How can I improve .dv in iMovie at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Open DV Discussion
For topics which don't fit into any of the other categories.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old August 11th, 2011, 08:40 PM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Posts: 8
How can I improve .dv in iMovie

I have seperate cuts I shot on an old Sony TRV25 miniDV and before I take them into iMovie and just look at the cuts I pulled from the camera on my desktop they look better than what iMovie dose to them. I have 11.5 GB of good footage and need to know the best setting in iMovie if I put them on a dual layer 8GB disk. My first try in iMovie compressed them down to 3.5GB.
Thanks
Jim Bechdel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 12th, 2011, 01:53 AM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Healdsburg, California
Posts: 1,138
Re: How can I improve .dv in iMovie

Hi Jim.

I'm confused by your post.

Here's a couple questions for you to first help clarify your request:

- First off, when you say that you pulled the cuts from your camera to your desktop to look at them before taking them into iMovie, what program did you use to pull them from the camera to your desktop?


- When you mention that the clips look better than what iMovie dose (sic) to them, how are you first viewing them in comparison to the iMovie view? And on that note: Are you referring to the disparity in context of how it looks in the iMovie viewer, or in context of how it looks after your export or 'share' a clip from iMovie's export options?


- When you state that you have 11.5 GB of good footage, and you wish to put it onto a dual layer 8GB disk, are you referring to a data DVD that can hold the video files, or are you referring to creating a video DVD through which you can play the video back in something like a set top DVD player?


- If you are planning on creating a video DVD, what program are you intending to use to create it? (iMovie does not author video DVDs.)


Additional notes: The original formulation of your content is NTSC DV file that iMovie can handle natively. (I'm presuming you're working with approximately 53 minutes of good footage.) This format is shown through iMovie as an "editable" format, but not a "presentation" format - so although it technically contains more imaging data then what will be found in the final presentation format, it may not appear to look as sharp or vibrant to the eye while seen in the iMovie viewer. This may seem counter-intuitive, but is completely normal. (This is partially a mechanism that helps a machine focus its resources on handling the data effectively while not having to focus on making the imagery appear as beautiful as possible while still in the editing stage.)

And finally, if creating video DVDs using and iMovie based workflow, it is typical to author the DVD using something like iDVD - or perhaps even Roxio Toast (among others) to create the DVD. This will differ from a data DVD in that it will compress the video into an appropriate mpeg-2 video file for DVD playback, and allow you to build a menu system around it (buttons, chapters, titles, etc.) which is generally necessary to allow for navigating through the content in a DVD player. These authoring programs can easily handle the native NTSC DV format that the clips are already in, and your finished, edited iMovie project can be exported (or 'shared') in it's full quality 11.5 GB file size as an NTSC .mov or .dv file and sent to your authoring program. In fact, if using iDVD, it doesn't accept pre-compressed DVD standard mpeg-2 formatting, as it is designed to impose its own mpeg-2 compression during the authoring/rendering process.

I hope that helps offer some info for you, or can at least help you better clarify the specifics of your request.

-Jon
__________________
"Are we to go on record, sir, with our assertion that the 'pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers' are, in point of fact', magically delicious?"
- Walter Hollarhan before the House Subcommittee on Integrity in Advertising - May, 1974
Jonathan Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 12th, 2011, 07:32 AM   #3
New Boot
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Posts: 8
Re: How can I improve .dv in iMovie

Thanks for the speedy reply, Here goes:
I used MPEG Streamclip to pull them from my camera do my first viewing and it looks pretty good in MPEG Streamclip.
The 11.5 GB is just the total amout before importing into iMovie.
After I share or export them to iDVD and burn the dvd thru iDVD thats when I view it and it looks bad and is compressed to around 3.5GB. I'm using iMovie 11.
I just want to know the very best setting in iDVD to squeeze it on to an 8GB disk and if there are options in iMovie to pull it in better. I have FCP but never learned it.
Thanks for your time.
Jim Bechdel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 12th, 2011, 05:39 PM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Healdsburg, California
Posts: 1,138
Re: How can I improve .dv in iMovie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bechdel View Post
I just want to know the very best setting in iDVD to squeeze it on to an 8GB disk and if there are options in iMovie to pull it in better.
Thanks for your time.
Well, to be honest, iDVD is fairly limited in control of compression factors to best optimize imagery for the DVD. And depending upon the image quality of your source content, you may only be able to expect so much. If there is a great deal of errant shaky movement or poorly exposed imagery, the footage may prove unwieldy in iDVD's default compression scheme. But whether that is the case or not, there are some settings that do allow for a better quality compression through iDVD. You can find the settings in iDVD Preferences (found under the iDVD dropdown menu). With the Preferences window active, select "Projects". In the "Encoding" tab, you will see 3 options:

- The first one is entitled "Best Performance" (a designation which tends to confuse users because it seems to refer to the speed of project processing but not actually the quality or integrity of the end product). The mode applies a Constant Bit Rate to your footage across the entire project, using a single pass compression and measures it out across the available space on the disc. There are some advantages to using this setting, most noticed if your source footage is good quality - of a similar shooting style throughout and between 45 to 55 minutes in length - and the render is also rather speedy. It produces a final DVD that also tends to play most effectively on older, low end DVD players that may otherwise tend to choke on high-action VBR DVD content. I general, though I never use this setting, as I feel that the other two (noted below) will produce higher quality imagery.

