iMovie 11 - poor quality video from hd camcorder

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by stampax, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. stampax macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2007
    Hi all, any help much appreciated. I recently bought a hd camcorder (cannon) and when i watch the movies straight from the camera (plugged into my tv via component) it is very good quality. However, when I import the movie from the camera to iMovie 11 and then play it back on my tv the quality is average at best - and a long way from hd!
    I've had a good play with all the different quality settings when encoding it, am and doing it on e very best quality. Any ideas?
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    What exact Canon camcorder do you have, with what settings do you import the footage, with what application do you play it back to watch it on the TV and how is the Mac connected to the TV to watch the imported file?
  3. stampax thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2007
    Hfr16 is the model. Have imported using a range, all the highest quality though. Have played it back via apple tv (so wirelessly).
  4. dexterdex macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2011
    Are you exporting then streaming from iTunes? Could be the streaming.. How does it look on your Mac?
  5. stampax thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2007
    Just as rubbish!
  6. hatleskog macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2007
    Sadly iMovie versions AFTER iMovie 6 delivers lousy quality. Mostly visible in dark scenes.
    I have tried every possible way to get high quality video output from iMovie '09 and '11. It seems the problem is already there right after importing the video, or rather the way iMovie reads the material: you can se ugly artefact in the preview area in iMovie.

    The bitrate iMovie uses in its exports is a total waste of space, since its so blocky and ugly anyway... converting a high quality 720pmkv file with Handbrake will give you great results with one third the bitrate.

    This issue is so dramatic, it CANT be anything other than deliberate from Apples side. The simply want to sell Final Cut Express instead. Hopefully AFTER you already paid for iMovie... this suck...

    Take a look at the attached image for an example. seriously visible in bad shoots like this... bright backlight kills iMovie.

    Attached Files:

  7. stampax thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2007
    Hmmm interesting. So you reckon if i import exactly the same stuff with final cut express it will look better and be better quality than on
    imovie? poor show from apple if true.
  8. hatleskog macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2007
    If your source video is high quality, try right clicking a clip in iMovie and choose show in finder. Open the clip in QT Player. It probably looks great. The file iMovie createt during import looks great. Playing the clip IN iMovie reveals the same artefacts you see in the exported result. this tells me that this is not the result of compression, but has to do with the way iMovie reads the files(???)

    Download the Final Cut Express trial and import your iMovie project into it. It will give you much improved results.
  9. Flyinmn macrumors newbie

    Apr 11, 2011
    I've noticed the same problem with imovie '09 and now with '11 that I just upgraded to.

    I'd like to use imovie but it dramatically reduces the quality of movies that I import. Is it the consensus that this is just a poor tool?

    I'm importing AVCHD movies from a Sony HDR-CX110. When I import, imovie recommends importing at the lower quality and not the full. What?

    Now, how do you import movies from the iphone 4? The iphone puts the movies into iphoto. The only way to import is to drag them on the desk top and import from the desk top. imovie REALLY reduces the quality when importing an iphone movie. It creates large squares like you're looking through a screen door.

    Any suggestions from someone with experience would be appreciated.
  10. SurfSpirit macrumors member

    Mar 11, 2006
    Apple made this to sell Final Cut Express and now Pro X

    Nothing we can really do to change it, Apple made iMovie this way, also iMovie no longer is non destructive when importing DV footage, no matter if we save to dv again with no effects and transitions, I have made a video with iMovie 11 explaining the problems, but to be honest Apple made this specifically to sell Final Cut Express and now Final Cut Pro X. Even Windows Movie Maker don't have this problems!!!
  11. stampax thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2007
    Cheers for this. Thing is, it isnt the expense of FC that puts me off, its how much more complicated it is for your complete novice like me. I love the ease of using imovie!
  12. Vorsos macrumors newbie


    Mar 25, 2012
    For what it's worth, Final Cut Pro X is much more user-friendly and automated than its predecessor.
  13. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
  14. drewsus macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2012
    iMovie '11 Quality Issue

    Hey, I know a lot of people are having problems with the iMovie '11 import/export quality. It seems that the codec used in iMovie '11 is of lesser quality than other video editing programs like Final Cut Pro or Adobe CS6. With the addition of higher quality codecs, like AppRes422 (used in FCP), iMovie import/export settings can be altered for better results.
    I made a tutorial on what to download and how to use the implements for better results. Video just shows for exporting, but after upgrading the codec, changes in import settings can help maintain video quality. Very easy to do, even for a Mac novice. Instructions included in description, along with links, and programs used. Let me know if this was helpful!
  15. stampax thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 12, 2007
    Thanks - watched the video - very informative will give it a go :)

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