Converted AVI to DV, playback still choppy in iMovie?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by timetostopnow, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. timetostopnow macrumors newbie

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    #1
    So I am new to iMovie and trying to figure it out. I don't have a camcorder, but I took some videos on my digital camera (Canon Powershot SD1000).

    I don't have a firewire cable for this camera, just USB so I can't really capture it into iMovie, so I exported it to my Powerbook. Unfortunately it saves it to AVI, 15 fps.

    I imported the AVI into iMovie and the playback was choppy, so I figured I should first use Quicktime Pro to export it to a DV Stream.

    So then I imported my new DV movie into iMovie but the playback is still choppy. It makes editing the video impossible! The audio is not choppy, but it does not match up with the video. The video lags behind the audio.

    Now this could be my problem, but I'm not sure: All I did with QT Pro was I just opened the AVI then chose "Export" and then chose "Movie to DV Stream" but I left the settings on "Default Settings." Should I have picked a different setting?

    Also, when I opened Movie Inspector in QT Pro, it shows that my DV is 29.97 fps and 640 x 480 pixels. I verified that my project in iMovie is set to 29.97 fps, but I can't find where to set the pixels.

    What should I do?

    Thanks
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #2
    First, 29.97 frames and 640x480 are the settings for the NTSC broadcast standard, so if you selected NTSC DV in iMovie it is completely fine.

    Also, when you exported the video via QT (Pro), did you notice a speed up in the resulting video?

    You're basically changing from 15 frames to almost 30 frames per second, that's double the speed.
    I haven't a 15fps video with me right now, but maybe QT Pro will lengthen and interpolate the missing frames, so 15 frames will become 29.97 frames per second, without speeding up the video.

    What are your audio settings/sample rate in the original .avi file (44.100 kHz or 48.000 kHz) and the sample rate in the resulting DV encoded .mov?

    Maybe you could try MPEG Streamclip to export the .avi to .mov.
     
  3. timetostopnow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Hey thanks for replying

    Well, I don't see a NTSC DV option to select in iMovie HD, there is only "DV" and that is what I selected. Is that okay?

    No, not a speed up really, in fact it looks as if it slowed down. The audio is still the same speed (sounds the same), but the video is choppy and it is a tiny bit behind the audio. Like you hear the words before someone's mouth moves to say them.

    Movie Inspector shows the original .avi file is 44.100 kHz (Mono) and the DV version is 32.000 kHz (Stereo).

    Is that right?

    Okay. I tried doing this, but there were so many options in there so I just used the default settings (Apple Motion JPEG A, 640 x 480, unscaled).

    I played the resulting .mov file in QT and it was fine. Then I imported it into iMovie (with "DV" as the setting) and it was the same thing: choppy playback and the video was out of sync with the audio.

    Then I created a new Project using "MPEG" as the setting just to try it, and the playback is great.

    Did I do this right? Is it okay to edit it now? And also... what format am I supposed to export it to?

    Thanks again,

    Mike
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #4
    Answers in the quotes, bold.

     
  5. timetostopnow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Okay well, when I start iMovie and then select "Create New Project" a screen comes up asking me to type in a title and then a dropdown menu called "Video Format" is there, but there is no NTSC or PAL.

    The only options are:

    DV
    DV Widescreen
    HDV 1080i
    HDV 720p
    MPEG-4
    iSight

    Okay I tried this. First I loaded the .avi in QT and exported it to DV (Export: Movie to DV Stream) then I went into Options and changed the kHz from 32,000 to 44.100. It still changes it from Mono to Stereo though. I'm not sure how to control that.

    I played the DV in QT. Choppy. Then I imported the resulting DV into iMovie and same thing. The thing is... the video is slightly behind the audio, though the audio sounds fine. No choppiness with the audio and it all sounds like the same pitch and tempo I recorded it at. It's the video that is out of synch with the audio, I think, and not vice versa.

    I was confused by your picture. I didn't know if you wanted me to use "Apple Motion JPEG A" or "H.264" so I tried both. Both resulted in choppy playback like all my previous DV movies.

    I am also confused by your suggestion to use these codecs in MPEG Streamclip, because originally you told me to export my .avi to .mov, no?

