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QuickTime export Apple Intermediate Codec is far better than H264!

2444 Views 4 Replies Latest reply: May 7, 2010 4:41 PM by AppleMan1958 RSS
A.Y. Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
Currently Being Moderated
May 6, 2010 7:27 PM
Maybe this info will be helpful to someone! Your milage may vary, depending on your setup!

I have to export several 2-hour-long, edited Full-HD videos to QuickTime movies so that other Mac users can import these videos into their iMovie Events.

To find the best export option, 4 tests were done on a 24" Aluminum iMac with 600+GB free space, OSX 10.5.8 clean installed a week ago: 10-second QuickTime 1920 X 1080 video exported with iMovie 09:

(1) Apple Intermediate Codec default = 37 second processing time, 93.7MB final file size. This option delivers the smoothest playback and the sharpest image quality.

(2) H264 default with 1 modification: 1920 X 1080 size = 132 second processing time, 29.2MB file size, video is noticeably softer and too jerky to watch.

(3) H264 default with 2 modifications: 1920 X 1080 size, single pass = 84 second processing time, 33.8MB file size, video is noticeably softer and too jerky to watch.

(4) H264 default with 3 modifications: 1920 X 1080 size, single pass, best quality = 91 second processing time, 71.4MB file size, video is closer to AIC export, but not as smooth.

Needless to say I ended up exporting with the Apple Intermediate Codec default setting. H264 Full-HD export took far too long and the results were not good.

Caution: some QT-Export setting combinations will prevent iMovie 09 from importing its own video so do some tests first. I found this out the hard way =)
24" iMac (OS X Leopard/XP) and 20" Cinema Display, Since 84 Mac 128K and IBM PC
  • Steve Mullen Level 2 Level 2 (250 points)
    Makes completely sense -- H.264 is a very highly compressed long GOP codec.

    AIC is far more lightly compressed, I-frame (non-long GOP) codec.
    Cheers, author; The Ins and Outs of iMovie 09: Maximum Quality HD and DV
  • Wayne Henderson Level 3 Level 3 (580 points)
    As Steve noted, your results make sense - for your needs. H.264 is highly compressed and must be decompressed for viewing, so it takes time going in and back out. AIC is a much better way to share movie files, assuming you have disk space to spare, if there will be editing performed afterwards.

    But H.264 is "far better" if the goal is to squeeze as much quality as possible into the smallest file possible, or lowest bandwidth or bitrate. That's why it's used (as AVC or MPREG-4) to put movies on disks.
    Dual G5 2GHz, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)
    You probably need to increase the bit rate.
    iMac 24 2.8Ghz, iPhone, TV, Mac OS X (10.6.3), Panasonic HDC-SD5 iMovie 8.0.6


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