- High Quality and Professional Quality. Both of these settings apply 2-pass VBR (variable bit rate) encoding to your project by first assessing the content (1 pass) and then applying proper bit rate encoding to it depending upon the compressions needs of each scene (2nd pass). Because it is multi-pass, this will take longer to render, but the end result is usually a higher quality end product. It is my understanding that High Quality and Professionally use a visually identical compression scheme, but that the more recently added Professional Quality setting applies more intelligent processing of the project audio as well. This is the setting I always use when creating an iDVD project.



Next, select from the "DVD Type" tab the size of the disc you are using (single-layer or double-layer). In this case, you would select double layer for your DVD blanks. Although, here I would also add that I have my concerns about any benefit you might find from using Double Layer discs for this particular project. Here is why: There is a pre-determined range of bit rate encoding that is applied to the DVD-based mpeg-2 compression that allows the DVD to perform properly in standard DVD players that are really only able to comfortably decode content that is encoded within those bit rate parameters. A CBR (constant bit rate) typically encodes within a given "safe zone" within that range, and VBR (variable bit rate) encodes to the limits of that range as needed (lower bit rate for lower action scenes and lower dynamic needs, and higher bit rate for higher action scenes and greater dynanic needs, based on first-pass assessment). This pre-determined range generally allows for a maximum duration of content to about 90 minutes for CBR, and apprx. 2 hours for VBR. While you can put your 'less than one hour of ' content onto a double layer DVD, it is unlikely to encode in iDVD at a bit rate that properly maximizes use of the available space on the disc, providing no real benefit to using the double layer blanks. If, however you were able to render that duration of content to maximize that amount of available space (such as what might be an option in higher end DVD authoring software) it is likely to involve a higher bit rate than what some DVD players are capable of properly decoding.

In either case, I recommend using the "Professional Quality" setting. Keep in mind that changing this setting will affect New projects, not necessarily the existing project.


Hope this helps.

-Jon
__________________
"Are we to go on record, sir, with our assertion that the 'pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers' are, in point of fact', magically delicious?"
- Walter Hollarhan before the House Subcommittee on Integrity in Advertising - May, 1974
Jonathan Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 12th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #5
New Boot
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Posts: 8
Re: How can I improve .dv in iMovie

Thanks again, So what your saying is don't try to tke advanage of an 8GB DVD and incode it at less than Best quality. When going to iDVD should I share or export, H264 or MPEG2, you can see I'm confused. Your dealing with a 63 yr old geezer here I appreciate your help so far. I dont expect all thos to fix the camera shake just the evidence of the jaggy lines of pixels. Maybe I should have mentioned that in the first place. It's my daughter wedding and also I play guitar and set in with the band for a couple of numbers so I wanted the audio at the hghest quality.
Jim Bechdel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 12th, 2011, 10:34 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Healdsburg, California
Posts: 1,138
Re: How can I improve .dv in iMovie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bechdel View Post
So what your saying is don't try to tke advanage of an 8GB DVD
No, what I'm saying is that if your source content really is apprx 53 minutes (+/-) of mini-DV based NTSC DV content, then you are not going to gain any viable advantage through using an 8 GB Double Layer DVD, since the maximum bit rate within the properly functional range for such encoding will fit fine on a single layer 4 GB DVD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bechdel View Post
and incode it at less than Best quality.
No way. If you're using the current version of iDVD, you have 3 options - Best Performance, High Quality, and Professional Quality. (Best Quality is not among them). Definitely use Professional Quality. It takes longer to render but provides better imaging and audio results.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bechdel View Post
When going to iDVD should I share or export, H264 or MPEG2, you can see I'm confused. .
Now I am too. I guess at this point, I need to verify which version of iMovie you are using, as I am not exactly sure how you are arriving at either of those two specific options. Both of them are basically end presentation formats. I am pretty sure that iDVD won't even accept the mpeg-2 format, since it needs to process encoding through it's own mpeg-2 encoding during the authoring process. In either case, the share or export options available to you are a bit different between the versions of iMovie. So if you can do me a quick favor, and select "About iMovie" from the "iMovie" dropdown menu (upper left corner of the screen when iMovie is active), and let me know which version you have. Current version should say "iMovie '11 - version 9.0.4".


