OS X and MPEG-2

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by rudini, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. rudini macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Hey all,

    First of all I appreciate anyone taking their time and reading this...

    I've read a couple of things online and I'm a bit confused.

    Currently I'm recording some old home movies (from VHS-C) onto my WinXP PC into MPEG-2 (using ATI's USB Wonder 2). My recently order iMac is coming in soon and anticipating it i decided to try my recorded MPEG-2 file in QT (for Windows). Surprise it didn't work!

    So i began to think, if it doesn't work on my Windows QT, will it work on my OS X QT? anyone?

    If the above answer is "no it will not work", how could i get those MPEG-2 working, so i can edit them in iMovie and iDVD?


    PS: If any of the above was confusing, please let me know!
  2. -DH macrumors 65816

    Nov 28, 2006
    Nashville Tennessee
    If you plan to edit the footage, do NOT record as MPEG-2 first. MPEG-2 is designed as a highly compressed delivery format ... not really intended for editing.

    If you have QuickTime Pro activated on your Windows system, you should be able to record incoming footage.

  3. chaos86 macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2003
    FWIW- I used to have an EyeTV Wonder for my mac and it produced MPEG-2 files that QT played fine.
  4. rudini thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2007
    I do planning on editting my footage, but i don't know of any other way of getting it to my PC (or future iMac, this week!). ATI's tvtuner/program is set to the highest quality, and it's coming from VHS sources, so I'm not expecting much.

    Is there a free program that can go from MPEG-2 to MOV, so it is guranteed to work on my new iMac? Or should i just not worry, and stick with the MPEG-2?

  5. Fezzy macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2006
    To use mpeg2 in quicktime you need Apple's mpeg2 component - link. Its not free though at $19.99.
  6. Fezzy macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2006
    Another option is iSquint or ffmpegx and they are free. You can use this program to convert the mpeg2 files to mpeg4. The mpeg4 files will work fine in quicktime, imovie etc. and the file sizes will be a lot smaller than mpeg2.
  7. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    The TV Wonder USB 2.0 can actually record in MPEG4 and Divx as well, so if you are going to try the above recommendaiton, you're better off doing it on the PC side. you're still going to have a terrible editing experience that way though. iMovie and Final Cut Express ( or Pro ) is intended to use DV video only. You will find these programs extremely frustrating and slow if you use MPEG4.

    Personally, if I were you I would buy a DAC converter box ( Canopus ADVC110, Datavideo DAC-1xx series, etc etc ). It's cheap( ~ $200 ) and it will get you to exactly the video format you need to be in ( which is the DV codec ) to do proper editing.

    Many DV video cameras can AV->DV conversion in camera too ( you attach a video cable and use the camera as a passthru )

    Trust me, in the long run you are going to be much happier with a solution like these, instead of encoding to MPEG2 and then re-encoding back to DV. Yes, you're talking about VHS here, but your loss of quality will be very noticable IMHO if you go that route. ( not to mention it will jsut be time consuming ).
    I know the price is much higher than you probably paid for the ATI, but just on the time savings alone, of not having to encode, transfer to the Mac, re-encode, then edit, you are going to make up the difference in price.
  8. SigmundFraud macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2007
    MPEG2 - The in-between format

    Moving from PC last year, I found the lack of MPEG2 support on Mac shocking. I'd been using Nero on the PC which had a dreadful interface, but did clever tricks with the Key-frame/ GOP structure to allow frame-accurate editing of MPEG2s by re-endcoding just the frames around the edit (inter-frame compression codecs like mpeg2 "make-up" the frames between the key-frames, making frame-accurate edits problematic). This meant that I didn't have to recode the whole file if I just wanted to chop out 30 seconds of footage. It also avoided unnecessary degradation of the already encoded content. The only option on the Mac seemed to be to importing as DV files (certainly an option in iMovie HD with the QT MPEG2 component), editing and re-encoding the file.

    I realised that this was because the Mac services two market segments - professionals and people who don't understand. Professionals wouldn't edit MPEG2 because it "falls apart" as soon as you try to do anything clever with it like compositing. People who don't understand won't be doing what you are doing - they'll plug in their miniDV cam and think iMovie 08 is fantastic.

    So, what to do? I've just accepted the limitations. If I don't need frame-accurate edits, I use MPEG StreamClip that does GOP accurate edits (sometimes about 1/2 second from where you want them). If I want frame-accuracy, I transcode MP2 to DV, edit then re-code to whatever (usually H.264). I got Apple Compressor when I bought Logic Studio which has made this easier - but you can't get this as a stand-alone. ffmpegX doesn't handle interlaced content coding back to mpeg2 but has some excellent transcoding features. If you're making DVDs, you get the apple mpeg2 algorithm using iDVD, and it seems like a nice one (although audio is space-hungry PCM). Toast makes DVDs using (from what I understand) a cut-down Mainconcept encoder. This encoder is sub-optimal IMHO. You could consider VMWare and Nero, but the interface is SO depressing.

    If you don't need to edit, just get the QT Mpeg2 component. QT doesn't de-interlace, so interlaced content (most VHS is) will have comb artifact. Alternatively VCL player is free and deinterlaces adequately. I'd probably use Toast to drop the MPEG2 files on a DVD (a real disk or a disk image) so I could play them on the apple DVD player. Toast usually just multiplexes mpeg2 files without re-coding, but can be a bit fussy if the encoding doesn't look right to it. Disk image files are as easy to play as mpeg2 files, so this could be a simple solution, but you would need Toast or some other program that could turn your mpeg2's into VOBs in a Video-TS file. Good luck!

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