In essense, all I am looking to do is import a finished project from iMovie into FCPX, and then created my exported file, which will hopefully be of a better quality.
1. Create project in iMovie with transitions, vioceovers, picture in picture, audio, etc.
2. Import this project into FCPX
3. Export to a file
At step 2 above, will it keep all of the elements in the project intact or will it lose any transitions/audio etc?
If you import directly into FCPX, your clips will be converted to ProRes 422.
If you import to iMovie, create your project, then work on it further in FCP, your clips will be converted into Apple Intermediate Codec, and FCP will continue working with the Apple Intermediate Codec files.
Normally, this should not be a problem, but in your case, with the banding, it may not help.
But it is easy to try.
In FCPX, click FILE/IMPORT iMOVIE PROJECT. Then you can export it and see for yourself.
The quality of the clips within iMovie, even as AIC, seems very good in the preview window - its just when the project is exported that the quality drops - hence why I want to import the project into FCPX BEFORE I export the end result.
Will try it when I get home, I was just interested to know if all my audio, transitions, PIP, etc will also go across to FCPX successfully?
Also what are the recommended export settings for FCPX to produce high quality exported movies?
Yes, everything is available in FCPX, including photos music, transitions, PIP.
I usually export from FCP as FILE/EXPORT MEDIA/CURRENT SETTINGS, to get a master file in ProRes or AIC, then use Compressor to compress to h.264, but you can go directly to h.264 from FCP if you want.
I haven't done this enough to have an opinion, but most people seem to like exporting a full size master file and then compressing.
… banding and pixelation in dark areas are the main concern.
… usual (unwanted) effects based upon multiplication of 'flaws' while compression.
a) your cam compresses too much - if optional, try to create as large files as possible in cam
b) work within 'optimized surrounding' - avoid ISOs beyong 800, avoid any in-cam enhancements (sharpen, saturation, denoise), use NG-filters instead super-high shutter speeds; avoid high contrasts (dynamic range of 11EV is just for stills - video has by far less!) etc
c) AppleIntermediate isn't as good as proRes - if quality is your concern, import from cam straight into FCPX, avoid iMovie