iMovie Reducing Video Quality on Import

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by EggWhite, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. EggWhite macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    #1
    I am new to iMovie and started playing around with it recently. It's a great program and easy to use, but I found the quality of the output far less then when I took the same file on my windows PC and re-encoded it to mp4 manually. So I decided to look into it.

    I have a JVC Everio GZ-MG37U, and the files on the drive are
    MOD files
    mpgv
    720x480
    29.97

    iMovie imports them as
    MOV File
    m2v1
    720x480
    29.97

    If watch them side by side the MOD looks much better, so iMovie is really lowering the quality on import. How can I fix this?
     
  2. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    #2
    convert the MOD file to the AIC codec first with MPEGStreamclip. That's iMovie's native format, so it won't complain. Be sure to record in "ultra" quality mode on the camera too.That should give you better results.
     
  3. EggWhite thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    #3
    Is there anyway to have iMovie do the re-encode itself at a higher quality? If I process it outside of iMovie first I will lose all the date stamps and have to look at each file name one by one since iMovie won't be able to create events based on dates.
     
  4. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    #4
    Well, try it once first and see if the quality difference is worth it.

    I actually don't know the reason your files are coming out so bad. I was only guessing that iMovie wasn't importing them properly. See if MPEGstreamclip will import it better.
     
  5. EggWhite thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    #5
    Thanks for all the help. I have redone the files in MPEGStreamClip and when I viewed them side by side in VLC and they both looked great, but then when I viewed the DV file in QuickTimeX it still looked bad. So I guess it has something to do with QuickTimeX and not just the encode.

    I will have to try exporting and seeing if it still looks bad.
     
  6. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    #6
    Is Quicktime set to deinterlace interlaced material? Uncheck that and see if it makes the difference. And check 'High Quality' if that's an option (not used Quicktime X yet).
     
  7. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    #7
    Yes, I wouldn't trust QuicktimeX. I've seen alot of complaints on it. Use Quicktime 7 which is on the Snow Leopard install DVD.


    JUst curious, but why did you export as DV? I said to export as AIC.

    iMovie has a notorious flaw in its handling of DV files that is lower quality than it should be.
     
  8. EggWhite thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    #8
    I didn't see anyone option to export as AIC when using StreamClip on Windows.
     
  9. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    #9
    Sorry I should not have assumed. Please use the Mac version. :)

    ( One assumes you want to use you mac for this since you seem to have a good process worked out on your PC, right? )

    Open up MPEGStreamclip and load your video. The select File->Export to Quicktime.
    In that dialog box that pops up select "Apple Intermediate Codec" as the video codec
    Quality 100%, set sound to uncompressed stereo 48KHz, set the frame size to DV-NTSC, set field dominance to "upper field first" and don't select "deinterlace video".

    Save that file and then import that into iMovie. Hopefully that will fix your quality problem
     
  10. EggWhite thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    #10
    Thanks, but I think the quality issue was just because QuickTimeX was messing with the quality since once I had it in DV and I had a format both QuicktimeX and VLC could both play it would look fine in VLC but the same file would look bad in QuickTimeX. Once I exported and opened the file in VLC it still looked fine.

    Also, the reason I did it on a PC is because my PC is much more powerful and has tons more space then my MBP. If it wasn't for iMovie being so much better then the tools I have on my PC I would use it too since my MBP gets to over 70C and takes 9+ hours for a 2hour video
     
  11. neonkru macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    #11
    hi. i have the same problem import video from my canon hf200 to imovie however, final cut express imports it without quality loss
     

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