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bechdel View Post
Your dealing with a 63 yr old geezer here I appreciate your help so far. .
No worries. You should be applauded for your willingness to jump in and work through this stuff. It can be very complicated and a lot of people give up much earlier.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bechdel View Post
I dont expect all thos to fix the camera shake just the evidence of the jaggy lines of pixels.
I find this line to be especially informative - in that I suspect you may be unintentionally feeding the wrong type of exported file to iDVD. If you are exporting your project as a highly compressed end presentation format, and then feeding that file to iDVD to render to a video DVD, thereby imposing an additional secondary compression process to mpeg-2, you are basically compressing something that has already been compressed, and this may very likely be the reason you are seeing jaggy lines and blocky pixelation. Granted, some format parameters and styles of content can be very forgiving with this, but I am guessng that the source content with which you are working just doesn't provide that kind of latitude.

We'll work through it.

-Jon
__________________
"Are we to go on record, sir, with our assertion that the 'pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers' are, in point of fact', magically delicious?"
- Walter Hollarhan before the House Subcommittee on Integrity in Advertising - May, 1974
Jonathan Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 12th, 2011, 11:36 PM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Miami, FL USA
Posts: 1,483
Re: How can I improve .dv in iMovie

Just a suggestion, "jaggy lines" sounds a lot like field-order reversal....somewhere along the line, did lower field get changed to upper- field- first?
Battle Vaughan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 13th, 2011, 12:59 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Healdsburg, California
Posts: 1,138
Re: How can I improve .dv in iMovie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
Just a suggestion, "jaggy lines" sounds a lot like field-order reversal....somewhere along the line, did lower field get changed to upper- field- first?
It's a good suggestion, Battle. I guess if that does play a factor at all, it may have to do with how the footage was ingested and processed through Mpeg Streamclip, and whether or not it was exported into even another intermediary format BEFORE it was even imported into iMovie. (To be honest, I had forgotten that Mpeg Streamclip was used at the beginning of this process, and now I'm wondering if that is what played a factor in Jim's question about exporting to either h264 or Mpeg 2.

I don't know if Mpeg Streamclip allows switchability in field orders, as I understand it to be a fairly straightforward ingest and conversion tool. In either case, it still may be another variable that is compromising this project.

----

Jim, can you verify whether or not you had converted your content to another format using Mpeg Streamclip BEFORE you put it into iMovie for editing? If so, this may be adding another level of unnecessary compression that is compromising your content at 3 levels, when it should only be using 1 level of compression for the whole project.

You can eliminate that variable by just starting over and ingesting the footage directly from the camcorder and straight into iMovie. This should allow the project to retain its native imaging data integrity up to the point where iDVD compresses it into mpeg-2 for DVD video.

-Jon
__________________
"Are we to go on record, sir, with our assertion that the 'pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers' are, in point of fact', magically delicious?"
- Walter Hollarhan before the House Subcommittee on Integrity in Advertising - May, 1974
Jonathan Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 13th, 2011, 08:00 AM   #9
New Boot
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Posts: 8
Re: How can I improve .dv in iMovie

Ya you got me there, I did do a conversion to MPEG by bring it using MPEG Streamclip, I thught I was being smart. And the version of iMovie I'm using is 11 9.0.4
Jim Bechdel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 13th, 2011, 10:24 AM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Healdsburg, California
Posts: 1,138
Re: How can I improve .dv in iMovie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bechdel View Post
Ya you got me there, I did do a conversion to MPEG by bring it using MPEG Streamclip, I thught I was being smart. And the version of iMovie I'm using is 11 9.0.4
That possibly changes everything I may have mentioned about single layer vs double layer for your project. I was presuming roughly 53 minutes of content that you were intending to render to DVD. This was based on the 11.5 GB of mini-dv content you were importing into iMovie. (which should be equal to that duration to be hovering around 11.5 GB). But now knowing that you pre-compressed it to an mpeg file before importing it into iMovie, I really have no idea how long your combined content duration really is, and subsequently how much content you need to fit on a DVD.

Definitely forego using Mpeg Streamclip for this project. There is no reason to use it for the necessary workflow in this case. Re-ingest directly from the camcorder, and straight into iMovie.

But before we get to the iDVD stage, please verify, how long is the combined content that you will be your final edit for DVD?

