iMovie quadruples file size from my Canon HD camera

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by jeffnebraska, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. jeffnebraska macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #1
    One of the main reasons I bought a Mac was easy handling of my HD videos. I obviously was ignorant on the limitations of iMovie.

    I've learned to live with all of them except the darn multiplication of file sizes. A two-hour HD video that takes up 35 gigs on the camera is taking up 133 gigs on my hard drive when imported into iMovie. :mad: At that pace, my Mac hard drive will be full in no time and even my external drives (2 1TB drives) won't keep up for long.

    From what I've read, I fear there's no good solution for this in iMovie, which is a real bummer. Please tell me I'm wrong.

    Would the situation be dramatically better if I splurged on Final Cut Pro? Can that program work with my video files without quadrupling their size on my HD?

    Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can offer.
     
  2. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    Sep 7, 2008
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    forlod bygningen
    #2
    The beauty of search: no one uses it.

    Your camera (which model by the way?) obviously uses a lossy and highly compressive format and codec like AVCHD and H264. Those are not meant for editing. Editing applications like iMovie and even Final Cut Pro and Express need to have the footage in a better format and codec, thus the conversion to the Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC), which takes up more HDD storage space, for once it stores every single frame in its stream, something the AVCHD footage does not.

    Btw, MRoogle is an invaluable tool to search these forums.

    Btw 2, the bigger file sizes have nothing to do with the OS. But you could give Adobe Premiere a try, as it supports native AVCHD editing.

    Btw 3, I work in the editing industry, and we just shoot SD footage but still need dozens of TBs to store it. Editing is a storage consuming hobby.
     
  3. spice weasel macrumors 65816

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    Jul 25, 2003
  4. jeffnebraska thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #4
    Thanks.

    Sounds like there is no solution to my problem. I either have to forego editing my videos, start shooting in SD (which won't even help that much), or start spending hundreds of bucks on major extra storage. That really makes owning an HD camera (I have the Canon HG20) not particularly worthwhile. I can already hear my wife demanding to know why we didn't spend much less and get a Flip.

    Btw 1, I used MRoogle to search this topic and spent some time reading threads. I didn't have much luck getting anything too recent to come up, so wanted to confirm the gist of what I was reading there.

    I would appreciate the input of anyone else with bright ideas.
     
  5. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #5
    Honestly, just buy an external firewire drive. Better yet, get two - one for your editing and one to archive your clips. Use the archive function in the import menu in iMovie. Drives aren't that expensive.
     
  6. jeffnebraska thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #6
    Thanks. That's probably the route I'll need to go.

    If I use the archive function in iMovie, does it archive in the giant iMovie format or in some other format closer to the size of the original file? Also, does it archive in a format playable on Quicktime?
     
  7. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #7
    Even the Flip cameras that use HD will get you the same storage requirements.

    That's the way it is, H264 is not meant for editing in any way, unless you have Premiere, but that will tax your CPU like wild animals on a hunt for running food.

    Storage is not that expensive anymore, and iMovie even gives you the ability to capture at a less space taking resolution (LARGE instead of FULL). But as I don't use iMovie I don't know much about getting a better quality version for the final output.

    You can also try to not film as much, only that what is important. But as I don't know much about making home videos either, I can't give you any tips in that regard.

    When I made films, the images were in my head, so I knew what I wanted to film, but that is another animal anyway.

    As I said, storage is cheap (70€ for 1TB), so maybe invest in some enclosures for multiple HDDs and buy HDDs as you need them. You can also store the original AVCHD files somewhere else, so if you're done editing, you can delete the iMovie media (but not the project, incase you want to re-edit).
     
  8. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #8
    The archive function will copy the mts file and the necessary AVCHD folder structure from the camera to the drive you specify. It is not really meant to be a playable format, although you can use something like VLC to play the files. It is meant as a backup of your clips that doesn't take up nearly as much space as the AIC transcoded video does.

    What I do is to archive immediately after an event, before I start recording something unrelated. Then I put the archive folder in a folder labeled with the event and date details. I then organize these into folders by activity type. You can archive and organize however you like, but if you just dump everything off of your camera at once it will all be put in the same archive folder.
     
  9. jeffnebraska thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #9
    Can you just expand on this. After I'm done editing the video as an iMovie Project, if I want to save it for watching and burning to DVDs, what can I delete and what must I preserve?

    I will start archiving the .mts files (which are much smaller) separately.
     
  10. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #10
    You can delete the big media files with the suffix .mov and you keep the project data.


    [​IMG]
     
  11. xStep macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2003
    Location:
    Less lost in L.A.
    #11
    Is there a way to get back the media and reconnect to a given project?

    Also, I wouldn't suggest people delete things via the Finder. They can delete it via iMovie and at least have the possibility of recognizing what they are removing.
     

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