mpeg2 into iMovie

Discussion in 'macOS' started by micpat84, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. micpat84 macrumors newbie

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    Jul 25, 2007
    #1
    I am making the switch over to a macbook. I am trying to import mpeg2 files onto a macbook and create a project with iMovie. I captured the files using a laptop with windows xp and video capture device. I know the files are not corrupt because they play fine with media player. I realize that there is a download for quicktime to play mpeg2 files. Will this solve my problem? I read something about "demux" because of picture quality and sound problems. What do I need to do to accomplish this? Thank You for any input!
     
  2. superleccy macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    #2
    Bleh - editing or converting from MPEG2 is always a pain in the ass.

    The QuickTime MPEG2 component ($19.99) lets QuickTime play MPEG2 files.

    The QuickTime Pro upgrade ($29.99) lets you export movie that QuickTime can play into another supported format.

    So if you had both, you could load the MPEG2 file into QuickTime, and export to DV format which is the preference of iMovie (or MPEG4 if you want smaller file sizes).

    Warning - it's not quick (think approximately realtime), and in the past I have found it to be unstable.

    I was about to write that if you have the MPEG2 component but not QuickTime pro, you should still be able to import MPEG2 videos into iMovie anyway. But I just tried this and for some reason it didn't work. :mad:

    People in the past have suggested "MPEG Streamclip". However, I found this to be confusing, and it used the QuickTime MPEG2 component anyway, so it was no cheaper, quicker or more stable. But perhaps someone else can enlighten me.

    If you can burn a video DVD of your MPEG2 files (eg, if you have Toast), you could always then re-import them as MPEG4 using Handbrake.

    Sorry - this is only half an answer. I'm hoping someone else will be able to elaborate on my suggestions.

    Good luck
    SL
     
  3. micpat84 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thanks for the reply, wow, I did not realize this would be such a pain in the ass. I was able to convert the mpeg2 files using 4U AVI MPEG converter. It is trial software and cost 29.99 to purchase. The only problem is not audio! I will post any solutions. Thanks again.
     
  4. micpat84 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I am actually going to skip the software and purchased. ADS Tech Pyro AV Link Converter API-557. It has a fire wire port so maybe I can import directly into iMovie. I will post the results.
     
  5. swiftaw macrumors 603

    swiftaw

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    #5
    I believe that all of apple's audio/video apps use quicktime, so without the MPEG2 plugin none of them will be able to handle MPEG2 (I think)
     
  6. theBB macrumors 68020

    theBB

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    #6
    With MPEG streamclip you still need QT MPEG2 component, but at least you would not need QT Pro, so a savings of $29.

    Give ffmpegX a try and export it as dv. It should handle MPEG-2 without QT MPEG2 component. There is also iSquint. Both of them are free, I believe.
     
  7. superleccy macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    #7
    Grrr. Inspired by your original post, I just tried to convert a MPEG2 recording (from EyeTV) to DV, using QuickTime with both the plugins (which I already had anyway).

    It worked, faster than I expected, but...
    1. I had to manually change the aspect ratio afterwards
    2. Ther was no sound!!!

    I've not had that particular problem before (the lack of sound). As you suggested in your first post, it could be that my original MPEG2 file had the sound multiplexed in with the video track.

    I really dislike working with MPEG2. :mad::confused:

    SL
     
  8. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    #8
    This is not true. Standard DVD content is encoded in MPEG-2. The DVD Player plays standard DVDs and, thus, MPEG-2 content. iDVD creates standard DVDs, and, thus MPEG-2 content. Both apps are free with your installation of MacOS X and neither requires the MPEG-2 Playback Component. The purpose of the MPEG-2 Playback Component is for professional DVD creators to view their creations in the QuickTime Player before burning them to disc.
     
  9. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #9
    MPEG encoding is an END process.

    What you have when something is .mpg/.m2v/.mpg2/.vob is the final product. All the fluff cut for file size and bandwith savings. So, you cant really go "up" in terms of quality, which is what you would be doing by converting to DV.


    The reason your EyeTV is giving you MPEG2 is because its supposed to go straight to DVD or, basically not be edited further.

    If you wish to edit, convert, move or otherwise change your video files, capture them with something else.
     
  10. superleccy macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    #10
    Yes I'm perfectly aware of the point of MPEG2 thank you.

    But MPEG2 isn't an end process if all you have is an MPEG2 file (for whatever reason), and you need to edit it. This, I believe, was the OP's quandry.

