MP4 vs MOV

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by zbatdebop, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. zbatdebop macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2010
    I bought a Flip video camera and used the included FlipShare software for the first week. It did a fine job of editing video clips. Then I got iMovie. The first thing I noticed is that where FlipShare would take about 3 minutes to download 800MB of clips, iMovie took about 25 minutes.

    I could see that iMovie was converting the MP4 files from the camera to MOV. The MOV files are more than 3.5 times bigger than the MP4 files.

    What is the point of this? I don't see any difference in quality and, all things being equal, I would of course prefer the smaller files.
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    That is because your Flip camera uses the H264 codec (an MPEG-4 variant) with the .mp4 container, which is not suitable for editing, as the H264 codec doesn't store every frame of the video, something editing applications need to work with.

    Thus iMovie converts the video to a .mov container using the Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) to edit properly, therefore more storage space is needed.

    If you want to edit your video files, you have to live with that.

    A little bit more information on the AIC:
  3. zbatdebop thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 8, 2010
    Thanks, spinnerlys. I get most of you're saying but I can edit the MP4's that the Flip produces. The Flip software is actually pretty good, if only bare bones. I can throw together several clips, edit them, and it puts out a MOV file. From what you describe I'm guessing the Flip software must convert the pieces I'm editing to MOV first. That seems much more practical to me than converting everything from my videocam to MOV. Disc space is no problem but it's so time consuming.

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