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HD Quality of video output in iMovie '11

48693 Views 48 Replies Latest reply: Jan 12, 2014 8:17 AM by Pieter_from_Ehv RSS
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petvas Level 2 Level 2 (275 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Nov 2, 2010 11:27 AM
First, let me tell you that this version of iMovie has really great features. It would be the perfect program for me if e output quality was any good. I have a Panasoic TM700 camera and I shoot 1080p video @25fps. I import the video to iMovie and when I export it using the default 1080p setting, I get not the best quality my camera has. The video has artifacts and on most dark places it pixelates. I tried nearly all QuickTime export settings, changed compression method, quality, keyframes, but I always get the same problems. Using Adobe Premiere the same video looks excellent.
The quail isn't bad, but it is not what my camera can. I now use iMovie only when I want fast results that I publish on YouTube. For everything else I use Adobe Premiere. It is really a shame.
Mac Pro Mid July 2010, Quad Core @ 2,8Ghz, Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPad 16GB WiFi
  • John Santini Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2010 7:57 AM (in response to petvas)
    I too have a HD Video camera and just purchased the upgrade. I am considering buying a HD Burner, so the quality would not be lossless, however I would need to purchase Roxio Pro software to get the HD quality. I have the same problem when exporting from iMovie. Is there a codec which workd best?
    Mac Book Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • John Santini Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2010 7:58 AM (in response to petvas)
    I too have a HD Video camera and just purchased the upgrade. I am considering buying a HD Burner, so the quality would not be lossless, however I would need to purchase Roxio Pro software to get the HD quality. I have the same problem when exporting from iMovie. Is there a codec which works better than others?
    Mac Book Pro, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • -Iliya- Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 3, 2010 2:59 PM (in response to petvas)
    video quality in imovie 11 has become much worse than imovie 09 - especially noticeable on dark places
    mac pro, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • stefdude Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 1, 2011 2:05 PM (in response to -Iliya-)

    Have same poor video quality

    Best tested using still pictures with dark portions

    The ouput QT, full HD 1080 is very poor

    Actually same or worse like preview

     

    BUT

    Try same with iPhoto and export a movie, same settings like above, then quality is perfect

    So strange

    Something is wrong during iMovie import

     

    Hope iMovie can be improved, for the rest it is perfect all that I need in there

    Now only improve output quality, please apple

  • themightygoose Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 11, 2011 6:54 AM (in response to stefdude)

    I wasted countless hours trying to find the right codec but kept having the same quality issue you are all having.  Apple Support had me trying all kinds of crazy things, including reinstalling Lion.  Eventually I got through to a senior iMovie technician who told me I was expecting too much from a $15 program I got for free.  He said if I wanted good video I would need to step up to Final Cut.  I don't understand why Apple would even bother putting out a program that is so much of a half-effort.  I am a new Apple user from PC.  I made the switch because of all the hype about how great Apple is for video editing.  So far I'm not a believer...

  • Bengt Wärleby Level 6 Level 6 (18,920 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 11, 2011 12:42 PM (in response to petvas)

    Hi

     

    May be something might be of interest in my notes on DVD-Quality

     

    DVD quality

     

    1. iDVD 08, 09 & 11 has three levels of qualities. (version 7.0.1, 7,0.4 & 7.1.1)

       iDVD 6 has the two last ones

    • Professional Quality (movies + menus up to 120 min.) - BEST

    • Best Performances (movies + menus  less than 60 min.) - High quality on final DVD

    • High Quality (in iDVD08 or 09) / Best Quality (in iDVD6) (movies + menus up to 120 min.) - slightly lower quality than above

     

    About double on DL DVDs.

     

    2. Video from

    • FCE/P - Export out as full quality QuickTime.mov (not self-containing, no conversion)

    • iMovie x-6 - Don't use ”Share/Export to iDVD” = destructive even to movie project and especially so

    when the movie includes photos. Instead just drop or import the iMovie movie project icon (with a Star on it) into iDVD theme window.

    • iMovie’08 or 09 or 11 - are not meant to go to iDVD. Go via Media Browser and as Large (not HD or other resolution) or rather use iMovie HD 6 from start.

    (they do only deliver every second line over to iDVD - So does not the other ones do)

     

    3. I use Roxio Toast™ to make an as slow burn as possibly eg x1 (in iDVD’08 or 09  this can also be set)

    This can also be done with Apple’s Disk Utilities application.

     

    4. There has to be about or more than 25Gb free space on internal (start-up) hard disk. iDVD can't

    use an external one as scratch disk (if it is not start-up disc).

