Can Apple TV play HD movie created in iMovie?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by hikeNM, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 29, 2004
    Somewhere close to a dairy in East Texas
    Ok. I know this is probably a really dumb question, but messing with iMovie '09 has got me wondering.

    I created a movie in iMovie and went to Share----->Export Movie.

    The little box that popped up gave me five options to export to: Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, and HD. And to the right, it gave me the devices each export option would play on, and the Apple TV didn't have the option for HD.

    Can this be? If I create a movie in HD with iMovie, can it not really play on the Apple TV?

    I'm fairly close to purchasing an Apple TV, but this would be a real turn off.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. macrumors 601


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    iMovie can export for :apple:TV. And if you want an "HD" version, you'll want to be sure to choose specs that fall within what :apple:TV can handle: a limited version of 720p. The more typical option which is showing on your iMovie share screen is the 960 x 540 option, which is basically halving the horizontal HD resolution of 1920 to 960, and halving the vertical resolution of 1080 to 540. This yields a pretty nice picture- better than DVD- but its not an HD picture (more something in the middle).

    Apparently the reasoning is that it is "good enough" by Apple standards, and some fanboys will quickly support that with comments like how the average eye can't tell the difference, someone will show "the chart" to back it up, and so on. Others will talk about file sizes being "much too large" at full HD, and so on too. But the fact is that if you look at 1920 x 1080 camcorder video hooked directly to the HDTV, then compare it to the 960 x 540 version of the same footage, you probably will easily see the difference (I do) and join the party wishing for a 1080p capable :apple:TV update.

    Nevertheless, it does look quite good at 960 x 540, so if you are happy with DVD quality on your HDTV, you'll be pretty happy with better-than-DVD quality on that TV too.

    There is a 720p output which is technically (barely) HD and will play on :apple:TV, but I've never figured out a way to go from 1080p camcorder footage to that one without some noticeable video judder, especially as the camera is moving (panning).

    My recommendation if you go for it is to keep a backup for your footage so that later on you can render it again at full 1080p (if Apple ever gets around to a next-gen :apple:TV) or go ahead and render 2 versions (a full 1080p version to be your master copy (hopefully 2 copies stored in different places), and one that can play on :apple:TV "as is" now).
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 29, 2004
    Somewhere close to a dairy in East Texas
    Thanks for the info!

    When you say 960 x 540, do you mean 720 x 540? That's what shows up on my Share screen.
  4. macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Well, to be fair you are comparing original untouched source material to a 540p file that’s been transcoded twice (once to Apple Intermediate Codec and once to MPEG-4 H.264).

    Yeah, it’s difficult to go from 30 FPS to 24 FPS without creating a jerky effect. However, some camcorders offer the ability to shoot in 24 FPS from the get go.
  5. macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2009
    You may be able to do more depending on the camera...I have a canon hf100 that will shoot in 24 p but records 60i. This will import to iMovie as full size 1080 and 30fps. With a little trickery you can pass the imported files thru jes deinterlacer using just inverse telecine move he files back to the events and relaunch iMovie. When exporting to QuickTime you can set the fps to 24 and will properly remove the dummy frames and give you 720p24 with no judder. The key though is having 24p as 60i. These will sync to atv. Also google mycometg3 for a x264 QuickTime component. It's current with x264 and will approximate options in handbrake. Do not use apples h264.
  6. macrumors 601


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    No the bottom one tagged "Large" 960 x 540. Are you using iMovie 9? See the option on the blurred graphic at:

    osohardy does point to another good, easy way to go. If you use Handbrake, you could first render your iMovie at full resolution- say 1980 x 1080p, then run that file through Handbrake with the :apple:TV setting to create the version you'll need to play on the current generation of :apple:TV. That still yields the same combination of (future full 1080p) master and one that will work in the current :apple:TV. That may be just about the best general model for now.

