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iMovie mini dv import loses quality

2202 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Feb 2, 2013 1:25 PM by blause RSS
skokaliaris Calculating status...
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Dec 19, 2011 4:56 PM

I have a Sony mini dv camcorder dcr-trv25, purchased in 2002.  Although iMovie '11 imports the video, the quality is not that great.  There do not appear to be any settings in iMovie for just proceeds to import the video.  Exporting to iDVD also was not very good. Playing back the tape on my TV is much better, as was burning to a DVD on a stand alone DVD Recorder connected to my TV.  Very little quality loss, if any, on the stand alone DVD recorder.


I would love to start using iMovie, but, the quality of the imported mini dv video isn't good enough to invest the time to make a project. 


I'm very new to this...any help would be appreciated. 

iMovie '11, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • Bengt Wärleby Level 6 Level 6 (18,930 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2012 11:27 PM (in response to skokaliaris)



    Didn't see Your post unti now.


    Yes if I understands it right - iMovie'08 or 09 or 11 - uses progressive material (all lines in the picture from 1 to end) and iMovie HD6 and Your Camera use interlaced video - it shows line 1, 3 , 5, etc then start over with line 2, 4, 6, etc. So when iMovie'08 to 11 get such material it copies the line above - resulting in a loss of definition.


    And as I get it - ther is no way around to get it to export interlaced SD-video over to iDVD but this 50% reduced quality. And this is fully visible.


    So I use

    • iMovie HD6 - or -

    • FinalCut any version

    to get as good DVDs possibly.


    Yours Bengt W

  • anderskam Calculating status...
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    Jan 18, 2012 6:37 AM (in response to skokaliaris)

    Are you happy with the results you are getting now? I also imported a couple of mini-dv tapes (from a Sony TRV-18 Camcorder) and just viewing the video in the events I can tell the quality is below expectations from connecting the camcorder to a television. I have made some projects and shared to media browser, itunes, and exported via quicktime. It does seems to retain that quality that I initially saw in the events, but again, that's not that good. It's less sharp and it seems the dynamic range is worse.


    In your message above you say the imported quality is the same in Final Cut Pro but the DVD is good. Have you shared with itunes or quicktime? Do you get the quality that you expected?


    I got off a call with Apple this morning and the support person basically just said there will be some change to quality when you import and he did not suggest Final Cut Pro X would import at higher quality.


    It seems I got better results with Windows MovieMaker.

  • Bengt Wärleby Level 6 Level 6 (18,930 points)
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    Jan 18, 2012 6:45 AM (in response to skokaliaris)

    Yes 12-bit audio in Camera should be avoided in all cases !


    FinalCut Pro-X - I don't knoiw


    But best result I would get with FinalCut Express or Pro (old - v.6) and set a project as PAL 32kHz if 12-bit. But my Cameras are set to 16-Bit = 48kHz. (PAL = 25fps = EU) (NTSC=29.97fps=US)


    Yours Bengt W

  • anderskam Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jan 19, 2012 7:56 AM (in response to skokaliaris)

    Thanks for the response.

    So you see a big quality difference between using iMovie and Final Cut Pro X. (It's disappointing that one should have to spend $299 to get good quality SD video from a minidv camcorder on a brand new Mac.)

    Are you exclusively using Final Cut Pro X now or are you mixing it with using iMovie 11?

    Finally, have you tried sharing on itunes or youtube? I'm curious about that quality since that's what I would be doing. Thanks

  • blause Calculating status...
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    Feb 2, 2013 1:25 PM (in response to skokaliaris)

    This thread is really helpful given I just started backing up my DV tapes as well.  In the middle of working with Imovie when I saw your thread, thanks for the insights.


    I have a question about using FCPX and the exporting settings.  I hear that exporting the video with H.264 is great for Youtube, but am wondering how large my file will be if I use Apple Pro Res 422 on a 55min video. I have heard it will be close to 13GB, can anyone confirm this or provide additional details?  I want to export my tapes with good quality (13GB per tape is not an issue) but just want to understand what my optoins are, or some best practices.  I will want to edit this footage at some point, so quality is important.


    Appreciate any help.


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