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Old February 2nd, 2009, 11:30 PM   #1
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Best codec for editing in iMovie

I have established through other forums that iMovie 08 and 09 has a lot of trouble editing H.26 footage from the Canon 5D Mark 11. It has been suggested that changing format of the file to Apple Intermediate Codec resolves the issue. But I have a few questions that this forum my be better informed to advise on.

I've downloaded MPEG Streamclip. When I export a H.26 file from it, for the highest possible resolution end result and editing in iMovie 08 (shortly 09), is Apple Intermediate Codec my best choice of formats. It produces a file some 3 times larger than the original H.26 file from the Canon 5D Mark 11. Also, I presume the "Quality" slider should be set to 100% for best resolution.

There are many other codecs available here, including lots of Apple options, but is the AIC the best choice for the highest quality final resolution?

Scott
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 09:50 AM   #2
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Does iMovie still convert all video to it's own format when you import it anyway? - it used to, and I think it used the Apple Intermediate codec.

I know that if you use Final Cut to import H.264 video, it converts it to the Apple Intermediate codec. The only downside to that codec is that it's much larger than others...but then that's kind of the point...it's only an intermediate codec, so less image loss and doesn't require as much processor effort.

I would use it, keep your source files for archiving with the project, and throw away the intermediate files when you're done (just keep notes so you can recreate them if some time in the future you want to redo the project) Though if you're using iMovie, I think it will have a coyp of the files in the Project anyway.


FYI. After doing a bit of research in relation to another question about iMovie 08, I discovered that it does single-field processing; reducing the resolution of the video. I don't know if iMovie 09 also does this, but I would avoid using iMovie 08...you might want to consider using Final Cut Express.

Last edited by Michael Murie; February 3rd, 2009 at 11:28 AM.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 05:21 PM   #3
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Thanks for that Michael.

I was under the impression that iMovie 08 and 09 where HD compatible. However, there seems to be a number of different resolutions that are referred to as HD.

Scott
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 09:37 PM   #4
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The joys of HD...there are several formats....and then there's also some cheating going on.

1080 HD has 1080 vertical lines, and 1920 horizontal pixels. But that's a lot of video, so some cheating goes on. For example, HDV (the tape based) cameras, are actually 1440 x 1080.

720 is 1280x720.

iMovie is either using a reduced frame size, and/or just using every other horizontal line to do some processing.

Whether this is a problem depends on what you are doing: if you're going to 720 to upload to YouTube, then that may not be a problem! Same with if you're going to a DVD. If you're going to Bluray and playing on a big TV, then you might notice the resolution loss.
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Old February 3rd, 2009, 11:50 PM   #5
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Michael, many thanks for your reply and input. I have been going crazy for almost 2 months now trying to edit footage from my 5D Mark 11 and have spent hundreds of hours on the net and plenty of $ upgrading my computer to get around iMovie crashes with the footage from the 5D 11. Today I made some leeway in an Apple forum thread (Apple - Support - Discussions - iMovie 09 crashing using Canon EOS 5D ...). However after doing all of this I have also established that iDVD (which is required to burn a DVD of iMovie projects) has an output resolution of 480i!

Now while I am primarily a photo journalist, and love the still shots from the camera, a major objective has been to create promotional DVDs with the 5D Mark 11 video footage. I want to be able to supply these in the full resolution and HD of the original 5D files. It appears that there is no way that an iLife workflow can offer that. I am now looking at what application can offer me a final output quality to match the Canon 5D Mark11.

I probably should post this request on this forum as a new post.

Regards,

Scott Amon
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Old February 4th, 2009, 10:50 AM   #6
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Scott,

I'd recommend you get Final Cut Express. It's a lot more powerful than iMovie and not too expensive. It's a little more complicated, but I don't think it will take too long to get the hang of it (though you might want to buy a good book to go with it....or if you have a friend that uses it and can give you a short demo that might get you going!)

Re: iDVD.
Yeah, it only supports standard definition (NTSC/PAL) though it does do (anamorphic) widescreen DVDs if you choose widescreen, so that is something (and most people are still distributing on DVDs at the moment anyway.)

Even though they joined the Bluray organization, they still don't have any support for Bluray (and there's some question if they ever will....some think it's a licensing cost issue, and other think Apple has decided that the cloud is the future.)

If you want to create Bluray discs you will have to buy a third party burner (like LaCie). Check out Toast; it will let you create Bluray discs. I believe it will even burn Bluray content on a DVD that will play in a Bluray player at HD (but you're limited to 20 minutes of video!)

Hope that helps.


Where in NSW is Coffs Harbour? I lived in Sydney for a couple of years back in the 80's....
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Old February 4th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #7
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Coffs Harbour is about half way between Sydney and Brisbane on Australia's east coast (which you of course would know). We are only about 6km from the coast and live on acreage in a very pretty valley. Make most of my living from photo journalism, but also run about 140 head of cattle and breed Kelpies (Australian sheep and cattle working dogs). So to do some HD promo videos of my Kelpies and cattle would be most advantageous.

Regards,

Scott
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