    But If I export an .avi file to DV stream (using QT or MPEGStreamclip), the resulting file doesn't have the extension "mov." It makes a file called "filename.DV," so it is not a .mov file, is it? Am I supposed to be exporting to DV or MOV?

    Yes, that's right. I used MPEGStreamclip to convert the .avi file to a .mov file (based on your first suggestion). Then I opened iMovie, and selected "Create New Project" and in the "Video Format" dropdown menu, I selected "MPEG-4." Then I imported the .MOV file into iMovie and for some reason it played perfectly. Everything was in sync.

    I'm really confused. Sorry I am so dumb. lol
     
  6. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #6
    Thanks for the info. I saw some iMovie screenshots, were there was a DV NTSC or DV PAL setting.
    It's not important for this, but NTSC has a 640x480 resolution with 29.97 frames, and PAL has a resolution of 768/720x576 with 25 frames.

    Could you provide sample files, one source file (directly from the camera), 10 seconds, and one conversion you made of that file?
    I could see, what one could do with that.


    Sorry for the confusion, it is a picture I found on the www. I wanted you to use the Apple - DV/DVCPro - NTSC codec.

    .mov, .avi, .dv, .mp4., .mkv are all containers not codecs. You can use any of those containers with a lot of codecs.
    .dv is a special container meant for videos encoded with the DV codec, but there are also .mov and .avi files containing video encoded with the DV codec. The DV codec is meant for capturing and storing footage from a DV tape.
    [​IMG]

    You're not dumb, just ignorant (not knowing what to do).
    I was there too, it takes some time to get to not be confused all that technobabble.
    I recently was on a forum talking about drilling oil, and I felt dumbfounded just by their technobabble.

    So, if you could provide some samples, I would be glad to see what I can do.

    You could use this (http://www.yousendit.com/) and give us the link.
     
  7. timetostopnow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Oh I see. So I guess I would want NTSC in this case?

    Right. I just tried this a few seconds ago. Unfortunately, it is the same result. It produces a MOV file, and when I play it in either QT or iMovie, it is all choppy and the video is lagging behind.

    Oh okay, that makes sense actually. So that is why I am supposed to have iMovie set on "DV" Video format, yes?

    Yeah, I just figured what with all the ridiculous videos on Youtube (people falling off bikes or setting themselves on fire), that even a non-techie like me would be able to film and upload a movie. Apparently, "boy jumps off roof" is more tech-savvy than I am. That is a scary thought haha

    Hmm I thought I had figured out how to trim the movie in QT but apparently not!

    The original file from my camera is .AVI format. So I loaded it into QT and marked in and out points for 10 seconds and chose "Trim to Selection," but then whenever I try to re-save it, it comes out as MOV instead of AVI?!

    I'm not sure how to keep it in its standard AVI format, because that is the original source. That was the file format it was in when I uploaded it to my hard drive from my camera.
     
  8. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #8
    DV should be the best way to edit with your kind of source file.

    What about shooting a small sample with your camera?

    Or you can use MPEG Streamclip to trim the .avi and save it as an .avi. Be sure to make a backup of the file you wanna trim first, so you don't overwrite it.
     
  9. timetostopnow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Okay, I did it with MPEG Streamclip.

    Here is the link to my original .AVI file from my digital camera:

    https://rcpt.yousendit.com/696855280/0175ca67be5a2d9a7a6f982f5f50375d

    Here is the link to my resulting .MOV file when using the "Export to Quicktime" option in MPEG Streamclip with the "Apple DV/DVCPRO NTSC" compression format:

    https://rcpt.yousendit.com/696857972/c566be2b84152f9c4ba91d7cca0a6097

    Here are the settings I used:

    [​IMG]

    Here is the link to my resulting .DV file when using the "Export to DV" option in MPEG Streamclip (I had to ZIP this one as yousendit didn't seem to like the DV extension for some reason):

    http://rcpt.yousendit.com/696863128/e24edca96aa3f78df22b01a7603521ae

    Here are the settings I used:

    [​IMG]

    And in case you wanted it, here is the link to my resulting .MOV file when using the "Export to Quicktime" option in MPEG Streamclip with the "Apple Motion JPEG A" compression format (the only one that has played back okay for me so far):

    http://rcpt.yousendit.com/696860294/43ece4dce9bc7bdac9b634e35cee276c

    And here are the settings I used:

    [​IMG]

    Thanks again for all your help, spinnerlys!
     
