12 Replies Latest reply: May 3, 2010 6:33 AM by Jeremy Hansen
rrodby Level 2 Level 2 (335 points)
This is a follow-up of this thread

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=11323224

but I wanted to get some opinions on the question of settings for importing video. I'm no expert on this, in fact I don't really understand most of what this language means... teach me, but keep it SIMPLE please.

For starters, I take HD video using my canon HG10 HD video camera, using the best quality settings for the video (40 GB HD on the camera gives me 5.5 hrs @ that highest quality setting). Importing my video at "Full" puts the video into Events as .mov files in AIC (Apple intermediate codec) at 1440X1080. Importing at "Large" also makes .mov event files as AIC, but is 960X540. [Just as an FYI, a 5 minute test video imports to a 3.9 GB file as Full, and the same 5 minute video imported as Large is 1.3 GB (1/3 the size = 1/3 the information = 1/3 the pixels?) Now as I understand those numbers, the Large import should lose a lot of the HD definition, and may not even qualify as "HD"? The Large import should not look anywhere nearly as good as the Full import.

However, I take those events and make them into Projects (that has standard fade in-out transitions but no speed changes, or titles) and THEY LOOK THE SAME Quality TO ME, and that is when played on my HD TV. They both look pretty darn good, but the point is cannot tell them apart. Now I would think that 1/3 the pixels, and at 540 isn't that just slightly higher than Standard definition @ 480? (or am i comparing apples and oranges?) And I can clearly tell HD from SD on my TV, so I'm not blind.

So I ask anyone, have you noticed the same lack of difference? (iMovie says that there is little difference in Quality when you choose between the two import settings, or go to the Help file on this topic). How can this be with those numbers. What am I not understanding?

Roger

Another thing I tried with each 5 minute Project (one with Full 1080 files and one with Large 540 files) was to Share to Media Browser at the "HD setting". BOTH exports turn into 1280X720 .mov files using H.264 (376 MB each). Thus the export from the 1080 Full file must be downscaled- have pixels taken out and the 540 Large file must be upscaled - must have pixels added (?). I cannot tell those exports from their original pre-export Projects.

Finally, I took each (5 minute) Project (one with 1080 files and one with 540 files) and Shared Using Quicktime, using the settings for HD to keep the 1080 resolution, "best quality". Again it made .mov files H.264 but this time exported them both as 1920X1080, so that kept the HD resolution of the Full import and must have upscaled the Large import. Playing these files, again they looked the same to me. They were both 2 GB , took hours to make.

BTW, the original files pre-import into imovie from the Camera are MTS, MPEG Transport Stream Files, and it was 650 MB large. So it is interesting just how the size can go dramatically up and down and up and down depending on how you export.

iMac 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • 1. Re: Importing Full vs Large, can you tell the difference?
    AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,340 points)
    I use an Apple TV, so I usually export at large (960x540). I have tried Full 1980x1080 on BlueRay, and I get maybe a 1% quality improvement (almost negligible). So I always use the AppleTV rather than BluRay because it is a lot less hassle.

    There are a couple of factors that are relevant.
    1) 960x540 is exactly half of 1920x1080, so it is a simple transform to bring it up to 1920x1080 on your TV. Many TVs (but not all) have excellent upscaling circuitry.
    2) When converting 1920x1080i to Large, it is also converted to Progressive. iMovie handles progressive video much better than it handles interlaced video, and you avoid this issue if you go large.
    3) If you have 1920x1080 progressive, iMovie handles it fine. Leave it as is.
    4) You would expect the 960x540 to be about 25% as large as the 1920x1080, because you halve each dimension.


    I usually import my events at Full 1920x1080i. This way if technology improves, I have the event in the original resolution. But I render in 960x540. However, you could save a lot of disk space if you import the Event at 960x540.

    If you want to go to YouTube in 1920x1080, you may want to deinterlace the event before editing in iMovie. Or just go to 1280x720. I don't know for sure, but I suspect that iMovie upscales from 960x540P to get 1280x720 for YouTube.

    I have some 1080P footage, and I import this to YouTube unchanged. But for AppleTV I render at 960x540 and it looks great. For iPhone, I render even smaller and it looks great.
  • 2. Re: Importing Full vs Large, can you tell the difference?
    rrodby Level 2 Level 2 (335 points)
    Appleman, thanks for your reply, a few clarifications please

    AppleMan1958 wrote:
    I use an Apple TV, so I usually export at large (960x540). I have tried Full 1980x1080 on BlueRay, and I get maybe a 1% quality improvement (almost negligible). So I always use the AppleTV rather than BluRay because it is a lot less hassle.


