Home Movies - Some Questions...

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by rock15478, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. rock15478 macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2007
    Hi guys,

    A few years back, I converted a bunch of 8MM Home Videos by using iMovie HD 6 and capturing .dv footage. I then shared these iMovie edits with iDVD and burned them to DVD...

    Here I am, several years later - and simply want to make ATV3 versions of everything so that I can simply watch these videos on the ATV3. Here's where I'm stuck... If I open up the files in iMovie 6, and do a Share with Quicktime using the highest quality settings - a typical .mov file for a 1-2 hour home video can end up being rather large. The default Share with ATV setting in iMovie 6 doesn't let you change ANY settings whatsoever (which I want to be able to do to make the quality possible). Also, when I go to share with Quicktime, ALL of my chapter markers are lost when I play back through Quicktime or the ATV3 - why is this?

    If I take the .dv files individually and convert to m4v with Handbrake I can create smaller clips and these tend to do better but then I essentially have lost all of my edits and chapter markers from before. Any suggestions?

    I also have a lot of Canon camcorder footage that I've imported from the past current years into the latest version of iMovie - is it typical to share this with Quicktime for ATV or do any of you guys use handbrake instead? What do you do with the raw footage - keep it or throw it after you've encoded?

    Anyone throw their movies in iPhoto for easier viewing with ATV3 rather than iTunes? This thought occurred to me because all of my iPhone videos end up in iPhoto now so my current home videos are in iPhoto but I'm moving all of my past video into iTunes - seems silly to have different years in different places.

    I'm simply trying to develop a workflow that is organized and will be future-proof (and easy to maintain) moving forward into the future. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Any help regarding iMovie vs. Handbrake for exporting files would help a ton.

  2. HobeSoundDarryl, Apr 26, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Hi, I've been you before- same situation, same kind of goals, etc.

    Best option in a nutshell, download FCPX trial so you can get the Quicktime codecs for pro. This will add options like Pro Res to your output options. Output all of your old videos from iMovie 06 to Pro Res. This should preserve your Chapter Markers in the Pro Res file. Check one in Quicktime before going further and you see see your chapter markers are preserved.

    Pro Res files will be HUGE. Use Handbrake on them to turn them back into a .m4v file. I suggest choosing the High Profile setting but you can also choose the very similar :apple:TV3 profile. Both will play fine on the "3". Since quality is your goal, consider pulling the constant quality slider down from the default of 20 to maybe 19. Much more than that is probably overkill. Choose "Web Optimized" so the stream will be quicker to start playing when you want to watch it. Make sure your chapter markers are checked "on" in Handbrake.

    8mm originals probably means they are interlaced files. Go into "Picture Settings", Filters in Handbrake and choose Decomb: Default. That should get rid of interlacing lines in the final output.

    I've tried lots of options over the years from iMovie and eventually just gave up on it and bought FCP X for all of my movie editing. It's way overkill for typical home movie editing but it's also much more capable and has abilities far beyond iMovie. I could never get the desired high quality level I was seeking in iMovie output and this solved that problem. FCP X to Pro Res to Handbrake seemed to be THE way to maximize visual quality from import to final render.

    The iPhoto storage option is easy but I personally much prefer taking all of our video and properly editing it into final form, then rendering it as a .m4v. Tag it using Meta Z or similar with great descriptions & a poster image and you end up with all of your home movies readily available and playable on :apple:TV. It's really great when you just go all the way with them: import, edit, chapter markers, export to Pro Res, render with Handbrake, thoroughly tag with Meta Z or similar and add to iTunes for management. I tag all of ours as "TV Shows" instead of "Movies" so they are separate from the movies section and they easily organize by year when tagged as TV shows.

    Home movies are the rare digital assets that will grow in personal value with each passing year. Prepare them well for your long-term future viewing and they'll bring you much joy for the rest of your life. It is totally worth the time & trouble- especially when you have many years between when they were shot and when you are viewing them. It's like bringing people back to life and getting to get reacquainted with very nuance details about loved ones that can be lost as our brains age.
  3. rock15478 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2007
    Thank you so much for the info! I actually do own Final Cut Pro X already (I use this for my HD editing currently) but I figured it would be a major pain to import all of my old iMovie 6 projects into Final Cut (since I already did the editing and chapter markers years ago). I also am not sure how easy it is to get iMovie 11 events into Final Cut. I pretty much only have been using it for current (this year) events.

