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Better to shoot in .mp4 or .mov on new action camera

3505 Views 11 Replies Latest reply: Mar 23, 2013 4:13 AM by John Cogdell RSS
Jeff Swain Level 1 Level 1 (105 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 21, 2013 6:55 AM

I just bought a new Drift HD Ghost "sports" camcorder (similar to a GoPro). I plan to use it to shoot waterskiing action shots, splice in other camcorder shots from the boat, etc, then edit in iMovie (8.0.6) and publish on Vimeo or make DVDs with iMovie.  Sometimes I burn AVCHD BluRays with Toast. 

I think shooting at 720 60p would be best.  The camera settings let you select a video format of .mov or .mp4.  Any advice on those settings?  Thanks, Jeff

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)

    I do not think that iMovie will import 60P, but you can test it.


    For best results shoot 30P.


    If you really need high quality slow motion (this is the reason people use 60P), then FInal Cut Pro X can handle it.

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)

    MOV and MP4 are containers. So in a sense, this is like asking if you prefer a white envelope or a manilla envelope. My guess is that h.264 is the codec that would be used in both containers, so on a Mac you should get the same results either way.


    On a Windows PC, you can use MOV only if you install QuickTime for Windows, but you can use MP4 without any third party software, so some Windows users would prefer MP4.


    On a Mac you can use MOV containers or MP4 containers as long as you have the underlying codec, which in this case, you do.


    So on your Mac, it does not matter, but if I had to flip a coin, I would choose MOV.


    p.s. - Let me know how you like the camera. I have been thinking about the Go Pro, but would love to know how you like this one.

  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,595 points)

    Jeff Swain wrote:


    Thanks, iMovie will import 60p.

    Hi Jeff,


    My understanding is that iMovie ('09 or '11) is not able to import 60p or 50p video without first converting the clips to 30p or 25p respectively. However, iMovie can import 60i or 50i video, as this is actually interlaced 30 fps or 25 fps footage, where 2 separate fields comprise one frame.


    Are you using a 3rd party converter before importing the 60p clips to iMovie? Otherwise could you explain your workflow please - or otherwise correct my misunderstanding. Thank you.



    MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2008), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.3), Sony HDR-SR7 & DCR-TRV20E
  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)

    My theory is that 720P60 works, but 1080P60 does not import in iMovie. Wish I had a camera to test this.

    I think maybe Karsten does.

  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,595 points)

    Thanks AppleMan. If what you say is correct (720p 60 fps working) then the advice I gave in the following thread will be incorrect:







    EDIT: Karsten where are you!


    Message was edited by: John Cogdell

    MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2008), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.3), Sony HDR-SR7 & DCR-TRV20E
  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,595 points)

    AppleMan - you're up late!

  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,595 points)

    Thank you for sharing that Jeff. As AppleMan theorised, it seems that 720p 60fps works with iMovie - well at least with iMovie '09 (you mentioned you were using version 8.0.6 which is '09). So, I guess it also works with iMovie '11.


    I'll need to be more careful when advising others that 60p and 50p won't work with iMovie (that was simply based on my reading - not first hand knowledge). It appears that 1080p 60fps and 50fps are the problem formats.


    Thanks again for the explanation Jeff.



    MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2008), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.3), Sony HDR-SR7 & DCR-TRV20E
  • Karsten Schlüter Level 7 Level 7 (29,465 points)

    John Cogdell wrote:

    …  Karsten where are you!

    sorry - the cruel claws of real life sprawl outta me ....


    first of all - I'm a bit 'out' of iMovie - haven't done any real projects for about two years (FCPX & M5 are my favorite toys now).


    I own two devices with 50/60p …

    AVCHD 1080/50p isn't supported for straight import by iM11; you can convert manually to a mov …

    the other one records 720/60p as - imports straight into iM11 ....


    iM11 Projects support only 30fps max (there was a hack to support 60fps output - sorry, lost the link)

    when you apply a 50% slowmo, iM11 has to convert/'optimise' my imported material. theoretically, a 50% slowmo of a 60fps recording in a 30fps project should result in a 'lossless', flawless, super-smooth slowmo (it does in FCPX) - in my humble observation, it doesn't - although the converted file is listed in Finder as '60', it LOOKS like 30.- ????


    honestly? Someone else should test that

    .... maybe, I find the time to create a simple 60fps file with an on-screen timestamp; doing the above, and then stepping frame-by-frame would proof real-50%, or just blending ...


    .... but I'm actually in prepping the next soccer-season, needs new screen-design, son asks for "Daddy, like in Fifa13!" arghghgh… anyone expert in 3D-CGI?

  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,595 points)

    Thank you Karsten for coming to our rescue - very much appreciated!


    I now have a better understanding of all this and will be more careful with my advice in future. I may even steer clear of commenting on this issue altogether - especially considering I'm still stuck with a (? 6 year old) hard drive camcorder that records as 1440 x 1080 interlaced. I'd love to have a model that uses SD memory cards and records as progressive (720p @ 25 fps would be fine I guess). Larry Jordan strongly recommends using progressive for FCP X projects, and I understand that iMovie '11 works better with that format.


    Thanks again for your input Karsten, and sorry to drag you away from your "real life" stuff.


    Best of luck with your soccer project (make your son proud)!





    MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2008), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.3), Sony HDR-SR7 & DCR-TRV20E


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