    I was suggesting converting to DV simply because that's the file format that imports the quickest into iMovie - which is what I believe the OP wanted.

    I picked an MPEG2 from EyeTV because I wanted to test my suggestions - and the closest MPEG2 file I had to hand was one exported from EyeTV. EyeTV will actually export directly to a wide variety of formats - including DV.

    SL
     
  11. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #11
    MPEG2 is an end codec. Its why it is so hard to edit with.

    Just cuz you got your hands on some MPEG2 video, doesnt mean you are supposed to be able to edit it as you would other codecs.

    Anything that creates MPEG2 files is more than likely a consumer-level device that is for capturing, not editing.

    Converting MPEG2 into anything is a BAD idea no matter how you slice it. The codec removed so much information that conversion to and from would ruin your footage.
     
  12. superleccy macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    #12
    Sdashiki, you're talking like converting from MPEG2 to other formats is either unnecessary or impossible. It's neither.

    I, and the OP, will do with our MPEG2 videos what we bl**dy well want.

    If anyone actually has some positive suggestions to help the OP then I'd also like to hear them.

    SL
     
  13. kolax macrumors G3

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    Mar 20, 2007
    #13
    I have EyeTV and been able to export recordings directly from EyeTV then use them in iMovie. Does EyeTV use mpeg2 to capture TV recordings? I've noticed if I open up the captured video (view package contents of the EyeTV recording file) there is an mpeg file, and it won't playback using Quicktime or anything. Yet, I can still export it using EyeTV - can you clarify that Sdashiki? Or is EyeTV effectively "finalising" the mpeg2 file?

    I also experienced the loss of sound problem when importing certain .mpeg files (i.e. movies I had recorded on my Sony digital camera). The files played back with sound in Quicktime, but was lost when imported into iMovie. Exporting to a different format using Quicktime didn't work either as the sound was lost too.

    A work around for this was to download this free program:

    http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/video/mpegstreamclip.html

    This allowed me to convert the mpeg into different formats (found H.264 a great format to use) and work fine with iMovie.
     
  14. superleccy macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    #14
    Yes, I just tried MPEG Streamclip (I already have the QuickTime MPEG2 compoment) and I sucesfully managed to convert a MPEG2 file to DV with no loss of quality. The sound is still there too.

    I'm not sure of the exact settings to choose on MPEG Streamclip, but I just used the default settings and it worked okay.

    One day I'll do some more research on MPEG2 to try and understand the ins and outs better.

    Thank you
    SL
     
  15. kolax macrumors G3

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    #15
    Glad that worked for you. I'm disappointed in the fact that iMovie lacks some support for stuff like that.
     
  16. tilman macrumors regular

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    Feb 28, 2006
    #16
    This question comes up almost daily on the iMovie discussion on the Apple support web site, from people trying to figure out how to edit the video recorded with their brand new DVD or harddisk camcorder. Purchasing the Apple MPEG-2 plugin for Quicktime and MPEG Streamclip is the standard answer to that question. There are other choices, too, like DVDxDV, VisualHub, Toast Titanium. None of them are free.

    Some people will tell you that you loose quality in the process. That is actually not really the case. The potential quality loss occurred when the MPEG-2 video was created, during the compression to MPEG-2. Depending on the compression settings, the results can be anywhere from pretty good to pretty bad. In general, re-encoding from one lossy compressed format to another comes with a quality loss. But in this case, you are compressing to DV format, which has significantly more video bandwidth than MPEG-2.
     
  17. Sdashiki macrumors 68040

    Sdashiki

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    #17
    You cant create detail.

    MPEG2 has lost alot of detail from compression.

    Going "up" to DV doesnt make it any higher quality. But going back to MPEG2, and another round of lossy compression, will lose quality.

    And it is true that MPEG2 is an end codec. Just because you can edit with it, doesnt mean its the best option. Nor encouraged. No one said impossible.
     
  18. superleccy macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    #18
    No-one is suggesting that going from MPEG2 to DV actually improves the quality, but I see your point about wanting to limit the number of MPEG2 compressions in the overall workstream.

    So if the OP still has access to the non-MPEG2 source, and now has a device to re-capture it directly to DV, and may ultimately want to convert it to MPEG2 after it's been edited, then re-capturing would indeed yield the best quality results (unless the source is digital and the capture method forces a D-A-D conversion).