     

    5. I use Verbatim ( also recommended by many - Taiyo Yuden DVDs - I can’t get hold of it to test )

     

    6. I use DVD-R (no +R or +/-RW)

     

    7. Keep NTSC to NTSC - or - PAL to PAL when going from iMovie to iDVD

     

    8. Don’t burn more than three DVD at a time - but let the laser cool off for a while before next batch.

     

    iDVD quality also depends on.

     

    • DVD is a standard in it self. It is Standard Definition Quality = Same as on old CRT-TV sets and can not

    deliver anything better that this.

     

    HD-DVD was a short-lived standard and it was only a few Toshiba DVD-players that could playback.

    These DVDs could be made in DVD-Studio Pro. But they don’t playback on any other standard DVD-layer.

     

    Blu-Ray / BD can be coded onto DVDs but limited in time to - about 20-30 minutes and then need

    _ Roxio Toast™ 10 Pro incl. BD-component

    _ BD disks and burner if full length movies are to be stored

    _ BD-Player or PlayStation3 - to be able to playback

    The BD-encoded DVDs can be play-backed IF Mac also have Roxio DVD-player tool. Not on any standard Mac or DVD-player

    Full BD-disks needs a BD-player (in Mac) as they need blue-laser to be read. No red-laser can do this.

     

    • HOW much free space is there on Your internal (start-up) hard disk. Go for approx. 25Gb.

    less than 5Gb and Your result will most probably not play.

     

    • How it was recorded - Tripod vs Handheld Camera. A stable picture will give a much higher quality (due to what happens when encoding to .mpeg2 for the DVD - 2hour DV is about 27Gb and is supposed to fit on a 4.2-4.7Gb DVD disk)

     

    • Audio is most often more critical than picture. Bad audio and with dropouts usually results in a non-viewed movie.

     

    • Use of Video-editor. iMovie’08 or 09 or 11 are not the tools for DVD-production. They discard every second line resulting in a close to VHS-tape quality.

    iMovie 1 to HD6 and FinalCut any version delivers same quality as Camera record in = 100% to iDVD

     

    • What kind of movie project You drop into it. MPEG4 seems to be a bad choice.

    other strange formats are .avi, .wmv, .flash etc. Convert to streamingDV first

    Also audio formats matters. I use only .aiff or from miniDV tape Camera 16-bit

    strange formats often problematic are .avi, .wmv, audio from iTunes, .mp3 etc

    Convert to .aiff first and use this in movie project

     

    • What kind of standard - NTSC movie and NTSC DVD or PAL to PAL - no mix.

    (If You need to change to do a NTSC DVD from PAL material let JES_Deinterlacer_3.2.2 do the conversion)

     

    (Dropping a PAL movie into a NTSC iDVD project (or other way around) is no good idea - it works BUT THE RESULTING DVD will be very choppy and not worth to look on)

     

    (US) NTSC DVDs most often are playable in EU

     

    (EU) PAL DVDs most often needs to be converted to play in US

     

    If they are play-backed by a Mac - then You need not to care about NTSC or PAL - JUST on keeping same standard from start to goal.

     

    • What kind of DVDs You are using. I use Verbatim DVD-R (this brand AND no +R or +/-RW) Taiyo Juden also is supposed to be a good choice.

     

    • How You encode and burn it. Two settings prior iDVD’08 or 09

    Pro Quality (only in iDVD 08 & 09)

    Best / High Quality (not always - most often not)

    Best / High Performances (most often my choice before Pro Quality)

     

    1. go to iDVD pref. menu and select tab far right and set down burn speed to x1 (less errors = plays better) - only in iDVD 08 & 09

    (x4 by some and may be even better)

    for other iDVD versions - "Save as a DiskImage" and burn by use of Disk Util tool - here You can set down to x4 DVD

     

    2. Project info. Select Professional Encoding - only in iDVD 08 & 09.

     

    Region codes.

    iDVD - only burn Region = 0 - meaning - DVDs are playable everywhere

     

    DVD Studio pro can set Region codes.

    1 = US

    2 = EU

     

    unclemano wrote

     

    What it turned out to be was the "quality" settings in iDVD. The total clip time was NOT over 2 hours or 4.7GB, yet iDVD created massive visual artifacts on the "professional quality" setting.

     

    I switched the settings to "high quality" which solved the problem. According iDVD help, "high quality" determines the best bit rate for the clips you have.

     

    I have NEVER seen iDVD do this before, especially when I was under the 2 hour and 4.7GB limits.

