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I’m confused

Which codec and format should I select for HD-Exports from iMovie 08?

I'm trying to export a HD video from iMovie 08, which I want to watch on my Full-HD TV using a MacMini or MacBook. I'm confused between the different export options (MPEG-4, H.264) and file formats (Quicktime, MP4). I'm unhappy with Apple's help on their website, as it doesn't provide any guidance.
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  • Hi bdunskus,

    This question is a bit out of scope for us, and for myself. I've never used iMovie 08 for HD video content. However, I consume a lot of HD Video content on my HDTV and on my PC so I can at least give you some info.

    You can find more info on H.264/MPEG-4 here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264

    As for your file format, do you want to watch your video in Quicktime or in another media player? If you want more flexibility with your media player options, I recommend MP4 file format over Quicktime. You can then use a program like VLC (http://www.videolan.org/vlc/download-...) to playback your video file on your HDTV.

    If you need more help with your HD Video and HDTV questions, I highly recommend the knowledgeable folks at AVSForum:
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumd...
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  • I’m excited.
    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for your reply. I was hoping that David Pogue's book "iMovie '08 & iDVD" would cover this subject too. Unfortunately, he belittles the potential of Quicktime by referring to it mostly as a format in which to export thumbnail sized films for sharing via email and the like.

    In the meantime, I have been able to experiment with Full HD in iMovie '08. Importing and editing worked fine, even on my 4 year old Dual-G5. This is a testament of the excellent software architecture it uses. For exporting to Quicktime, I have tried both of the codecs. At a data rate of 10-12 Mbit/s I cannot see any difference in the result. However, the speed of encoding is massively different. Using the H.264 encoder is almost 3 times as slow as using the "MPEG4 Improved" codec. With the latter, it takes 7 minutes to encode 1 minute of HD material, which isn't bad at all, as on the same box I need 3 minutes to encode SD material to DVD format.

    I can play that material back on my HDTV using any of my machines, e.g. a MacMini hooked up via a DVI-HDMI cable, with ease. That even works with the G5, unlike the H.264 format, where the G5, only manages to play back Full HD at about 12 frames per second, instead of the 25 encoded in the file.

    I hope that these comments help some of the other readers of the book.

    Regards,

    Bertram
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