Previous 1 2 3 Next 43 Replies Latest reply: Oct 16, 2014 12:08 AM by C.Andy Go to original post
  • rahulastro Level 1 (0 points)

    When you Finalize the Project, will iMovie turn it into a proper movie with a set format such as .avi, or .mp4, etc?

  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    rahulastro wrote:


    When you Finalize the Project, will iMovie turn it into a proper movie with a set format such as .avi, or .mp4, etc?

    Yes, finalizing will produce separate movies in each of the available sizes, such as Small, Medium, Large and so forth. The movies will be in the (widely used) H.264 format and will be QuickTime files with the extension .m4v or .mov, depending on the size.


    Unless you want to produce movies in all of the available sizes for various purposes, rather than Finalizing it's best to Share in just the size you require. As reported elsewhere in this thread, choose Share>Media Browser, Share>iTunes or Share>Export using QuickTime. This will considerably reduce the encoding time required to produce the movie, as only one movie will be exported when using one of these methods (provided you have selected only one of the available sizes to export).


    To check the format of an exported (shared) movie, open it in QuickTime. In QuickTime's menu, click on Window then Show Movie Inspector (or use the shortcut Command>I). In the Inspector that opens you will see the format listed, among other items.




    Message was edited by: John Cogdell

  • Russellero Level 1 (0 points)

    My 720p movies are set to 5,000 bit rate on export - but the resulting QT .mov doggedly indicates 5,300 (even though I follow compression guidelines to the letter) meaning I can't upload as HD to Vimeo. Will a "finalize" sort this out?

  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    In iMovie '11 there is a default setting for sharing to Vimeo (Share>Vimeo). I just shared a short iMovie trailer to Vimeo using the HD 720p size. In QuickTime the Data Rate showed 7.97 Mbits/s (megabits per second) which translates tp 7,970 Kbits/s (kilobits per second). The movie was successfully uploaded to Vimeo.


    So, try uploading your movie using iMovie's preset option "Share>Vimeo" at the HD 720p size. I'm not sure why Vimeo is not accepting your movie at 5.3 Mbits/s. I thought the 5000 kilobits/s was simply a guideline for HD video uploads, but could be wrong.



  • Russellero Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks John. The problem appears to be with my "PRO" account at Vimeo ...

  • ZWaldemar Level 1 (0 points)

    i am new to imovie. I worked on a movie for about 6 hours then when i was finished i tried to share to youtube, but it says it would tke like 13 hours. So I choose 'Finalize project'' I know Finalize project is supposed to take longer but for me it only took 15 min. once i Finalized it it disapeared and I cant find it anywhere. Where did my project go?

  • RealEstateMiami Level 1 (0 points)

    Hello all,

    I just have a quick question and it may have already been answered,and if so i really apologize


    Do we need to finalize a project at all?  Can we just export the size we want and then upload it to wherever we want.....?



  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    RealEstateMiami wrote:


    Do we need to finalize a project at all?  Can we just export the size we want and then upload it to wherever we want.....?


    No, you don't need to finalize projects. Yes, just export (share) whatever size or sizes you need.


    Finalizing simply creates a movie in each of the available sizes. This is handy if you have several purposes in mind, such as for iTunes, the web, burning a DVD, or perhaps creating a full HD version for playback through an Apple TV or other media player. The downside is that it takes much longer than just sharing at one of the sizes.


    So, it's usually best to create just the version you need. The odds are that this version will also suit any other purposes you may have in mind. For exanple, a Full HD 1080p version will be perfect for Apple TV (the latest version) and also for publishing to YouTube or Vimeo. It can also be used for burning a DVD, but will be downscaled to Standard Definition, of course.



  • RealEstateMiami Level 1 (0 points)

    John.... Clear as water !! Thank you so much

  • jlin22 Level 1 (0 points)

    Finalizing a project is like saving a graphics file in Photoshop.  When you add photo effects such as changing colors, touching up, softening or sharpening the image, etc., all your changes and applied effects are still there when you save as a ".psd" extension.  All the ingredients are still intact when you open and modify it.  Therefore, when you open your project from the Project Library, all the effects you applied to the project is there: video, color changes, audio, frame cuts, music, voiceovers, etc.  This is why both Photoshop and iMovie Finalized Project files are extremely large. 


    When you export the movie, it is equivalent to saving a graphics file in Photoshop as a "img" or "jpeg."  All the ingredients are "merged down" or "flattened" to a "mov" file, which is similar to merging or flattening a graphic or photo and saving as a "img" or "jpeg" file when using Photoshop.  This means that when you open by importing the file, the original ingredients and effects you applied are no longer modifiable.  However, you could add NEW effects to the movie and then export it with the changes.


    Exporting the file creates 5 different sizes ready for most video players to use: 720HD, 1080HD, Small, Medium, and Large.

  • Wayneb20002000 Level 1 (0 points)


    Reading about finalizing I have a question, if I record in 1080p when I finalize am I right in thinking it does 1080p 960,720 etc so I can chose which I want wether it's going my hd tv in 1080p or iPad in 720 then I assume I can send to tv with Apple TV or send to iPad by putting in iTunes then plugging iPad in.

    Also if I just record in say 960 when I finalize will it put it to 960,720 etc missing the 108 out


    Thanks for your help in advance

  • John Cogdell Level 5 (4,605 points)

    If you record as 1080p and import to iMovie as Full, when you Finalize you will get a movie for each of the preset sizes, as follows:


    • Mobile (480x272)
    • Medium (640x360)
    • Large (960x540)
    • HD 720p (1280x720)
    • HD 1080p (1920x1080)


    If you imported as Large (960x540), the export size HD 1080p is still available as an export option (along with all the other sizes). iMovie will upscale the video to HD 1080p if you choose that option, but it probably won't look as good as exported clips initially imported as Full (1080p).



  • ashdrice Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi just wondering how i can save my current project I'm working on to my usb so i can return to it and keep working on it in the future? Do I have to finalise my project?


    Thanks Ashlee

  • C.Andy Level 1 (0 points)

    John, you sure provided some important information, as indicated by the 400k views!  But I seem to see behaviour in iMovies 11 that is inconsistent with one of your main points: "Finalizing simply creates a movie in each of the available sizes".  I assembled a project that is 2.06 hours long, in 3/4 format (originally from 4 VHS tapes).  I did "Finalize", which took 3 hours.  Then I immediately tried to Share with iDVD, and it said "Preparing Project", with a 35-minute time estimate!  Surprised by this in the light of your posts, I looked in .../Movies/iMovie projects.localized/MyProject/Movies/, and I see only large.m4v, which was time-stamped when I did Finalize, and medium.m4v, time-stamped when it did the Share to iDVD.


    So was there an iMovie update since your post that changed its behaviour?


    Also, I think you suggested that iDVD would want large, so I was surprised that it started to make medium.  (iDVD said it still was too large for the default encoder setting.)





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