  10. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #10
    Thanks for the files, I will have a look at them later, as I now have to go to the bed after a boring nightshift.

    As far as I can tell now from the screen shots, the one where you used the Apple Motion JPEG A codec, the video wasn't scaled.

    Also you you could try, if setting the quality slider under the codec drop down menu to maximum will help any kind of export.

    Have a good day/night.


    PS: I took a quick look with the QT Player at the videos, and none played choppy.
    All videos had a frame rate of 15 frames, except the one encoded with the Apple DV/DVCPro codec. Also the bitrate was 50Mbit/s, which means 6.25 MByte/s. A PowerBook should play such files with ease, as I already edited a video with my 5 year old iBook (G4 with 1.067GHz and 1.25GB RAM) with the normal DV codec (25Mbit/s) in Avid, and the files were stored on an external FW drive.

    What springs to my mind now, before I further investigate is using a software called XBench to test the speed of the drive, where the file is playing from and post the results here. Also have a look at Activity Monitor, when you play the DV/DVCpro encoded files and/or in iMovie.
    Maybe the CPU is really busy.

    PPS: Don't forget to show All Processes in Activity Monitor.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #11
    Ha, I couldn't go to bed.

    So here is what I did.

    I opened iMovie '08, created a new project (4:3), set it to NTSC in iMovie's preferences, went to File > Import Movies > choose your original .avi file, it took my computer (an MBP with 2.53GHz) around 13 seconds to import it, and it plays just fine without choppiness or out of synch audio.

    I think the root of your problems could be your PowerBook and depending on how fast/slow it is, its capacity to handle that video.

    What PowerBook do you have? G3, G4? How many of those wonderful (mega/giga)hertz?
     
  12. timetostopnow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    I tried this with the DV/DVCPRO compression, and the .MOV played back even more choppy than before on QT and about the same amount of choppiness in iMovie.

    Yeah, I never have any trouble playing any other videos with QT.

    That's weird, Movie Inspector on my powerbook showed that the one encoded with Apple DV/DVCPro codec is 15 fps??? What does it show for you? It shows them all at 15fps except for the "Export to DV" one, which is 29.97 fps.

    Okay, I did the XBench test and the results are here (I saved it to PDF):

    https://rcpt.yousendit.com/697264004/d6be0e23706fdbb4f7bba0ade79fc6d1

    Yeah it looks like it! That's really weird. So my powerbook is just too crappy to play back these movies? That sucks. I thought it would have no problem since I use Logic Pro to record and edit music all the time ??

    But it looks like you're right. It's in the eighties for User when I'm playing the .MOV file in both QT and iMovie. I'm guessing that's not normal, right?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    lol

    See I can't find any option in iMovie to set it to "4:3" or "NTSC." That's strange. And it takes my powerbook about the same amount of time to import it. About 15 seconds or so. But then it plays all ******!?

    Yeah I think you're right. So is the final solution just that I need a new computer? Cuz I'm broke right now lol.... Is there any other option? What if I encode in the Apple Motion JPEG A codec and then create a project in MPEG-4 format in iMovie? Or would that end up looking like crap when I export it?

    I have an external hard drive. Would that help at all?

    I have a Powerbook (PowerPC) G4 with 1.5 GHz
     
  13. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #13
    Hello again.

    The XBench results look okay, nothing fancy, but you HDD should be capable to play your videos.

    I just have opened your videos on my old iBook (G4, 1GHz, 1.25GB RAM, Mac OS X 10.5.5) with QT Player 7.5.5 and all played fine, without choppiness or out of synch audio.
    The CPU was used between 45-55% by QT Player when playing all videos, except the DV encoded one (32MB) needed 55-65% CPU usage.


    Here are my XBench results for the iBook:

    Sequential:
    write: 17.52 and 15.06MB/s
    read 13.95 and 16.96 MB/s

    Random:
    write 0.84 and 9.53MB/s
    read 0.34 and 9.83MB/s

    So you see, I have a slower machine.

    I'm really at my wits end, why your more capable PB is slower than my slower iBook.