    But in situations where the video you need to edit only exists in MPEG2 format (and you don't have access to a non-MPEG2 source either), then converting from MPEG2 to DV or some other editable format is a perfectly sensible thing to do. :) In fact it's the only thing you can do. :) :)

    MPEG2 is indeed an end format... until necessity forces you to convert it to something else! :D

    SL
     
  19. micpat84 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #19
    For my situation I purchased this http://www.adstech.com/products/API-557-EFS/intro/api557_intro.asp?pid=API-557-EFS

    I was able to capture .avi files via the firewire port and play them in quicktime with no mpeg2 plug in from apple. (i know i do not need it because i did not capture as mpeg2) If the .avi files play in quicktime I should be able to edit them in iMovie...right? What is the difference between the mpeg2 and avi and why could I only capture .avi throught the firewire port? Thanks.
     
  20. superleccy macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    #20
    Wikipedia: AVI, MPEG2.

    As I understand it, MPEG2 is one of the many codecs for compressing audio and video. It's "lossy", but gives good quality in a relatively low bandwidth, making it ideal for "distribution" applications like DVD and Digital Video Broadcasting. MPEG2 can't be edited easily (but that's not a problem for distribution applications), and converting video to/from MPEG2 takes up a lot of processing power. Finally, MPEG2 is patented, which I believe why Apple don't include native MPEG2 support in QuickTime or iMovie.

    On the other hand, .avi is a type of file, or a "container format". A .avi file contains audio and video data that may be compressed (or not) using almost any codec.

    As it happens, I can drag and drop .avi files from my digital still camera straight into iMovie, and it works fine (but that could be because I've got QuickTime Pro). But this doesn't necessarily mean I can repeat the same trick with any .avi file, because of the variation of codecs that .avi files can contain.

    If you want to know if your files will edit in iMove, why not just try? Drag and drop your files (whatever format they are) into the clip pallete and see what happens!

    If you've captured video to your Mac using your PYRO A/V Link, then the the videos on your Mac have probably ended up as .dv format anyway, which iMovie is particularly fond of.

    Moreover, since the PYRO A/V Link is a DV capture device, it should be recognised by iMovie as an external video camera anyway, so you'll be able to capture directly into iMovie.

    If you're still having problems, or this still doesn't make sense, please can you explain in more detail exactly what you're trying to do (eg, are your original videos MPEG2 or .AVI or analogue source or what?) and how exactly you're using your PYRO A/V Link?

    SL
     
  21. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

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    #21
    I have Visual Hub. It has been a lifesaver converting video files back and forth. I had the same problem with a client bringing me a bunch of mpeg2 files I had to edit. I highly recommend it, only 29 bucks.
     
  22. micpat84 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 25, 2007
    #22
    Thank you Super, very good description. The source is analog from a vcr. So I have composite from the vcr to composite in on the ADS device. The output goes from the firewire of the ADS to the input of the mac. I just want to capture clips from the vcr and edit them in iMovie.
     
  23. superleccy macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    #23
    micpat84, I have a "Miglia Directors Cut Take 2", which I assume is the same sort of thing as your ADS box. If so, it should be easy (but note how the word "should" is highlighted).

    1. Connect your Mac to your VCR via the ADS device as you described.
    2. Launch iMovie, creating a new project in DV format.
    3. Set iMovie to "capture" mode by flicking the camera/scissors switch to the left (the camera icon), and select your ADS Device from the drop down menu that appears when you click on the little camera icon (ie, choose the device that isn't iSight).
    4. Press play on the VCR, and you should see the output of the VCR in iMovie.
    5. To capture, click on the "record" button in the viewer window. To stop capture, press the button again. The button goes blue when capture is in progress.

    Note that for this method, you shouldn't need any other software apart from iMovie itself.

    Good luck... let us know how you get on.

    SL
     
  24. micpat84 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 25, 2007
    #24
    The ADS device worked perfectly. Had no problems at all. My next question is all the clips I captured take up alot of space. I want an external hard drive with a usb connection. Will any usb 2.0 external hard drive work or do I have to get one that is compatible with mac OSX?
     
  25. superleccy macrumors 6502a

    superleccy

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    #25
    Glad it worked!

    Yes, any USB2.0 Hard Drive will work on your MacBook. A Firewire 400 drive would give you even better performance (and would be more expensive), but USB2.0 would be just fine.

    But whatever drive you get, you should format the drive as HSF+ ("Mac OS X Extended (Journaled)") using Disk Utility before use. If you don't, you'll probably get problems later on (eg, FAT32 can only support file sizes of up to 4GB, which you'll probably breach if you're dealing with large iMovie files).

    HTH
    SL
     

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