    When sharing via iMovie 6, there are multiple options for Pro Res. There is a Pro Res 422 (HQ) and then just regular Pro Res 422 - which one do I use?

    Also, what do you do for audio? Does Linear PCM work for ATV or should I use AAC? Or should I let Handbrake do this? You don't select "De-interlace" inside of iMovie do you? (Again, I assume this is why you're using Decomb in Handbrake).

    I could have sworn I read on another thread either here on MacRumors or the Apple discussions quite some time ago that iMovie 6's sharing to Quicktime Movie with H.264 actually had better results than Handbrake, and that it was the newer versions of iMovie that were the problem. I assume you've done real-world testing comparing the two? I myself seem to trust Handbrake a lot more for my encoding rather than iMovie or even Final Cut Pro.

    Thanks for all the advice thus far. Do you delete the Pro Res files after you do your Handbrake .m4v since you still presumably have your original source in either iMovie or Final Cut Pro? Do you generally keep all these raw files still?

    Thanks so much!
  4. rock15478 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2007
    I did this but still don't see any chapter markers when viewing in Quicktime. I also don't see them when I select the Pro Res file as the source in Handbrake. Do chapter markers only work when sharing with iDVD in this version of iMovie? That's all I've ever had as output from iMovie 6 but have kept it around with all the original projects for specifically this reason - that I may need to do this someday.

    Do you keep these around or delete them after you Handbrake them?

    Thanks so much!
  5. HobeSoundDarryl, Apr 28, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    What version of Quicktime are you using (in trying to see Chapter markers)? It's been a while since I did it but I'm pretty confident I didn't have to export to iDVD to preserve Chapter Markers through this workflow. I had to look up the process. Here you go...

    You need Quicktime 7 Pro. To add chapters to the movie you exported from iMovie, do this:

    1. Locate the files iMovie keeps ready to share to iDVD -- a movie which includes chapters -- inside the iMovie HD project package. To look inside the package, Control-click on the project icon and choose "Show Package Contents" from the popUp menu. The movie for iDVD is in the Shared Movies > iDVD folder. Double-click on it to open in QuickTime Player. The chapters should appear in the lower-right corner.

    2. Press Command-J. A window will open that lists the various tracks that comprise the movie. Click on the "Chapter" track, then press the "Extract" button at the top of the window. A new movie window will open, containing the Chapter track only. (You won't see anything.)

    3. Activate the chapter-only movie and choose Edit > Select All. Copy. Close the chapter-only movie without saving.

    4. Open the movie you exported from iMovie. Choose Edit> Select All. Choose Edit > Add to Movie, which Pastes the Chapter track that's on the Clipboard into your exported movie.

    5. Press Command-J. Click on the Video Track, then the Other Settings tab at the bottom of the window. Set the "Chapters" popUp menu to "Chapter Track". (That sets the Video Track to use your chapters.)

    6. Activate the movie window. It should now show chapters in the lower-right corner.

    7. Save. They should be there after this.

    8. Handbrake per prior notes. Wallah!

    No, I don't keep the Pro Res files around after I render (and check) them via Handbrake. Since I have the original iMovie or FCPX files, no need to burn that much space to save 1 step if I wanted to run them through Handbrake again. I could always just export them as Pro Res again.

    Per post #3. Pro res not HQ, let handbrake set the audio by using a Handbrake preset, it's been a long time on head-to-head testing and I've stuck with Handbrake ever since (including much later tests vs Compressor too) but things could have improved since back then, Decomb (in Handbrake) not Deinterlace in QT (Decomb does a great job with old interlaced video- try it).

    Lastly, going forward & since you have both, I encourage you to proceed with FCP X. It's not a much bigger learning curve vs. iMovie (especially how '06 works) and it gives you many options that are still not there in iMovie (Dolby Digital for example if your camera captures it). Chapter markers are now very easy in the latest FCP X (that process listed above is not necessary- the Pro Res render will have the Chapter markers already in place, ready for Handbrake). Personally, I just have more confidence in FCP X than iMovie. I'll give that the latter is probably easier to pick up but the former is really quick and feature-loaded (and freshened up with new features more regularly). All the old stuff already edited in iMovie should probably be kept for the future (H.265 will show up before we know it), but new stuff you shoot now probably should be edited & rendered from FCP X since you already have it.