-Jon
__________________
"Are we to go on record, sir, with our assertion that the 'pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers' are, in point of fact', magically delicious?"
- Walter Hollarhan before the House Subcommittee on Integrity in Advertising - May, 1974
Jonathan Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 13th, 2011, 12:12 PM   #11
New Boot
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Posts: 8
Re: How can I improve .dv in iMovie

OK Thanks so much for your time and help. I will down load from my camera straignt into iMovie 11.
Jim Bechdel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 13th, 2011, 02:46 PM   #12
New Boot
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Posts: 8
Re: How can I improve .dv in iMovie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Jones View Post
No, what I'm saying is that if your source content really is apprx 53 minutes (+/-) of mini-DV based NTSC DV content, then you are not going to gain any viable advantage through using an 8 GB Double Layer DVD, since the maximum bit rate within the properly functional range for such encoding will fit fine on a single layer 4 GB DVD.



No way. If you're using the current version of iDVD, you have 3 options - Best Performance, High Quality, and Professional Quality. (Best Quality is not among them). Definitely use Professional Quality. It takes longer to render but provides better imaging and audio results.




Now I am too. I guess at this point, I need to verify which version of iMovie you are using, as I am not exactly sure how you are arriving at either of those two specific options. Both of them are basically end presentation formats. I am pretty sure that iDVD won't even accept the mpeg-2 format, since it needs to process encoding through it's own mpeg-2 encoding during the authoring process. In either case, the share or export options available to you are a bit different between the versions of iMovie. So if you can do me a quick favor, and select "About iMovie" from the "iMovie" dropdown menu (upper left corner of the screen when iMovie is active), and let me know which version you have. Current version should say "iMovie '11 - version 9.0.4".




No worries. You should be applauded for your willingness to jump in and work through this stuff. It can be very complicated and a lot of people give up much earlier.




I find this line to be especially informative - in that I suspect you may be unintentionally feeding the wrong type of exported file to iDVD. If you are exporting your project as a highly compressed end presentation format, and then feeding that file to iDVD to render to a video DVD, thereby imposing an additional secondary compression process to mpeg-2, you are basically compressing something that has already been compressed, and this may very likely be the reason you are seeing jaggy lines and blocky pixelation. Granted, some format parameters and styles of content can be very forgiving with this, but I am guessng that the source content with which you are working just doesn't provide that kind of latitude.

We'll work through it.

-Jon
OK Now iMovie won't see my camera.
Jim Bechdel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old August 14th, 2011, 02:58 PM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Healdsburg, California
Posts: 1,138
Re: How can I improve .dv in iMovie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bechdel View Post
OK Now iMovie won't see my camera.
I guess there could be a number of potential factors involved in why iMovie can't see your camcorder. To make sure all bases are covered, here's a checklist:

- Make sure you are using an iLink/Firewire cable and port, not the mini-USB port that is also found on the camcorder.

- Make sure your cable works properly as they can sometimes get wonky. This may be difficult to test if you don't have another working camcorder to try the cable on, or if you don't have a backup secondary cable to use. But I do know that it is very common for folks to accidentally connect via USB to transfer mini-dv tape and find that it is unlikely to work, before realizing they need to use the firewire port. (this is compounded by the fact that a lot of consumer level DV camcorders were sold with the USB cable included, but not the iLink/firewire cable.)

- Connect your camcorder to your Mac, and then turn the camcorder on, putting it into playback mode. Then, launch iMovie. Wait for iMovie to finish launching, and then click the small camcorder tab located at the 9:00 o'clock position of the iMovie interface. This will launch an "Import" window, at the bottom of which you should be able to select between input devices "sensed" by iMovie, including a compatible web-cam, a built-in iSight cam if your Mac has one, and hopefully the camcorder you've connected.

If your camera is not listed there, there is a rare possibility that OS X has lost control of your firewire bus, and a reboot is in order. Reboot the system, and repeats the steps above.

If the camcorder still is not seen by iMovie, things to consider is whether or not you are connecting the camcorder via firewire through a daisy-chained firewire hard drive, or through an external firewire hub. These are usually not a problem, but can be in some instances I won't go into here. Connect the camcorder directly to an onboard firewire port on your Mac if it was connected otherwise.

Finally, barring all other possibilities, the cable you are using may be bad, and may need replacement. That's not too bad. Next possibility may be that the iLink/firewire port on the camcorder may be fried. That's not good. You could seek repair options, or see if you can borrow another mini-dv based camcorder to import your content. And if nothing else works, check to see if your Mac's firewire bus is fried. See if it shows up in your Mac's system info, and/or try another firewire device in the port to see if it works properly. Try other firewire ports if your Mac is equipped with more than one. If it's fried (which is very rare) hopefully your unit is still under warranty.

Good luck. I hope this helps.

-Jon
__________________
"Are we to go on record, sir, with our assertion that the 'pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers' are, in point of fact', magically delicious?"
- Walter Hollarhan before the House Subcommittee on Integrity in Advertising - May, 1974
Jonathan Jones is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:50 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network