Best settings for importing/exporting from Imovie 08

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by huskyfan, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. macrumors newbie

    What are the best settings for importing and exporting HD video in imovie 08?

    My only goal is preservation of video quality, I dont really care about file size or transfer time.

    System specs:

    Camcorder: canon hf10 recorded in HD FXH (best quality setting)

    Computer: Macbook pro OS X 10.5.8 using iMovie

    I am exporting to my HD and will archive the file on an external HD (not DVD).

  2. macrumors newbie

  3. macrumors 68000

    I'm using iMovie 09...

    For import, don't use the quarter size 960x540, but instead, the full 1920x1080. There is a preference in iMovie under the video type labeled "import HD video as:". Choose the "Full - Original Size". Also under that tab, choose the appropriate "Video Standard:" for your locations.

    iMovie will import HD and convert it to a .mov file using the AIC video codec. That file will be placed into the event folder for the event name you choose. So the best backup method would be to copy those files. They will be large, so obvious.

    Of course the best non-lossless method is to bypass iMovie. People create a disc image via the Disk Utility app and copy the entire content from the camera. Not just the videos, but everything. Then when mounting this image, iMovie reads it like it is seeing a camera. I'm not sure of the details required, but you have to get everything.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Thanks xstep.

    I do import at 1920 x 1080. There is a warning that importing at this size may result in "degraded video playback". Not sure what this means??

    What is your preferred settings for exporting from iMovie?

    I have read about the disk imaging option and I think this sounds like a good option for archiving.
  5. macrumors 68000

    It maybe referring to playback during editing. When editing, iMovie dynamically shows you the transitions and effects, so that takes extra processing against an already challenging process.

    Also keep in mind who will be viewing your projects. Exporting at full HD is cool, but older systems can't play it back properly. YouTube re-encodes your uploaded video to different sizes and data rates and seems to present the lower size file first, so some older systems may work fine in this scenario. Others with a the power can choose the HD button.

    I don't have an HD camera yet to import from but the few times I've had access, I've used the full size. The other HD stuff I've done has been creating video from pictures. In this case I import pictures that are 1920x1080, or larger if I'll have any zooming effects.

    I prefer using the full size because I can always reduce for the destination and still have the full size when I may need it later.
  6. macrumors newbie


    Well I believe you an import using the import HD video, but what about the output, does the iMovie 09 give a better output than 960x540???
  7. macrumors 68000

  8. macrumors member


    Go to Share, then export using quicktime. Click options and use H.264 at the best quality. Under the size option make sure you're using 1280x720 or 1440x1080. This will give you a really high quality file at a relatively small file size. Perfect for youtube or vimeo.
  9. macrumors 68000

    Of course iMovie offers a Share with Youtube feature in that same Share pulldown section so you can do this all in one step.;)
  10. macrumors member


    Not quite. If you're editing with SD footage and you share to youtube, it will send them a SD clip. I've done both methods and you get better results if you export to 720p then upload to youtube.
  11. macrumors 68000

    But SD is in no way 720p footage. Are you saying that it does a better job compressing when it thinks it's compressing 720 vs 480? That's the only reason I could see a difference...iMovie thinks the resolution is better, so it throws less data away during compression? I mean, you will never have 720p quality from 480i source material.

    I haven't had this issue since the stuff we have been sharing has either been crappy footage from our Kodak point-and-shoot camera or our HD Flip video (either poor footage or HD footage to start...never really good SD LOL)
  12. macrumors member


    Right, SD is not HD and cannot be up resed to HD quality. However, when you conform the size of the video to the same dimensions of an HD clip, Youtube and Vimeo think it's an HD video. They then offer the end user the ability to watch the clip at quality level that doesn't totally trash your image. The point isn't to get HD footage, it's just to ensure a little extra quality on Youtube or vimeo.

    For example, THIS video was exported to Youtube using iMovie's built in youtube connection. You can tell it's been compressed a bit because the titles at the beginning are slightly blurry. Also no 720p high quality viewing option.

    By comparison THIS video was exported from Avid at 1280x720, tricking youtube into giving an HD viewing option for an SD video. Once you hit the high quality mode you can see the full quality video.
  13. macrumors 6502a

    I have what might be a stupid question - How can you make sure what you have imported and are working with on your computer is HD?

    I have an HV20 and I am using iMovie '09 version 8.0.6 (821) on my 15" 2.2ghz MacBook Pro C2D SR.

    As far as I remember, I am recording in HD (I want to say 1080i) and am not converting to SD during import on the camera's end. I don't have my camera on me so I can't confirm or give the settings as they are named on the camera. Also, in my iMovie Preferences video tab, I have "Import HD video as:" "Full - Original Size" and as far as I remember, I've had this setting before.

    The .dv files that I have in my iMovie Events folders don't say the dimensions or duration on while looking at them in finder. When I open in quicktime 10.0 (113) and bring up the Movie Inspector, they are 720 x 480 (853 x 480). On strange thing is that in finder the size for one of my files says 962 MB on disk, but in quicktime it says Data Size 1.92 GB (and it's 4:27 in lengthand has a data rate of 57.54 Mbit/s).

    I am able to go to share -> export movie and select "Size to Export" : HD (1280x720) so I wonder if it wasn't imported in HD, would I even have that option.

    But when I go to Export using quicktime and select "Movie to Quicktime Movie" and use "Default Settings" and then click on options, for dimensions it has 960x540 (Current)
  14. macrumors 6502

    I did this with a 13 minute - 850mb file that I captured on my Hauppauge HD PVR and when I was ready to export, it dumped it out at almost 3.5 GB for a 1280x720 clip! All I did was add some titles and 1 minute VO intro. What am I doing wrong?
  15. macrumors member


    Lower your bit rate. If youre exporting at 720p you can get away with 10,000kbps

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