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-   -   iMovie questions (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/final-cut-suite/4257-imovie-questions.html)

Mark Sloan August 2nd, 2005 05:32 PM

Yeah, Apple's built-in encoders have always been sucky, but the H.264 encoder is REALLY unoptimized. I would think they could do a TON to make it better. I thought with 10.4 and the lock down on libraries that Apple would have lots of resources to optimize code and fix bugs throughout their products, but now with the move to Intel...

3rd party tools will always be the way to go though. But H.264 should have better encoding performance than it does.

Meryem Ersoz August 3rd, 2005 07:54 AM

did your friend try to convert the video into formats other than H.264, using the expert settings on imovie? if so, what were the results?

i use a G4 powerbook and just spent yesterday experimenting with the imovie HD software for the first time and encoded the same file in both H.264 and mp4 and did not notice a huge difference. what OS version is your friend running? that may make a substantial difference in encoding, especially on a G3.

also, what is the file size he is encoding...if i encode the same file size using their default settings, 240 x 120, it takes no time at all, but since i was encoding at widescreen 428 x 240, even my smaller one-minute file suddenly took about 5x longer to encode.

i'm just learning about this stuff myself, so i'm no expert. but using a G4 and imovie, i did not experience the sorts of unusually long compression times you're describing.

i have a G3, though, and it has been relegated to use strictly as a hard drive device for storing music files and as an internet engine, because most of its functions are damnably slow, if i try to use recent software upgrades on it. maybe that's the issue.

Jonathan Jones August 4th, 2005 04:54 PM

Thanks everyone for your very helpful input. I passed the info on to the guy having the distress, and it turns out that his iBook crashed after the first 71 hours of encoding. I never found out if he a futzed with the settings before he started the encode, but he was going to try to explore the log files and find out what made it crash...I haven't heard back yet.

I will be installing Tiger today or tomorrow, and updating my QT and adding some RAM before the weekend. I will then try to encode a short piece myself to see what stats I end up with. Thanks again everyone.

Boyd Ostroff August 4th, 2005 05:00 PM

Just a thought.... for just a few couple dollars more than the cost of RAM and Tiger you could get a Mac Mini which should be considerably faster than a G3 iBook...

Jonathan Jones August 4th, 2005 05:21 PM

Thanks Boyd,
but the G3 iBook belongs to a guy I know whose H.264 dilemma prompted me to start the thread. Since I had not yet upgraded, I couldn't offer him feedback and started fishing for info in this thread. I do most of my work on a G4 Aluminum Powerbook that I suspect will provide more satisfactory results than my friend is dealing with. I just haven't had enough time in my workflow over the last two months to install the copy of Tiger I bought the day it was released...plus, I wanted to wait a little while till Apple ironed out the initial bugs.

The RAM is an essential for me because I am still doing all my editing on the stock RAM - it works, but struggles with some of the higher end things I throw at it - but money has been tight waiting to complete a couple of contracts - so now I plan to install at least 1 gig of RAM, and if I can swing it, max it out at 2 gigs os that my experiences with Motion will be as smooth as I can make them.

As far as the Mini, I have thought about getting one anyway. It is a little less powerful than the current Powerbook system I am using now (although the recent updates to the line bring it up to par I think) , but I played with one last week that I another friend of mine had just purchased, and it is kind of fun to have around, and even take over some of the lighter stuff while I am crunching data. I think I will pass your advice on to the G3 iBook fellow who I believe has recently been entertaining the concept of 'movin' on up.

Thanks again.

Boyd Ostroff August 4th, 2005 05:49 PM

If you're using FCP 4.x on your Powerbook... read this before upgrading to Tiger! There are a lot of issues with it and also QT7...


Also, if you have a 15" Aluminum Powerbook please see this regarding memory problems:


Jonathan Jones August 4th, 2005 09:52 PM

Thanks Boyd, that is exactly my scenario...looks like I have a little reading and prep work to do. Thanks much.