     

    For anyone else, there seem to be 2 places in iDVD to set quality settings, the first is under "preferences" and the second under "project info." They do NOT seem to be linked (i.e. if you change one, the other is NOT changed). take care, Mario

     

    TO GET IT TO WORK SLIGHTLY FASTER

    • Minimum of 25Gb free space on Start-Up hard disk

    • No other programs running in BackGround eg Energy-Saver

    • Don’t let HD spin down or be turned off (in Energy-Save)

    • Move hard disks that are not to be used to Trash - To be disconnected/turned off

    • Goto Spotlight and set the rest of them under Integrity (not to be scanned)

    • Set screen-saver to a folder without any photo - then make an active corner (up right for me) and set

    pointer to this - turns on screen saver - to show that it has nothing to show

     

    Yours Bengt W

  • themightygoose Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 11, 2011 1:01 PM (in response to Bengt Wärleby)

    I appreciate the response.  I noticed, near the bottom you stated that iMovie 11 is not the choice for DVD-production as it drops every second line, resulting in VHS quality video.  that seems to be where I'm at.  I compare the iMovie output to the original source and there is a significant drop in quality.  I am burning to Blu Ray using Toast 11 Titanium.  It sounds like iMovie will be good for quick, YouTube quality videos, but for videos demanding high quality, I think I will need FCPX.  I wish Adobe Premiere worked better on Apple as they would definitely win me over.  If they fix some of the issues before I purchase FCP X then it will be a no-brainer.  I'm not a program writer but I can't imagine, with all of Apple's resources, that it would have been very difficult to keep iMovie 11 from dropping the quality of a source.  I expected more from Apple.  iMovie never impressed me but it would have suited my needs if the quality of the video didn't degrade so much from the source.  With all the criticizm of FCPX and the fact that they don't offer a trial period, I'm hesitant to purchase it.  I wish someone would provide me with a viable option.

     

    Thanks again.

     

    Glenn

  • Bengt Wärleby Level 6 Level 6 (18,920 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 11, 2011 1:10 PM (in response to themightygoose)

    AND

     

    Please confirm that You can get 100% over via FinalCut Pro X - I have NO hands on experience of this.

     

    ask in FCP-X forum - just to confirm.

     

    iMovie up to HD6 - does deliver

     

    FinalCut Express up to 4 - does deliver

     

    FinalCut Pro up to 6 - I've tested - does deliver - and version 7 I can not suppose that it's any different

     

    FCP-X - Don't know - but what they did do to iMovie was a total blow to me so I have my doubts.

     

    Yours Bengt W

  • Robert Myers8 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 11, 2011 4:49 PM (in response to Bengt Wärleby)

    i am very interested to know whether or not FCP-X can produce high quality data for DVD production as well.

     

    I like the quick editing functions of imovie 11, but some of the things i'm making absolutely have to be put on to DVD.

     

    for anyone using FCP-X, does it import already made iMovie HD projects very well?

  • jbphil1 Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 12, 2011 4:26 AM (in response to themightygoose)

    You can get HD quality out of iMovie 09/11. You have to deinterlace your footage first, that is, before you import it into iMovie. I wrote a primer on this for myself last year. You can get it here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5961135/iMovie09_HD_%20Import_Export.pdf

     

    It works for me and might help.

     

    John P

  • themightygoose Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 12, 2011 6:35 AM (in response to petvas)

    John P.

     

    I read your article.  It seems you needed to deinterlace because you're recording at 50fps.  My camcorder records at 1080p30fps.  I don't think running an external deinterlacer is necessary.  The real problem seems to be in the resolution.  iMovie11 seems to drop resolution and then try to bump it back up, so there is significant loss in detail.  I don't know if this is actually what's happening but the problems I am having seem to definitely be related to video resolution, not format.  But that's just a guess based on what I'm seeing and my experience with digital photography. 

  • johnday Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 5, 2012 8:20 AM (in response to themightygoose)

    Hi

    I have been reading the posts relating to HD output quality as I posted EXACTLY the same issue some months ago and, after speaking with Apple, found no real answer.  I too dumped my PC in favour of the much hyped iMac to be able to produce home video and play it through a media player onto my TV.  Did you have any luck?  I have even tried installing a copy of iMovie HD 6 for its much coveted reviews for HD but compared to iMovie 11 much less feature rich. 

    I would be very interested to hear of anyone having any success in outputing a quality movie to run on a media player.  (The media player can play the native Canon M2TS file in full HD glory in case you wondered!).

    Regards

    John

  • themightygoose Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 5, 2012 8:51 AM (in response to johnday)

    I finally got in touch with an Apple support, upper-tier technician.  He advised that I was expecting too much from a $20.00 program I got for free.  Apparently Apple considers iMovie to be more of a toy than a real movie editor.  He suggested I purchase Final Cut X if I wanted good results.  I don't understand Apple's logic on this one, but that appears to be the final answer.

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