8 Replies Latest reply: Jul 9, 2011 1:55 PM by rseredyn
poiboy2 Level 1 Level 1
Hi all,

I have a question regarding iMovie '09. how do you control the import quality of iMovie. My girlfriend and i were working on a project and have seen very noticable quality loss. We were able to track it down to the import function of iMovie. We were able to rule out iDVD as a compression issue, and the render settings out of iMovie. We took a source video examined it. Yes its an AVI and natively it has compression, we understand that. But after importing it into iMovie, the compression is 10 fold. Royally unacceptable. AFter looking to tweak any kind of setting to control the quality of that import would be helpful. If this is a behavior of iMovie, then this is just a poor product plain and simple.

Any help to control the import quality would be great.


a1150, Mac OS X (10.6.2)
  • Ziatron Level 4 Level 4
    For faster editing iMovie 09 and 11 uses single-field processing. This means every other horizontal line of the video is thrown out, which reduces the sharpness of the footage.

    For better quality use iMovie 06, it uses ALL of the image. iMovie 06 works great with iDVD 09 and iDVD 11 also.
  • messier57 Level 1 Level 1
    I have had similar issues with '09 with loss of quality. About the only time I can get good quality out is if it is HD going in, and even then there is loss of quality, just that since I am starting with HD the output is semi-acceptable.

    You mention iMovie 06. Where can I get it? I understand Apple no longer supports it.
  • Teqnilogik Level 1 Level 1
    I am having the same problem with iMovie '11. I believe I had this problem in iMovie '09 as well but didn't really notice it until I had iMove '11 installed. When a movie is imported into iMovie the quality is drastically reduced. The video becomes very blocky and pixelated - almost as if it is using less colors or a very high compression. This doesn't just affect the preview in iMovie, it affects the movie exports as well. The exports have the same quality as the preview in iMovie.

    I have tried deleting components in /Library/QuickTime. I have re-installed iMovie '11. I know it isn't the video file because the file plays fine in QuickTime and VLC. Also, my fiance's iMac loads the video just fine in iMovie '09 with no quality loss. I supposed I could try to re-install iMovie '09 and see if the issue persists but it appears that this may be something on my iMac causing the issue. I just don't know what that would be. When I first got my iMac, iMovie '09 imported videos without drastically reducing the quality like it's doing now.

    Any suggestions?
  • kenerin Level 1 Level 1
    I just made the switch from PC to Mac after hearing so much about the quality of video editing programs in a Mac! I Hooked the firewire up to my JVC mini DV camera and was anticipating a great import into IMovie only to be sooo disappointed by the grainy dingy results. From what I have been reading this may be a problem with the new IMovie version. Mine is a new Mac Mini so I believe it is IMovie 11. I was hoping someone could tell me how to change some settings but I think I may have made a mistake switching to a Mac!
  • kenerin Level 1 Level 1
    Thanks for the input, it is very helpful.
    I was trying to get away without spending quite as much money as the Grass Valley advc300. I don't necessarily require professional quality video but would like decent quality. Will any usb device give me that? I know there is a Grass Valley ADVCmini USB Video Converter, any idea if that works very well. It's only about $150.00, about 1/3 of the ADVC300.
  • ajoseph20x Level 1 Level 1

    Do you know if Final Cut Pro has the same problem?  And yes, I've noticed the major loss of quality after importing footage to iMovie 9 and 11.

  • Bengt Wärleby Level 6 Level 6



    Yes its an AVI and natively it has compression


    .avi - is not a format or codec - it is a container and can contain many types of codecs


    iMovie - is not a general importing tool - but has a rather limited taste.


    So find out what codec Your movie material is in -


    my .avi was in iv50 - old codec on window platform.

    • Open on a PC-Window with Microsoft Movie Maker.

    • Put into TimeLine

    • Save on ”this Computer” as .wmv

    move over to Mac and open with QuickTime Pro and save as StreamingDV

    (or use Flip4Mac - when it is payed then no Waterstamp and time limit)


    Yours Bengt W

  • rseredyn Level 1 Level 1

    Hi Teqnilogik


    I use iMovie since 2009 (iMovie' 08 first, now iMovie'11). Of course it isn't proffessional video tool but I must stress that if you have terrible decrease of quality after import then is something wrong, somewhere in process.

    I made some tests with HD quality movies, sourced from YouTube. After importing, making some edits, exporting in HD quality and after burning in Toast 11 with HD plug-in I received very nice HD DVD (means DVD with Blue Ray content).


    So, let's start to check out step-by-step, what and how do you proceed:

    1. What kind of source material you want to import? It was a movie stored in camcorder or just file on disk? What are parameters of the movie? Please check it out in MPEG Streamclip (File / Show Stream info)

    2. How do you import the movie? Which setting you made?

    3. Do you made any changes / edit in movie?

    4. How do you export the movie? Please give me info about settings / parameters you set in iMovie


    Best regards