prores422, imported that into iMovie and exported from iMovie.
Still the same extremely ugly artifacts
Make sure you don't have "Optimize video" selected when you import into iMovie. It's a misleading option - it turns everything into AIC which defeats the whole purpose....
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Old Feb 4, 2012, 08:50 PM   #12
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Damn, my camera is coming and I have been on the internet in anticipation of taking some short, but pleasing video. All I have found are complaints, complex work-arounds, 3rd party software suggestions and people just exasperated with their experience.

Can iMovie actually import the common avchd format (Sony) and produce a high quality little HD movie of, say, waves at the beach or a kid running around?

Or do I need non-Apple software, or even a Windows machine to deal with this. Or Windows on my MBP?
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Old Feb 5, 2012, 01:17 AM   #13
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Damn, my camera is coming and I have been on the internet in anticipation of taking some short, but pleasing video. All I have found are complaints, complex work-arounds, 3rd party software suggestions and people just exasperated with their experience.

Can iMovie actually import the common avchd format (Sony) and produce a high quality little HD movie of, say, waves at the beach or a kid running around?

Or do I need non-Apple software, or even a Windows machine to deal with this. Or Windows on my MBP?
The complains are actually few and between. There's nothing that hinders you to get great footage from your Sony out of iMovie.

For whom the 300 bucks FCP X is too expensive: Buy either the 50 dollar Motion or Compressor and you'll get ProRes as a download.
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Old Feb 5, 2012, 04:18 AM   #14
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Make sure you don't have "Optimize video" selected when you import into iMovie. It's a misleading option - it turns everything into AIC which defeats the whole purpose....
Tried without "optimize video"; still the same artifacts.
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Old Feb 5, 2012, 04:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacird View Post
I got a Vixia M40 and I capture my video through iMovie and it goes in there fine and looks fine when I play it back. When I go to export my project I get a lot of artifacting especially against dark backgrounds. Looks very digitalized and messy. The camera quality is good but the artifacts drive me nuts.

I export in full quality I do not want to go to "large" as iMovie recommends. Anyone have similar issues that they found a resolution to?

If my info is lacking I apologize I tried to keep it short and easy.
Have you tried "Export with Quicktime" instead of regular export? Select the resolution and compressor quality you want for it and the audio bitrate. See if that still produces artifacts.
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Old Feb 5, 2012, 05:33 AM   #16
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Have you tried "Export with Quicktime" instead of regular export? Select the resolution and compressor quality you want for it and the audio bitrate. See if that still produces artifacts.
I always use "export with quicktime" and pay careful attention to resolution&compressor quality.

I want to add that these artifacts NEVER turned up in iMovie 08 on my old MacBook Pro from 2008 which I have kept because of this reason.
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Old Feb 10, 2012, 04:06 PM   #17
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Have you tried "Export with Quicktime" instead of regular export? Select the resolution and compressor quality you want for it and the audio bitrate. See if that still produces artifacts.
I'll try to give it a shot again, I believe it still did. Windows machine with movie maker looked fine (go figure) Screw it I am probably getting Sony Vegas Pro anyways. Maybe FCPx if the Macbooks this year arent Air style. Want to see where Apple is heading to with their notebook line.

So this nice vixia is a dust collector till then. The FCPx demo produced REALLY nice results.
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Old Feb 10, 2012, 07:03 PM   #18
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Theoretically you should be able to get the same image in iMovie without artifacts, an end user shouldn't have to own FCP X to get artifact free image. See what happens with Quicktime export. However FCP X is a good program to own if you plan on doing video editing on a higher level than iMovie.
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Old Feb 11, 2012, 08:53 PM   #19
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OK, I'm a bit confused.

I have a few hours of basketball footage that I shot using a Vixia M40, and used Import from Camera in iMovie 11; selected the "Large" option to reduce the file sizes. The end use of this footage will be a standard-def DVD for a player to send to colleges for scholarship consideration.

The footage is already imported, and erased from the camera. I haven't done any editing yet, I'm still learning iMovie 11.

I have downloaded the codecs and the unpackager shown above.

Is it too late for me to be able to export this footage without the artifacts mentioned? If so, could someone give me a workflow with enough detail for a relative newbie?
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 05:38 PM   #20
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Anyone?
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 06:51 PM   #21
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@tekriter

The only reason why there might be artifacts at all is because you imported to a reduced resolution "Large" which would cause pixellation. In the future I would not import using this setting. The best thing you can do is export at the "Large" resolution (I think it's somewhere around 960x540) and burn to DVD from that resolution, which still shouldn't cause serious pixellation. Maybe somebody could post a screenshot of this?
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Old Feb 14, 2012, 10:25 AM   #22
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Zwhaler -

That's actually what I did; the Large setting gave me the 960x?? resolution. My original files are 1080, so I was using the Missing Manual's recommended setting.
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Old Feb 14, 2012, 01:30 PM   #23
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Yes, the best thing you can do now that the 1080 files have been deleted is work with the 960x540 files which I would expect contain some artifacts/pixellation... in the future I would avoid using the "Large" setting as it cuts off too much important resolution to be useful outside of SD DVDs (and even might cause artifacts when scaling the video over an area larger than 960x540) I'd stick with the original 1080 files on import.
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Old Feb 15, 2012, 09:26 AM   #24
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For me, the posterizing artifact was just as bad regardless if I imported in Large 960x540 or in original size.
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Old Feb 15, 2012, 12:26 PM   #25
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For me, the posterizing artifact was just as bad regardless if I imported in Large 960x540 or in original size.
Interesting, I've never encountered these artifacts on my Canon HD Camcorder (S20 and G10). One of the posters said they were using an M40/M41, I know somebody with this camera and they've never experienced problems with artifacts on export in iMovie '11. Looks like the problem is the AIC codec and the solution is to upgrade to FCP X, unfortunately.
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