import via iMovie vs Final Cut Pro X

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by sunandsurf, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. sunandsurf macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2008
    a very naive but sincere question: is there no difference in quality when transferring video from a camcorder to my mac via iMovie vs FCP? (of course, i'm importing the video at the highest possible quality)

    i'm going to buy FCP soon but since my mac already has iMovie, i thought i'd at least transfer the video from my camcorder to my hard drive now and check it out.

    please note that i'm not talking about editing it once it's on my hard drive. i simply mean the quality of the video. i'm hoping that it makes no difference.

    thanks for your help.
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    FCP X and iMovie use different editing codecs, thus the quality is different, but depending on what you want to use the edited video for, using iMovie will more than suffice.
    iMovie uses Apple Intermediate Codec, FCP X uses ProRes, but FCP X can read videos using the Apple Intermediate Codec.

    Video Compression
    Why It Matters & How To Make The Most Of It

  3. sunandsurf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2008
    hmmmmm. so if i could view & compare a video clip imported using FCP X and the SAME video clip but imported using iMovie, i'd notice a difference?

    if that's true, i guess i should just stop what i'm doing since it's a waste of time.

    it's a video clip of a birthday party and i'm making a dvd for friends/relatives so it's nothing professional or serious but i do want the quality to be as good as possible.

    if the quality of the video imported using FCP X is that much better, i might as well wait till i've purchased the program and delete what i've imported using iMovie, right?

    thanks very much for your very quick reply.
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    You can compare the two versions if you want, but depending on your source, probably a Mini DV or AVCHD camcorder, Apple Intermediate Codec will more than suffice, especially if the output is a video DVD.
    The Apple Intermediate Codec is meant for consumer video, ProRes is meant for semi-professional and professional video, as it stores more information than the Apple Intermediate Codec, but since your source probably has not stored such information (colour and luminance), ProRes might be a waste of time.
  5. sunandsurf, Oct 30, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012

    sunandsurf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2008
    yes, you're right: it's a AVCHD camcorders (sony). whew; at least what i've transferred is usable; many thanks for your kind assistance!
  6. Borntorun macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2011
    Perth, Australia
    Apple Intermediate Codec uses 4:2:0 chroma subsampling,whilst Prores uses 4:2:2 (and also 4:4:4:4) chroma subsampling.

    Most consumer grade cameras employes 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, even semi pro cameras such as Canon's 5D mk II only employs 4:2:0.

    Utilizing ProRes for 4:2:0 footage will therefore be no better than Intermediate Codec. However, this is looking at it from a chroma subsampling perspective only.

    Apple intermediate can only handle 1440x1080, NOT 1920x1080 (again, a number of consumer grade cameras con you into thinking they are 1080p, I.e. 1920x1080, whereas in reality they are 1440x1080' with a pixel,ratio of 1.333 such as the old'ish HDV standard).

    Hence, if our camera shoots full, TRUE 1080p at a 1:1 pixel ratio, I.e. proper 1920x1080p, irrespective of chroma subsampling used, you will be better of using ProRes422.

    If your camera shoots "HDV" at 1440x1080, at 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, use Intermediate.
  7. sunandsurf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2008
  8. daybreak macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    In the end of the day one can argue the difference. Like a cars they all do the same job.
    Is iMovie better than FCP-X.When i show my finished product i get no questions regards what software i edited the video.
    They both do the job very good once you understand the software. FCP-X gives you that little bit extra. Viewing quality never noticed the difference. Edited a video on iMovie 5 and the client was over the moon.
    If you buy iMovie you will have a great editing tool.
    FCP-X will be the same with a bit extra.
    All i can say it is what you in the end show and the audience is happy?:rolleyes:
  9. sunandsurf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2008
    you're right in that my goal is to make the people (who get a dvd) happy. but being such an amateur, i want to do whatever i can to make the video as good as possible and if FCP can add a bit more to the quality of the video, then i'm all for it.

    no doubt, if you were given the same footage as me, yours would look fantastic while mine would look boring since i have poor editing skills compared to you (i'm sure). so while i didn't mention the importance of editing skills, i know very well how important it is. it's something i hope to develop over time ;)
  10. daybreak macrumors 6502a

    Sep 4, 2009
    I have no technical skill regards the nuts and bolts of the two software. Only how to use them. Editing is like painting.
    Leave out the bad shoots. Holiday video dont linger on shoots. Music never use well know tunes.
    Story video is a other department. Basically learn from your mistakes and enjoy the experience.:apple:

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