What file types does IMovie 08 support ?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by brasiliangringo, Jan 6, 2010.

  1. brasiliangringo macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2009
    Hi, getting pretty hacked of trying to import mpg4 and DV into Imovie without success. Im using Toast to convert. Only other option is H264 and HDV which, no doubt, wont work.

    Can anyone tell me what file types are supported ??

  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    .mov files with the DV codec should be fine.

    There are file types (the suffix like .mov or .avi), which are only the container for codecs like DV, H263/4, Xvid, MPEG-2 and so on.

    If the footage is SD you can use MPEG Streamclip to convert the footage to QT files (.mov) with the DV codec.

    HDV uses the MPEG-2 codec (like video DVDs), which might present a problem.

    What kind of files (and codecs) do have originally?

    Are they SD or HD?
  3. brasiliangringo thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2009
    Thanks for your swift reply and info. Basically its from a VIDEO_TS disc created on a DVD burner attached to by TV as have old Digi 8 camera so need to go from Camera - Panasonic DVD HDD - write to DVD - Mac (VIDEO_TS).

    I have used stream clip b4, and from what your saying, convert to .mov only if from SD? I tried simply changing suffix ending but that didnt work ie from .dv to .mov

    I also have Divx converter if that helps me ?
  4. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    To edit footage properly it should be as uncompressed as it gets.

    Divx/Xvid (MPEG-4 codecs like H264), MPEG-2 and many other codecs are not suited for editing purposes. They are more meant for delivering video content, thus video DVDs use the MPEG-2 codec (which saves only every 15th frame by the way).

    Also changing the suffix doesn't change a thing, and will most likely render the file more useless, as a file suffix only indicates the container formats (.mov, .avi, .mp4, ... are containers).
    A video file uses codecs to encode the video data, which is encapsulated in a container.

    So to properly get access to the video inside a file, the software you want to use, must be able to read the codec, and not just the suffix (container).

    iMovie is meant for video editing, thus it needs data as uncompressed as it can, therefore it won't accept MPEG-2 encoded video easily.

    In order for you to edit your videos stored on the video DVD, you need to rip it via MacTheRipper / RipIt / Fairmount, if the video DVD is copy protected (all commercial video DVDs are).
    If it is not copy protected, you might be just able to copy the Video_TS folder onto your HDD.

    Now there are two ways to convert the MPEG-2 compressed footage.

    1. Get Handbrake and convert the footage to either an .avi file with the Xvid codec (2-pass or Constant Quality of 100% and highest bitrate for video and audio) or an .mp4/.m4v file with the H264 codec (the same as with Xvid).
    Then use MPEG Streamclip to convert/export the .avi or .mp4/.m4v file to a QuickTime (.mov - CMD+E) file encoded with the DV codec or to a DV file (CMD+OPTION/ALT+E).
    Both, .mov and .dv, can be read by iMovie.

    2. Get the QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component from the Apple Online Store for 20USD, open MPEG Streamclip, in there go to File > Open DVD and select your Video_TS folder on your HDD.
    Then either export it as QuickTime with the DV codec or as DV file as explained in step 1.
    This saves you one encoding process, therefore time and image quality loss.

    Btw, SD is short for Standard Definition, meaning the broadcast systems PAL and NTSC, which has a pixel resolution of 768/720/640 x 576/480.
    HD is short for High Definition, the new fancy high resolutions like 720p or 1080i/p.
    A video DVD stores its video in SD.

    Have fun.


    MPEG Streamclip export options

    Handbrake export as .mp4 - example
  5. brasiliangringo thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2009
    Mate, you're an inspiration - it's so kind of you to provide all of the above! Big score for your karma.

    Ps Ive actually got Handbrake but only used it once for converting something I cant remember, so thanks for the reminder.

    Take care my friend :)

    Pps completely bowled over by all your help - very kind, thanks.

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