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Old September 12th, 2006, 09:25 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Alex, VA
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I need a faster way to get DVD from iMovie files...

Scenario: We spend the day shooting a series of participant interviews with one or more actors from a group situation. For example, all of Participant “A” performances are on tape A and all of Participant “B” performances are on tape B , and so on. Files are also generated as clips in iMovie. The performances are reviewed for critique and adivice for improvement from iMovie in high rez. Through the years of doing this, the participants all carried their VHS tapes away at the close of the day. That used to be pretty simple. We would change tapes and assemble record the series of performances to show a trend toward improvement through the day. They carry their tapes away and I don't have additional work later. I can pack my gear and leave.

VHS has fallen into disfavor with the executive client who wants a disk based “daily” for each participant at the end of each day, At the end of the day each participant needs to walk with their own performance on a DVD or CD based playback medium. The equivalent of VHS visual quality is acceptable for DVD or CD copies. There is never the need for multiple copies of the same tape, CD or DVD.

We are currently rolling the VHS tape as well as creating and reviewing digital files on the Mac using iMovie to create clips. Video and audio signals are digitally encoded in real time through a DAC 100 box and firewired into the Mac. The clips are built in iMovie. We also back up each participants' performances on VHS in case the computer has a problem so we can cue up the last take on the VHS tape and review that. At the end of the day, reluctantly, the VHS is the only “quick” method of distribution and goes to the participant who frequently says “What is this !” I don't have a VHS player!!! or I'd like to see this on my computer. So I spend the rest of my evening generating individual DVDs of these clips for each participant. The immediacy of the training is lost when the DVD is delivered days later. Plus I have no time for this. Looks nice to deliver on DVD, but this is too much time spent on what is essentially a “scratch track”.

The iMovie creates uncompressed clips for each performance of each participant, which are then too large to “drag” and store to a data disk for distribution and playback later. A data file of 8 G for example does not fit on a single sided DVD. The individual file of each take can be 3 to 4 G each, but by using some background compression or other method, these files could be compressed significantly and still be acceptable to end user. What would that background compression be?

Is there a way to handle this differently?

Running the signal to a standalone DVD burner has been considered. There has to be an additive method of building these individual "reels" There is also interest in including client titling and contact information/powerpoint slide files that could be added to the disk, if there were a method and time to do it.

Is there a Mac software solution that can work side by side, while the iMovie is also working, to encode/prep these clips to ready them for a "drag" to a flash drive in low rez? Would all this processing "bog" down a Mac Powerbook?
Randall Gafner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2006, 09:59 AM   #2
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Apple's "Compressor" does a great job for all the encoding I do at work. I use it in conjunction with final cut to edit clips together, export them as a quicktime movie, and compress them to any format imaginable using compressor. For example, for :30 commercials, once they are ready for proofing, I compress them for web via compressor in quicktime format. They are just under 3 MB and are still 480 x 360 pixels. I then upload them to our dedicated server for clients to log into and download/view them. It also contains pre-sets for compressing files to be burned to DVD.

All of the settings in compressor are customizable as well, so you can go in and tweak anything you want. It's a very nice program.

I'm not sure though if you can purchase it seperately or if you need to buy Final Cut Studio to get it. Hope that helps.

Joel Dennis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 26th, 2006, 01:13 PM   #3
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You lost me somewhere in the complexity of what you're doing, but it seems like a DVD recorder with firewire input might make sense. If you don't finalize the disk you can continue to add material to it.

If you need additional copies of the finished disks they can be ripped to your hard drive from the original DVD using Apple's Disk Utility to create an image file. Disk utility can then burn copies to additional disks. Or if you need to make a lot of copies you might consider those DVD duplicators which seem to be getting cheaper.
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 30th, 2006, 02:30 PM   #4
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Location: Frankfurt, Germany
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I have gotten into the habit of dragging Quicktime DV files (like those captured by Final Cut) into DVD Studio Pro, which has been set to compress in the back ground, while I continue to work on projects in FCP.

This works fine - although I don't know what effect this background compressing (which is in essence Compressor working) will have on video capturing going on simultaneously via imovie or FCP.

I had a job which was similar in nature - and we used a stand alone DVD recorder for the daily, a FS-4 for quick editing, and the tape in the camera for archiving.

But it sounds like you want to give the people an edited film in the end...

With the DVD recorder, you wouldn't be doing worse than you were with VHS.
Daniel Kohl

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