    Frankly, FCP X felt more like an iMovie 06 followup to me than iMovie 08, 09 and 11. Sometimes "for dummies" simplicity isn't the most desirable (IMO).
  6. rock15478 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2007
    I followed all of these steps exactly all the way through #6 (the chapter markers show up in the prores file in the lower-right corner of Quicktime).

    When I Command-S or File Save, I hear the Apple error sound like it won't take it but I see no error message on the screen. I can do a Save As and rename the file but this takes FOREVER as it literally copies the huge prores file again.

    I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong here - it literally has the chapters inside of Quicktime but it's not letting me save it. If I try to exit, it asks me if I want to save changes, but when I click to save - it gives me the same error beep.

    I'm using Quicktime Pro 7.6.6 (1709).


    I also have one either weird question. If I Handbrake the original .dv file from my iMovie HD project (located in the Project-->Show Package Contents-->Media-->.dv file) - the resulting .m4v file has a slightly different viewing experience than the iMovie HD project to ProRes output that was ran through Handbrake.

    For example, the image seems slightly stretched on the .m4v from the prores file and not as bright but the one from the .dv file seems correct in terms of proportion (has wider black bars on both sides when viewed on 50" plasma TV)
    and not as bright. How could this be? Did I mess something up inside of my project years ago when I did this or did I screw something up in Handbrake? There's a part of me that is just considering taking the raw .dv files and just re-editing everything in Final Cut Pro X. I'm a bit confused - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks so much for all the help so far!
  7. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Sorry Rock, I can't remember exactly what happened there. I converted my iMovie 06 archives quite a long time ago (when FCP X first came out and I got that Pro Res codec for Quicktime). I know I used that process because I stored that list with my iMovie 06 archives in case I ever had to do it again. Maybe I did just "save as" and wait out the "forever" before moving on to Handbrake to make the :apple:TV version. Maybe "save as" is taking forever because it is making a copy of the huge pro res file as part of the save process? I just can't remember.

    Why don't you pick the shortest home movie you have that has at least 1 or 2 chapter markers in it (or just shoot a 3 minute video of a plain white wall and stick 2 or 3 chapter markers in that), send it through the process and then try "save as" to gauge if it too is forever or not quite forever (since it should be a much smaller file). If it works, consider just waiting out bigger iMovie files (set up the "save as" before you go to bed and hopefully forever will pass overnight).

    If you try that shortest movie file and "save as" still actually takes forever, let me know and I'll dig the archives back out and generate a new one myself to see if I can figure it out.

    As to the DV direct question vs. iMovie version (brightness, aspect ratio differences), there are so many variables in that question, it would be hard to offer much help. Converting direct from DV is going to maximize quality because there is not a generational loss from DV-iMovie-m4v (but of course, this sacrifices editing benefits). I also noticed iMovie seemed to "rob" the final of some brightness back when I was using it (I've read something about QT gamma issues/bug back then). Another reason to go FCP X going forward.

    Aspect ratio (width of final) is a whole can of worms. It could be the import into iMovie years ago, it could be something in your export settings from iMovie, etc. Handbrake has options to alter aspect ratio but that can turn into a guessing game if you are trying to target a "squeeze" to get it back to how it looks in the original DV.

    If you really want to maximize, consider going back to your originals and kicking iMovie out of the equation. Get DV into FCP X, redo your Chapter Markers in FCP X, export to Pro Res, Handbrake to m4v. You could have both iMovie and FCP X open at the same time to speed up the process of duplicating Chapter marker locations and all of that. But that can be a big job depending on how much old iMovie video you have.

    You could also do various experiments with your iMovie export options to try to correct brightness, etc. but I personally never found a solid workflow for iMovie when quality maximization was the paramount concern. iMovie is very easy for the masses to make edited home movies. I don't know if the max quality hounds can actually get what they want out of it.

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