    And yes, using an external FireWire drive will help editing video, as it has its own HDD, instead of using the internal one whic is also used by your software and the OS.

    Have you the possibility to re-install your system?
    Or clean it with a software called Onyx?
    Or is your HDD full? Could you delete something or move it somewhere else?

    It's best to leave 20% of your storage capacity free (20GB of a 100GB HDD should be free).



    PS: Here are the setting I used for the iMovie '08 project.

    New Project window
    [​IMG]


    iMovie Preferences (CMD+,) > Video Standard
    [​IMG]
     
  14. timetostopnow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    So should I move just the videos I'm editing to my external drive, and save my iMovie projects there so that iMovie is loading them all off the external drive?

    Okay, well I did "Get info" on my hard drive and it came up with this:

    Capacity 74.41 GB
    Available 13.9 GB
    Used 60.5 GB on disk

    Not quite 20% free, so I deleted some stuff, and freed up a bit more than 20% (just to be sure).

    Here is my "Get info" now:

    Capacity: 74.41 GB
    Available: 28.06 GB
    Used: 46.34 GB on disk

    I tried playing the DV/DVCPRO .MOV file in QT and same thing. Still choppy playback. Incidentally, the "playline" at the bottom of the Quicktime window seems to move smoothly. It doesn't stop or stutter or anything.

    See I don't have any of those preferences. I guess we have different versions. Mine says it is: iMovie HD 6.0 (233) in the "About iMovie" section.

    When I first launch iMovie, this is the screen I get:

    [​IMG]

    And then after selecting "Create a New Project," I get this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And then after selecting one of the 6 formats, it fully opens to this:

    [​IMG]

    This is the Preferences section:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Maybe I need to upgrade to '08 version?
     
  15. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #15
    Okay, I've tried it with my iBook and iMovie HD (version 6), and I have to say, I didn't encounter any choppiness or out of synch audio (again) by just importing the source .avi file and playing it back via iMovie.

    That got me thinking and maybe I misunderstood you somehow.

    What do you mean with this choppy playback, where can it be seen?

    I seem to see some kind of little choppiness on your playing right hand, but that's because the video was taken with 15 frames per second and is now being played back with 29.97 frames/s in NTSC, and it wouldn't disturb me, knowing the source.

    Also I used the DV preset when the project was created, and in the Preferences you can change the frame rate, which I set to 29.97 frames.
    Maybe, as this is surely not meant for being played back via a TV station, you could try it with 25 frames/s.

    What would this thread be without a post that doesn't have some kind of screenshot:
    [​IMG]

    What's the song by the way? I would like to here the rest after all the "save me"s.

    PS: You can take smaller screenshot by using CMD+SHIFT+4 and select the area, which you want to be captured. Or use Grab for precise window capture - Applications > Utilities > Grab , as the commands for this via CMD+SHIFT+1-4 don't work, for me at least.
     
  16. timetostopnow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Well, the right hand doesn't go with the strumming you hear. Also, the left hand is behind each chord change (so you hear the chord change first and then you see my left hand change after), and my mouth moving is behind the vocals, like those old dubbed Japanese movies. It's about two or three words behind where it should be.

    What I'm trying to do is record myself playing/singing this song for my students, so that they can see how to play it, how the strum pattern goes and what the chord changes look like on the neck of the guitar. But it would be impossible for them to figure out the strum pattern with the way it's playing back since it is all out of sync, ya know?

    Okay, I just tried this and it's pretty much the same thing. Still out of sync, except this time at the top of the window, instead of saying "DV-NTSC" it says "DV-PAL."

    And yeah, whenever I create a new project, I choose "DV."

    This is so weird. Why is my computer the only one that does this? lol

    It's a cover of a song called "Save Me," by Aimee Mann. I'll send you the link to it! It's one of my favorite songs.

    Ah cool, I didn't know that!
     
  17. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #17
    Thanks for the song title, I think I have the song, if it's on Bachelor Nr. 2 or the blue album after that.

    My point of reference for looking if the video is out of synch, is to look at the lips and listen to the text, as I can't use guitar play methods.
    And for me the lips moved accordingly to the lips in iMovie on my iBook G4, so I don't really know how this might occur on your faster PowerBook.