Lain McNeill October 23rd, 2005 07:45 PM

.dv import (iMovie) stutter in FCP5 (and other ?s)
Hi All

After struggling with a Canon (field cam)/DVX(deck cam)/FCP5 capture issue for weeks, I elected to capture with iMovie and import the .dv files into FCP just to keep my hands on the mat'l. I know it would have been much better to capture into FCP, but with no access to a diff deck and no cash to try a cheapo canon dv cam for capture, it looked like this was the best option.

I'll output this mat'l to DVD, so there's no worries about needed to match timecode to recapture or anything that would usually make imovie/FCP unacceptable. As I'm beginning to play with the footage, however, I am noticing a few little things. I get a stutter when I play any of the clips in the viewer. When I drop it into the timeline (and render), it plays fine. I guess that's another ancillary question as well. I'm working in 29.97 timeline and the iMovie /dv files are 29.97, so why the rendering? Are these little issues I'm just going to have to deal with? Any other things I can expect to pop up while working with this mat'l in FCP?


Brandt Wilson October 24th, 2005 01:07 PM

Capturing clips in iMovie and editing in Premier or FCP?
I am looking for a simple solution for my wife to capture clips in imovie, then for me to be able to color correct the clips that need it in FCP or Premier, or Vegas on the PC side, then render changes back out for her to use in iMovie. How mobile is the dv stream format?

Glenn Chan October 24th, 2005 02:46 PM

DV stream lacks timecode, so you can't do timecode-based things (i.e. re-capture).
DV stream also stores the audio differently. In FCP3 I remember you needed to render the audio, which was a PITA.

It may make sense to print the iMovie project onto miniDV tape and then capture with another program. Apply a global color correction and that's it (or do scene-by-scene).

In the future, maybe start programs in FCExpress or FCP or Vegas.

Brandt Wilson October 24th, 2005 03:32 PM


This helps. My wife isn't a video person, she just wants to do dvd's of the kids, and I can make a lot of the clips look better in FCP. Simplicity vs toolset.

Mark Sloan October 25th, 2005 01:51 PM

I believe you are encountering the main issue with capturing via iMovie... it captures DV streams vs. FCP capturing DV video. Or at least, that's what I encountered waaaaay back when with iMovie 3.x. I ended up converting the DV streams to just plain DV. Does iMovie still do this?

This thread talks a little bit about it too:

Boyd Ostroff October 25th, 2005 02:41 PM

Yes, you will need to render the DV stream files from iMovie (at least for final output) since they aren't FCP's native format.

However there are a variety of things that can make playback stutter with FCP. For one thing, make sure journaling is turned off on your media drives.

Shane Ross October 26th, 2005 01:15 AM

#20 Using iMovie to Capture for FCP edit

Shane's Stock Answer #20:

iMovie handles the media differently from FCP, specifically where audio is concerned. So it is not a recommended workflow. Here's why...

iMovie captures using DV Stream (.dv) standard which does not use timecode. That is a big disadvantage over the way that FCP captures in that you can't go back and recapture the material at a later date if you need to revisit a project.

The DV/NTSC specification (the one FCP uses) also calls for seperate tracks for audio and video, even if you capture it as one clip. iMovie' DV stream format is muxed audio and video, which means that they are tied together (I can't get into specifics because I ain't no engineer or programmer). FCP is a bit more demanding and captures the seperate audio/video tracks, either in a single media file or as seperate video and audio files. With FCP you could capture video only or audio only because each is defined by the DV specs. while with iMovie you can't.

Also, if you drop the iMovie footage into the timeline, your will get the RED render bar forcing you to render the footage in order to see it...

For all the stock answers, click on this link:

Shane Ross October 26th, 2005 01:16 AM

You are going to be doing a lot of rendering. Once .dv files from iMovie are in the timeline, they need to be rendered.

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