iMovie Import does not preserve aspect ratio

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by John.T.Erskine, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. John.T.Erskine macrumors newbie

    Mar 28, 2009
    Every time I import a video into iMovie it gets letterboxed or pillarboxed. I have tried changing all of the settings that seem to make sense to me and I can't get the full video into the editor.

    I am on a MacBook Pro running OSX 10.4.11 with iMovie HD 6.0.3. The video that I'm trying is 720 x 486. I have tried to change the export settings as well, but it seems that the problem originates during the import process.

    Thank you for your help.
  2. xStep macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2003
    Less lost in L.A.
    This may be obvious and unconnected but; you must choose the project aspect ratio when you first create the project. In this case, DV or DV Widescreen.

    Check the iMovie preferences. Under Import you'll see a check box for "Automatic DV Pillarboxing & Letterboxing". Try the opposite from what the setting is.
  3. eddieddu macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2008
    I have the same behavior here with my Canon MV930. It seams that the camera doesn't send the 16:9 information via firewire in the way imovie likes it.

    My solution is:
    1) Import all clips via iMovie HD 6. They are 4:3.
    2) Export all the clips using drag&drop to a folder. You get one .dv file for each clip.
    3) Use MPEG Streamclip to make a batch export to DV of all these files. Use 16:9 for the aspect ratio value.
    4) Create a new iMovie project and import all the converted dv files.
    5) Delete the source files.

    After that all the clips in iMovie are in 16:9 format. The final movie is stil in 16:9 after
    sharing it to iDVD. So it's 16:9 end2end.
    I can not see any quality issue by the conversion. I think there is no re-rendering, only
    a different aspect flag.
    So the solution takes a long time and a lot of disk space. But finally it works ...
  4. jf-uk macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2013
    iMovieHD 6.n wrong-aspect on clip import...

    I know this is an old thread, however this issue has BOTHERED me for ages. I looked it up again and found this thread. So I thought I'd update this story..

    You create an iMovieHD (6.n) DV Widescreen project, and use a firewire connected camera which shoots in 16:9 FHA.. the clips are displayed properly, and NOT mungled in any way. (I like that iMovie6 HD doesn't mess with DV if you're only doing straight cuts and working only with the same)

    But then, you try to drag in a .MOV 16:9 FHA video clip.. it's cropped on the sides. Argh.
    (FHA: Full Height Anamorphic - where there's a squeeze into a 4:3 frame size)

    In my case, with the same clip, recorded to a nNovia Quick Capture off a XL2 in 16:9, if the device is in VTR mode, the clip is laid-in properly. But then if the device is in disk mode, and I drag the same clip onto the iMovie project, the clip takes ages to import, and is converted to 4:3! :confused:

    Hmnn. A .MOV (quicktime) file has frame size info in the header.. iMovie tries to be clever and crops your 4:3 size (720x576 in my case) clip. Useless! Now, a DV stream file is kinda raw, so iMovie just drops it in: read "doesn't convert if it meets the criteria of a DV file"

    So, I finally thought...

    Can't rename the locked .MOV files on the device, but can drag them onto another intermediate disk first. (good safety practise anyhow) Then.. ready? change the extension/suffix of all of the .MOV clips to .DV

    Drag one on.. zzzZip! it thinks a split-second, then copies it in! try another! Hey! that was it.
    (Now to make an apple script to rename all files in a folder from .MOV to .DV )

    I hope this is of some help. As it only applies to DV format video files. ;)

    I note too, that Discreet (Smoke/Flame) has a Quicktime import/export function (Library: Import Image) which specifies .MOV (yet again!) as the format. I tried changing this to .DV and imported the same file straight into its framestore (stone). Voila! And the same is true for export.. it exports a .DV stream file with .MOV as the extension. :D
  5. daybreak macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    Would you occur these issues if you were working in the latest iMovie version?
    What is the status regards updates in those older versions?
    Have you ever thought of working in FCP-X ? has the same feel as iMovie11;)

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