    So now I would try to Repair Permissions, Repair Disk, reset SMC and PRAM with the help of the installer DVD and some keyboard shortcut.

    As I'm currently on the move and out of town, I can't get into detail, but a search engine of your choice will help you find answers.

    Also MRoogle has some information to offer to maybe speed up you PB.

    Tomorrow or the day after I'm back in town and will have maybe more insights.

    Have a good day.
     
  18. timetostopnow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    I first heard it in the movie "Magnolia," it's on the soundtrack for sure. I think she does the whole soundtrack actually. Great song.

    Cool. Well I googled how to do the "Repair Permissions," and I think I did it right. I just went to Applications > Utilities > Disk Utility and then hit the "Repair Disk Permissions" button. Didn't take long. Now I did this with "Macintosh HD" highlighted, but there is another one above it called "74.5 GB TOSHIBA." Should I repair it for that one too?

    Anyway, it didn't seem to do anything. I tried to play the DV that I exported with MPEGStreamclip in QT and iMovie, and both were the same result. My lips are still out of sync with the singing and hand is still off with the strumming.

    I was going to do "Repair Disk," as you suggested but it is greyed out (it won't let me press it) in Disk Utility. I haven't reset SMC or PRAM yet. Should I go ahead and do this?

    Thanks
     
  19. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #19
    Ah, I remember now where I heard it from. Magnolia, a little gem.

    So, on PPC machines it's called the PMU reset, instead of SMC reset, and here is the Apple support page for this: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1431

    Resetting the PRAM: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1379

    The icon on the top of Disk Utility which has 74.5 GB TOSHIBA written on the side, is your actual HDD, an 80GB Toshiba HDD, and the volumes/partitions are listed underneath it like a tree. You'll most likely only have one volume/partition.

    For repairing the (boot) disk: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1417 , go down til the section with Disk Utility and the Install DVD.

    All those are just worth a try, as there might be something wrong with your system, if your PB can't handle a simple video, my iBook can.

    Good luck trying those steps, and report back.
     
  20. timetostopnow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #20
    Dude!

    I was reading on this forum:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1562300&tstart=150

    ...that some people have had trouble with QT version 7.5 with crappy playback (and I have version 7.5.0). I didn't think it would work, since the playback errors were with QT *and* iMovie but just for fun, I updated to 7.6.2 and somehow... it fixed everything! All of the MOV and DV files play perfectly now in Quicktime AND in iMovie, even the long ones with the whole song!

    Don't ask me how updating QT affects the playback in iMovie, but I guess it does???!

    I can't tell you how happy I am right now lol

    Okay, so last question for you I think:

    Does it matter now if I edit with the .MOV file (the DV/DVCPRO one) or the .DV file? And if it's the DV file, which of the 3 compression types should I pick in MPEGStreamClip when exporting to DV?

    [​IMG]

    For my test just now, I used the one at the very top. It played fine in QT and iMovie, but I didn't try exporting it from iMovie yet.

    Anyway, now that the hard part is over with, I guess I now need to edit and export this bitch for Youtube. lol

    Thank you very much again for all your help!
     
  21. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #21
    That's funny how such a small thing could lead to such a lively, but somehow fruitless topic, and in the end it was just a proper update, that had to be done.

    I don't know what QT version I have on the iBook right now, but I will check it later when I have access to it again. I just didn't know about that QT issue.

    Also editing with either the .dv file or the .mov file should be fine, but why don't you just use the .avi and import it into iMovie, one compression step less in the whole process?

    And if you use MPEG Streamclip the DV25 preset will work fine, DVCPro is made for Panasonic DVCPro cassettes for recording the DVCPro standard and DVCPro 50 just takes up twice as much space.

    Have fun editing and put the link in here if you're finished with it, would you?



    And the infamous image....
    [​IMG]
     
  22. timetostopnow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #22
    Oh right... since they are all containers it doesn't really matter right? I'll just use AVI then to minimize any loss of quality. But do I still select "DV" as the Video Format at the beginning when I create a new project?

    Will do! Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.

    lol... poor kitty
     
  23. timetostopnow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #23
  24. timetostopnow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #24
  25. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #25
    Hey, I can't watch those videos, as they are private.

    How can I do this?

    Do I have to accept some kind of invitation?
     

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