MPEG Streamclip Help

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by tarheelmommy, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. tarheelmommy macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2011
    I have a Sony camcorder that records in muxed Mpeg-2 form. When I import the movies from my camera onto my imac, there is video but no sound when played in imovie or quicktime7. After hours of support w/ mac, it was determined that I needed to use MPEG Streamclip to convert the videos. Currently I am doing the following:

    -dragging movie to be converted into quicktime
    -going to file & choosing "export to quicktime"
    -I have tried various compression formats in the window that pops up (Apple Motion JPEGA, Apple DV/DVCPRO-NTSC, etc). After the video is converted, I can see video and hear sound when played in quicktime7 - and they also work when imported into Imovie which is great.

    I have hundreds of videos to convert, and I will be doing a batch conversion (well, several batches). My questions are:

    1. Is "export to quicktime" the best selection, or should I use a different choice under the file menu?
    2. What compression format should I use?
    3. Are there any other settings that should be adjusted (sound, frame size, etc) - there are so many selections on the streamclip menu that I'm a bit overwhelmed.

    Here is some additional information that might help:
    -I'll be importing these converted videos into imovie to do some editing
    -Final product will be a DVD of home movies that I want to play on a standard definition or high definition TV via a DVD player - these are all movies of my infant
    -I want the best quality product within reasonable file size since I have hundreds of videos (most are 2-3 minutes in length, longest might be 5-10 minutes). I'm MOST concerned with best quality as I can store these files on an external hard drive if needed (if in order to have good quality the file sizes need to be big. I know very little about this)
    -I want to make sure that there aren't any wavy lines (some of the compression formats seem to cause there to be wavy lines especially when there is movement AND sound at the same time on the video)

    Thank you so much for a thorough but clear explanation - I'm very new to all this and just really want to convert these videos of my sweet baby so that we can enjoy them!
  2. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    Use AIC compression and leave the other settings alone.
    Edit only from an external drive, preferably 7200RPM and Firewire 800. The system drive belongs to the system. No source media should be there.
  3. tarheelmommy thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Thank you for the advice re: AIC compression. Am I correct to say export to quicktime before choosing the compression type? I'm confused on your suggestion to edit only from an external drive - why, and what exactly do you mean? I'll be editing using you move my movies from my video camera to an external drive, then drag from the external drive to streamclip?

    What makes AIC compression the best choice? Thanks!
  4. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    Everything that you import into iMovie is transcoded to AIC. If you transcode your footage to something else in Streamclip, you are doing an extra step that will compromise your image quality, as iMovie will have to transcode the file from Streamclip again (the less transcoding involved, the less quality loss).

    I don't know if it is possible with iMovie, but your event folders (and preferably also the project folders) should sit on an external drive, and your export should also go to an external.
    You want to keep the system drive for system access only, not for media. That means if iMovie needs access to the system drive, it might get slowed down when it has to wait until access from a media to the same drive is finished.
    If you use an external drive, you can run app processes (system drive) and media processes (external drive) parallel without needing to wait.

    Hope I didn't confuse you even more....
  5. tarheelmommy thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Thank you - most of that makes sense to me - esp the part about AIC. Pretty much all that I do on our computer is browse the internet, look at photos and videos. No other programs are used other than an occasional word or excel file. Is it still essential to move everything to an external? I have everything backed up to one...
  6. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    It is not so about the back up. it is about speed and fluency of editing.
  7. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    It's preferable but not essential. There was a time when it was essential because a single hard drive couldn't run the OS and application, and stream and render video from a single disk, but now even basic hard drives are fast and large enough to cope with basic editing.
  8. tarheelmommy thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Can you walk me through the steps to do this? Like step 1, step 2 :) Do you agree w/ the recommendation of going through 'export to quicktime" then "encode to AIC"?
  9. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    What's the model name of your camcorder? What version of iMovie are you using?

    The best route depends on those answers. I don't know much about iMovie, so someone else should probably take up the mantle there, but I can help with the theory.
  10. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    As I said, iMovie uses AIC, so it makes sense to transcode to such to keep your quality.
  11. tarheelmommy thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 28, 2011
    My camera is a Sony DCR-DVD 850 (Hybrid Plus). I use Imovie 09.
    Do you also have a recommendation on a camera that we could purchase that will encode in a format that imovie immediately recognizes (to avoid having to convert). We're ready to spend the money if something will really work.
  12. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    Everything is transcoded in iMovie, so it doesn't matter if you get an HDV (tape) camera or use an AVCHD (SD cards) camera - that's all iMovie can work with. However with these two codices transcoding more or the less goes on the fly while you ingest your footage.

    I prefer tape for the moment, but that is a personal preference.
  13. musique macrumors regular


    Apr 10, 2009
    JVC Prosumer?

    I think JVC makes a few HD camcorders in their Professional line that record directly in .MOV. Those files are supposed to be compatible with FCP immediately with no transcoding. I don't know about iMovie.
  14. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Jun 6, 2011
    Won't work. Minimum spec is FCP 6

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