    I do not know much about Apple TV, but what does it, a piece of hardware, have to do with your export choice? I read that it is limited in the formats it can play, but is the resolution limited? If so then how can it play iTunes downloaded HD as advertised on the Apple website?

    There are a couple of factors that are relevant.
    1) 960x540 is exactly half of 1920x1080, so it is a simple transform to bring it up to 1920x1080 on your TV. Many TVs (but not all) have excellent upscaling circuitry.


    My understanding is that you cannot add definition, if you imported "down" from 1080 to 540, you cannot just get that resolution back by upscaling? And it doesn't matter if I watch on my brand new Samsung LED HD TV (that may have excellent upscaling circuitry) or my non-HD laptop, I cannot tell the difference between the 1080 Full event import and the 540 Large event import.

    2) When converting 1920x1080i to Large, it is also converted to Progressive. iMovie handles progressive video much better than it handles interlaced video, and you avoid this issue if you go large.


    Are you talking about the camera import Full v Large, and that the Full 1080 import stays interlaced and the 540 Large import is progressive?


    3) If you have 1920x1080 progressive, iMovie handles it fine. Leave it as is.


    Leave what as it is? How would I know?


    4) You would expect the 960x540 to be about 25% as large as the 1920x1080, because you halve each dimension.


    Actually my Full import produces 1440 X 1080 AIC event files, not 1/4th but exactly 1/3 for whatever that is worth.


    I usually import my events at Full 1920x1080i. This way if technology improves, I have the event in the original resolution. But I render in 960x540. However, you could save a lot of disk space if you import the Event at 960x540.


    Makes good sense



    I have some 1080P footage, and I import this to YouTube unchanged. But for AppleTV I render at 960x540 and it looks great.


    I still dont understand how 540 can look great, as it does for me, when 540 is 1/4 the resolution, 1/4th the pixels, 1/4th the size.


    And, Standard Definition, only slightly lower @ 480 looks awful to me. I must be confused on my terminology?

    sorry if I am an idiot,

    roger
  • 3. Re: Importing Full vs Large, can you tell the difference?
    AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,340 points)
    This article may help. [link here|http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=477740]

    I use AppleTV because it hooks to my 50" Plasma and produces exceptional results. The TV does not except 1920x1080, only 960x540. It will accept 1280x720 at 24fps, so this may account for Apple's HD movies. Not sure.

    You would have to check with your camera manufacturer to know if your camera is 1080P progressive. Mine is not. It is a pretty big deal in a marketing sense, so they would probably say it loudly. Most consumer cameras are 1080i.

    I am not sure how you are getting 1440x1080, but this is the native format for HDV. So if you are using tape, that would make sense. I think it uses rectangular pixels to stretch to 1920x1080. Some of the early AVCHD camcorders used this, too. If you go back and watch the Keynote where Steve Jobs introduced iMovie 08, he is using a 1440x1080 Panasonic AVCHD. In theory, it is not as good as 1920x1080. However, to your eyes, it is unlikely to make a difference.

    I will hold off on commenting further, because I will quickly wade into areas where I have very thin knowledge.
  • 4. Re: Importing Full vs Large, can you tell the difference?
    Steve Mullen Level 2 Level 2 (250 points)
    First, you are starting with only 1440x1080 and you consumer camcorder can not really record a vey high resolution image. This is the case with most consumer camcorders, even if the record 1920x1080.

    So, it doesn't much matter what resolution your AIC files are.

    I don't know how you getting your exported movie to your HDTV, but the plain fact is that unless you have one of the new LED LCD or a top of the line Plasma, you aren't really seeing HD. Far too many LCD HDTVs drop to only 330-line of vertical resolution when there is motion.

    Since Apple understands that most consumer camcorders can't really record more than 960x540 and most HDTVs can't really present more than 960x540 -- they recommend you simply import at LARGE.

    Bottom-line the number of pixels in your camcorder and HDTV tell you nothing about how much detail you'll really see. So your results are as expected. "HD" is a marketing term.
  • 5. Re: Importing Full vs Large, can you tell the difference?
    rrodby Level 2 Level 2 (335 points)
    Appleman,

    Thanks, i think i now understand i and p and upscaling.
    my camera (canon HG10) is 1080i, and is not tape, has a harddrive in it. It is a couple years old so maybe that it is an earlier one that you describe that is 1440. It is AVCHD.

    Steve,
    I get your point on the the consumer camera, that makes a lot of sense since I know that analogy with my Nikon D80 vs earlier point and shoot cameras, even though both have millions of pixels.

    My TV is a Samsung LED 8000 series, and says it is 1080p (but from what Appleman's link tells me, there aren't really any 1080p sources out there). I play(ed) it through HDMI from laptop to HDTV. So no matter what you call it, it looked closer to HD than SD.