    Again, if you don't keep the original footage, be sure to store that master in ideally 2 places.
  7. macrumors 601


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    True, but that's going to be the situation no matter what with iMovie. And, I notice when I put unprotected DVD footage through the same process (which would also get 2 transcodings) then render, I can't see the obvious difference. So I lay blame for obvious differences more on halving horizontal resolution and halving vertical resolution over the 2 transcode sequences. I'm sure that plays a part as well, but I doubt it plays a very big role all things considered.

    Besides, unless Apple redoes iMovie to let the editing get done right on the raw files, at least 1 transcoding sequence is always going to be required.
  8. macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    My camcorder shoots in 720p and I share with AppleTV all the time with no issues.
  9. macrumors member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Hi I also have a Canon HF100. the camcorder proposes PF24 and 60i settings which I thought were 24fps versus 30fps. I shoot in 60i because I thought this gave better quality but your're saying the PF24 setting is actually recording in 24fps but imported by iMovie as 30fps ?

    Can you explain your trickery, I'm really intersted in getting the best out of the recording for the best ATV playback?


  10. macrumors 68000


    Aug 28, 2007
    SE Michigan
    You mean this chart from Carlton Bale? :rolleyes:

    btw, you do give good advice.
  11. macrumors member

    Jul 7, 2009
    Yeah the HF100 has a couple of different modes, I use "PF24" I believe from camera settings menu. Regardless of the mode, it will store the file as '60i." BUT when you shoot in progressive mode, it really does shoot progressive--it's just that the file is not stored that way. When you shoot 24fps it gets 'telecined' by adding 6 dummy frames every second.

    When you import into IMovie everything is the same, it thinks it is 30 fps and doesn't care, but if you were to go the Events folder in Finder and step thru one of the files frame by frame you would see 'combing,' which comes from getting those extra 6 frames by combining fields from adjacent frames. get the 24fps back you need to 'inverse telecine.' Imovie itself cannot do this. While you can export to any fps, if you just exported to 24fps without inverse telecine it will be jumpy.

    So stay with JES deinterlacer. After you import the footage, close Imovie, go to Finder and drag the .mov files onto the input tab of JES. Select:
    Input Tab:
    --top field in
    --reinterlace chroma
    --video range
    Project tab:
    --inverse telecine
    --standard output
    --reinterlace chroma after inverse telecine
    --detect cadence breaks/suppress scene changes
    --output to 23.976
    Color tab I leave default
    Output tab
    --set output directory
    --Direct output, Apple Intermediate Codec

    When this is done replace the files in the the Imovie Event folder with the JES ones--JES should output the same filename. Relaunch Imovie and good to go. The filename is the timestamp--I've never had any problems with Imovie messing up the dates/times or anything by doing this.

    Still there? Now, assuming NTSC project, Imovie will still want to make this 30fps BUT now it is just adding duplicate frames AND if you export to 24fps it properly removes the dummy frames it added... when you go to export, choose Export to Quicktime and here you can set 24fps and 1280 x 720 and it will not be jerky.

    One final suggestion is to download the x264 quicktime component I mentioned (google mycometg3). All you do is drag it into your /Library/Quicktime folder and it will be available with any program that has Quicktime export. I highly recommend it because (1) x264 is better than Apple's h.264 and (2) it is very current with x264 and will offer many of the x264 options that Handbrake does.

    If you do install it, then go Share-->Export to Quicktime, choose "x264 encoder", set to single pass, restrict to 6000 kb/sec, set FPS to 'custom' and enter 23.976, then hit the 'options' button below the quality slider and a new window will pop up for flags, extra options etc. For apple TV, uncheck 'crf' and WEIGHTB and WEIGHTP, then in 'values' section change 'CABAC' to CAVLC, disable trellis, disable weightp, change bframe stratagy to 'optimal.' ( I think that is it!).

    You should get a great looking smooth 720p24 file that will sync to ATV. It is a LOT at first but once you have it in place not too bad. Of course you could shoot in PF 30, skip the JES stuff, export to 30fps and be done with it and have still a good result but at 540p (Or Apple could update the damn ATV--oh I wish). But in any case I would grab that x264 component and not use Apple's. Also if you SHOOT interlaced I would recommend not going into Imovie directly but de-interlacing first with JES too.

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