Help with MPEG-2

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Roguepirate, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. Roguepirate macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2007
    Hello everybody i just got my first mac a few days ago (SR MBP) and I tried using imovie to edit my MPEG-2 files i had from my Hauppage DVR and found out imovie doesn't support MPEG-2. I've combed the forum and the net to see if there is a solution but there wasn't anything really answering my questions

    Is there a way to add MPEG-2 support to iMovie?

    If i convert my MPEG-2 into a compatible format will i lose any video quality in the process? any suggestions on which format to convert to?

    Thanks in advance, and sorry if this has already been posted.
  2. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    I think you need the MPEG-2 codec for Quicktime. You buy it from Apple for $20. Here.
  3. mwsh2000 macrumors newbie

    Jul 13, 2006
    You need to convert it to another format...

    I had a similar problem when I got my first Mac. All of my home movies were in MPEG 2. If you buy the Quicktime upgrade, you'll be able to view the movies in Quicktime, but I don't think they will work in iMovie. There is a free program called MPEG Streamclip that you can use to convert the MPEG 2 files to DV. I've been told that MPEG is not really an editing format, and this is why it isn't supported by iMovie. Also note that the DV files are huge (about 12G for an hour).

    I can also recommend Visualhub which is well worth the cost. It is very simple to use, and it gives you a ton of formats that you can convert to.

    I don't think you lose anything by switching to another format. I would suggest either DV (both programs) or MP4 (only if using VisualHub I think) for the format. Some may notice a quality difference, but I never did. If you use MP4, make sure you use the H264 codec. It takes a long time to convert, but the picture is much better in my opinion.

    I hope this helps!
  4. SigmundFraud macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2007
    Mac Paradox

    There is good news and bad news. The MPEG-2 component of quicktime will let you import into iMovie, but it will all be converted to the nominated format at the iMovie start-up. I'd choose DV or DV-Widescreen - with HUGE files. The conversion is lossless but when you go back to mpeg2 this will be lossy.

    Here resides the Mac Paradox. If you're a professional, you wouldn't edit mpeg2. If you're a consumer, you shouldn't notice the difference. On the PC, perfectionistic consumers are catered for. Clunky programs like Nero let you do lossless, frame accurate edits of mpeg2's with only the GOPs around the edits and transitions recalculated (and thus degraded). Frame accurate mpeg2 edits on the mac require recoding of the whole file. There is no Universal application that only recalculates around the edits at this time.

    This said, iMovie lets you make movies quickly, while a program like Nero gets in the way. The coding might be smarter, but you'll never make a good movie with Nero. I say, live with the small limitations of iMovie - only you will notice the degradation, and only if you look very closely.
  5. Monyx macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2005
    Are sure about this? E.g. MpegStreamClip documentation states,

    Loading MPEG2 stream, editing then using 'Save As' apparently does have an encoding step involved, therefore only recalculating around the edits.
  6. SigmundFraud macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2007
  7. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

    Nov 14, 2007
    I'm currently in the same situation as the original poster.

    There is another option, Capty MPEG Edit EX. It's a bit sluggish on my intel Mac Mini because it runs on Rosetta only, but at least it supports MPEG2 with Dolby muxed. I hope they release an Intel updated version soon otherwise I'd be a bit annoyed. I couldn't find a demo version to test before shelling out my hard earned for this software, but if the original poster is using a PPC Mac, this could be ideal.

    It's not my ideal solution with an Intel Mac, indeed I may just use my existing PC software solution (Womble MPEG Video Wizard) via virtualisation software. This also support AC3 muxed MPEG2 files and only recalculates around the edit points. The original poster may want to consider this as an option if they are running an Intel Mac.

    That's the great thing about Intel Macs. Not only does it ease the transition from PC to Mac, but it allows existing Mac users from the ability to run niche software written only for the PC.

    I really hope Apple bucks their ideas up and supports MPEG better via Quicktime - i.e. includes Dolby Digital AC3 muxed MPEG2, if only for playback!
  8. SigmundFraud macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2007
    So it works?

    Glad to hear Capty works on an intel - wasn't brave enough to pay the money on spec. Capty do have an intel version but available only in japan packaged with some TiVo-like device. This seems to be their new focus with no indication of an international/ software-only version. I think you're probably right that virtualization is the way forward. I'm not sure if I think that this is a great thing about the Mac - it means that there is little market pressure for niche products to ever be developed on the Mac - leaving us with the same flakey PC apps we fled to this platform to escape.
  9. RemarkabLee macrumors 6502a

    Nov 14, 2007
    I've not gone back to this issue recently, but yes capty 'works' but not well enough for the price. I'll update this thread again on my findings on the other solutions I find. It would solve so many problems if Apple updated their MPEG2 QT plugin though...

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