    I just purchased your "the ins and outs of iMovie 09", hopefully I'll learn some more about this. If what you say is the bottom line, that in the end, my camera is really the limiting reagent to definition, then the rest of this is all phooey. But I still am trying to understand it better. I suspect that consumer camera's will improve, iMovie 10 will be more HD-o-philic, the Apple superdrives will burn and play blue ray, and things will just look better and better. Hopefully Apple keeps it simple and gives defaults that work well. look as good as can be expected (which is not the case for making DVDs presently using the default "Share to iDVD").

    Truth is, my old sony digital tape standard def camera did not take great looking video, this "HD" camera really is so much better, I should just be content and not ask questions.

    thanks guys

    roger
  • 6. Re: Importing Full vs Large, can you tell the difference?
    Alan McDonley Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    rrodby wrote:
    ... this "HD" camera really is so much better, I should just be content and not ask questions.


    Maybe, but when my eyes see the compression artifacts/moire pattern on edges and lines of my HD footage down-sampled to SD, the question that keeps coming to me is "Would this same thing be happening in a PC based workflow?"
  • 7. Re: Importing Full vs Large, can you tell the difference?
    Steve Mullen Level 2 Level 2 (250 points)
    "My TV is a Samsung LED 8000 series, and says it is 1080p (but from what Appleman's link tells me, there aren't really any 1080p sources out there). I play(ed) it through HDMI from laptop to HDTV. So no matter what you call it, it looked closer to HD than SD."

    You've got one of the best HDTVs. There are many 1080p sources: 1080p24 or 1080p60 from a BD player, 1080p30 from Canon AVCHD, 72p30 and 720p60 from many prosumers AVCHD camcorders -- even 1080p60 from Panasonic and Sanyo.

    The problem is you can burn 1080p60 to BD and I doubt you can output 1080p60 from a computer.
  • 8. Re: Importing Full vs Large, can you tell the difference?
    Jeremy Hansen Level 4 Level 4 (1,900 points)
    Blu-ray does not allow 1080p60. It will allow 1080i60, which also corresponds with many camcorders.
  • 9. Re: Importing Full vs Large, can you tell the difference?
    Steve Mullen Level 2 Level 2 (250 points)
    correct -- it should read can'T burn to bd.
  • 10. Re: Importing Full vs Large, can you tell the difference?
    Jeremy Hansen Level 4 Level 4 (1,900 points)
    Although, the PS3 can play 1080p60, at least in VC1. I downloaded a sample, and it played it after thinking about it a bit.
  • 11. How do you know if what you have imported is HD (Full)? (HV20, iMovie '09)
    srizvi1 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    I have a somewhat related question which might be stupid. I read through the thread but some of it is going over my head.

    How can you make sure what you have imported and are working with on your computer is HD?

    I have a canon HV20 and I am using iMovie '09 version 8.0.6 (821) on my 15" 2.2ghz MacBook Pro C2D SR.

    As far as I remember, I am recording on my camera in HD (I want to say 1080i - not sure if the camera does 720p). Also, do not believe I am converting to SD during import on the camera's end. I don't have my camera on me so I can't confirm or give the settings as they are named on the camera. Also, in my iMovie Preferences video tab, I have "Import HD video as:" "Full - Original Size" and as far as I remember, I've had this setting on the whole time.

    The .dv files that I have in my iMovie Events folders don't say the dimensions or duration on while looking at them in finder. When I open in quicktime 10.0 (113) and bring up the Movie Inspector, they are 720 x 480 (853 x 480). On strange thing is that in finder the size for one of my files says 962 MB on disk, but in quicktime it says Data Size 1.92 GB (and it's 4:27 in lengthand has a data rate of 57.54 Mbit/s).

    I am able to go to share -> export movie and select "Size to Export" : HD (1280x720) so I wonder if it wasn't imported in HD, would I even have that option.

    But when I go to Export using quicktime and select "Movie to Quicktime Movie" and use "Default Settings" and then click on options, for dimensions it has 960x540 (Current). This is what really makes me wonder if the footage I have imported on my computer is in HD. What would my exports be like at this point? What did I do wrong to import it not in HD, was it something as simple as not importing with the setting full?
  • 12. Re: How do you know if what you have imported is HD (Full)? (HV20, iMovie '
    Jeremy Hansen Level 4 Level 4 (1,900 points)
    As you said, open it in Quicktime and look at the movie info. 720x480 is SD.

    The HV20 does indeed record in 1080i. It does not have a 720p mode. If the DV files you are talking about are captured from the camera, then you have converted somehow. I believe that camera has a "convert output to DV" function. So either the camera or iMovie are converting your 1080i to SD. But perhaps you were talking about two separate examples?

    Jeremy