converting MKV to iMovie format

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by 2ms, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. 2ms macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    #1
    I would like to convert a 3GB MKV to something I can work with in iMovie. Usually I convert things to DV in Quicktime 7 Pro because it seems to just work. However, with this 3GB thing my Macbook wants 9 hours to do this conversion and I don't have 9 hours.

    My work computer is a Xeon quad-core i7 with 12GB ram (i.e. million times faster than my Macbook) and I could use it instead but it is a Windows 7-64 machine.

    Does anyone know of a faster or smaller file (than DV) way of getting this video into iMovie?

    Altenatively, does anyone know a Windows application I could use on my work computer to do this conversion of MKV into DV?
     
  2. duky macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #2
    Have you tried the different conversion options in Handbrake? Whenever I convert HD mkv movies to iTunes formats (generally h.264) in handbrake they take no more than 45 minutes on my iMac.
     
  3. 2ms thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    #3
    Which formats are good for bringing things into iMovie without losing bunch of quality? In the past when I have tried converting things to MOV and MPEG4 I feel like iMovie wouldn't work with them. But now I've forgotten which formats exactly they were that didn't work. I've basically just always used DV because I knew it wouldn't lose quality and that it would work. But now I have this 9 hours obstacle which I've never faced before.

    I guess I'll look at Handbrake but what formats should I try? Are not any of the ones that Quicktime Pro 7 will do just as good as anything Handbrake does?
     
  4. duky macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #4
    I believe I've imported MPEG4 files into iMovie without any problems. You can set Handbrake to 100% quality during the conversion and you should not get any quality loss. I'm doing such a conversion from MKV to MP4 and it is quoting me a time of around 1.5 hours. Could be worth a try since it does not take too long.
     

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  5. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    forlod bygningen
    #5
    .mov is a container (format) for storing video and audio using a variety of codecs (like MPEG-4).

    iMovie definitely accepts .mov files using the DV (for SD resolution) or Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC - foe SD & HD resolution), but Handbrake does not offer the .mov format not the codecs I mentioned. I've also seen members mentioning, that iMovie accepts .mp4 file, most probably using the H264 codec, so you you could try that via Handbrake.

    MPEG Streamclip does offer these (DV + AIC), but it won't read .mkv files as far as my experience goes.
    Thus you need to either mux the video to an .mp4 format (for which I currently don't know a program, only the other way around - MKVTools) or use Handbrake first to transcode the .mkv file to an .mp4 file, then use MPEG Streamclip to transcode that .mp4 file to a .mov file using the codecs I mentioned. Also set the audio/sound to uncompressed in MPEG Streamclip's "Export to QuickTime" settings.

    As video editing applications like to have every frame available, and those delivery codecs like H264, Divx and Xvid (MPEG-4 variant) or the MPEG-2 codec (used for video DVDs) don't store every frame, the transcoding is necessary (except with professional codecs and AMA), thus you will get bigger files. 1 hour of DV encoded SD video and audio takes up 12GB of data, 1 hour of AIC encoded HD video and audio takes up to 40GB.

    Btw, Xeon ≠ i7. A Xeon is a server grade CPU found in workstations and servers, the i7 is a different CPU also found in private PCs and workstations. Both belong to the same Nehalem generation though.

    Btw 2, who gave you an .mkv file for working with it?
     
  6. 2ms thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    #6
    Well thanks for the advice. It'll be very handy in future too. Unfortunately, Handbrake looks like it's going to take over 4 hours to convert this movie on my Macbook. I tried installing Handbrake on my work i7 machine but, even though DivX Player will open the movie, for some reason Handbrake won't recognize it as a supported file type. Any other suggestions maybe on why this would be happening or any other Windows tools that might get the job done?
     
  7. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #7
    As spinnerlys said, MKV is just a container; and as with everything in life, it's what's inside that counts.

    Try downloading Perian and MPEG Streamclip. I've had success rewrapping and transcoding MKVs with these two.

    If it opens, hit +I and it'll tell you what codec it is.

    As duky said, certain versions of iMovie will edit H.264, meaning you could just rewrap to MOV (File > Save As > MOV). There's no transcoding so there'll be no picture quality loss and it'll take a matter of seconds, but I'd only recommend this if you have very little editing to do. For anything more I'd recommend exporting to Apple Intermediate Codec (rather than DV) with uncompressed 48kHz audio.
     
  8. 2ms thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    #8
    This is complicated. I need to read a book or something. Just surprised video is so much more difficult than audio. I hate the transcoding that takes almost 5 hours. I got Handbrake to finally do it (after it failed a couple times), and then I import the mp4 into iMovie (which takes another 2.5 hours). So that all works at least though it's annoying as hell. But then once it's in iMovie the quality sucks.

    The movie is a black and white film from the sixties that's nice and sharp. But in iMovie all the darker shades of grey (the ones in shadows in dark) are severely pixelated like there're not nearly enough shades of grey available so it creates really distracting effect of big sections of pixels hopping around between different shades of grey. I'm amazed at how crappy it looks. Most of everything else is alright but any time the people what through some shadows or sit in car or something all of the sudden there's all this extremely distracting pixelation in the lowlights.

    Why would I be getting this? It looks like this both in preview while working in iMove and outputted with highest possible settings. I so notice that in iMovie it has become 960 rather than 1280 resolution even though I selected the option for importing at original resolution.

    I have Perian and MPEG Streamclip but the MKV will only open in Divx player which doesn't seem to have any Save abilities. Why can't iMovie just open the container and bring in the H.264? At least that would maybe get rid of one of the two long wait times. When you talk about exporting to Apple Intermediate Codec, at what stage of things are you referring to? Handbrake only does transcoding to mp4.
     
  9. foz405 macrumors member

    foz405

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Mount Hutton, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
    #9
    You're not kidding !
    I have a Mac G4 Powerbook PPC running Tiger 10.4.11. I've downloaded two versions of Handbrake, neither of which work. One of them actually does open, but when I go to add the mkv file it returns the message next to "Source" - no valid file found. With Quicktime I can save as mov, but although it gives me the subtitles, there isn't any sound. I can convert it to an avi file (no subtitles) with iSkysoft, but then if I take the external subtitles and put them through VisualHub, it quotes me 1226 minutes to finish the file. Longer than anything I've found so far (must be something to do with the conversion).
    I'm about ready to give up unless some kind soul can help. So far I've spent about 24 hours on this as I'm stubborn and would like to find out how to do it.
    Oh, if I load it all through Quicktime, I can view the movie on the computer with sound and subtitles, but I want a file I can take elsewhere.
    MPEG Streamclip is of no assistance here.
    Help, please !
    :mad:
     
  10. foz405 macrumors member

    foz405

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Mount Hutton, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
    #10
    Solution

    Although it won't solve my problem, I'd use iskysoft as it converts these wretched files perfectly. Just as long as you don't have separate subtitles.
    (Yes, I have problems with Handbrake and prefer Visual Hub when possible).
    :D
     

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