It was not selecting "24 fps Cinema" when creating a new project which prevented me from exporting to 720p or 1080p HD video -- The problem was selecting "Standard 4:3". I just tested this to confirm it was the culprit.
If I take the same 1080p video and export it from iMovie 9.0.8 from my MacBook Pro, the 1080p option is available. The same video when exported from my 2011 iMac, will not even let me export it in 720p! I compared preferences in iMovie on both Mac's and they are identical.
I'm wondering if iMovie running on the iMac has a bug? I belive I should be able to export to 1080p, even with the non-retina video.
I am baffled.
The only thing I can think of is to check the Media Browser to see if there is already a 1920x1080 copy of the movie in there. If there were, it might not give you the option to make one since you already have one. Even so, this should not be the case for EXPORT MOVIE.
You can check the Media Browser by going to your Project in the FInder. Then right-click on it and select SHOW PACKAGE CONTENTS. Within the Package, go to the Movies folder. See if there are any movies in there.
I FINALLY figured it out...
I had created a new project named "General Editing". When I created it, I belive I selected "24 fps Cinema". I deleted that project and created a new project using "30 fps NTSC". Now when I drag the movie to this new project, I am able to export to 1080p.
Thanks for your help with this.
I found that you can change the Aspect Ratio (as you suggest in your last post) of your project without creating a new one. Instead, go to the the Project Library (if you are IN the project currently, you have to click on the left pointing arrow at the top left that says "Project Library" in it to get back to the Project Library). Right-click on the project, select "Project Properties" and change the Aspect Ratio from Standard (4:3) to Widescreen (16:9). Note that this will delete any movie files that were rendered via "Finalize Project" (assuming you have done that) so you'll have to re-render (if you want to regenerate them at this time), which will take longer than when using Standard aspect ratio.
Im curious about this point. I recently imported some video from a 5S, the option on my mac said, import as large or original, when i checked orginal I got a warning saying it may lose quality on playback so I checked large. I want to keep the quality from the 5S so I can export to itunes and watch on my HD tv with apple TV, by checking large does that decrease quality or is it the correct default?
My macbook is non-retina so I am assuming the playback quality it refers to is on my mac. I have changed the default to original even with the playback warning - is this correct?