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Movies and Video For people making movies and editing video with their Mac.

Why mpeg-2 --> mpeg-4 --> DVD (mpeg-2)??


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jleonard

 
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Ok after reading a number of posts on this, I'm confused. It seems as if everyone's harddrive video camcorder records in mpeg-2 format, including mine (I have the Panasonic SDR-H200 which stores .mod files and imports to mpeg-2). From what I've read, in order to import this and edit in iMovie you have to convert these mpeg-2 files to another format. The reasons being (1) you wouldn't want to edit mpeg-2 files since they are lossly; and (2) iMovie doesn't recognize them anyway.

For me, if I connect my camcorder, imovie will import videos automatically and convert them into .mov files (encoded with m2v). It doesn't appear that iMovie has any settings where you can change the output format, and personally I don't like the fact that these .mov files aren't universally readable on any computer, e.g., PC's (I think long term and don't ever want to be locked out of my video files).

As an alternative that seems to be recommended, you can get the MPEG-2 Playback Component for Quicktime, and convert the .mod files from mpeg-2 into mpeg-4 using MPG Streamclip. The mpeg-4 files are more universally recognizable (they easily play on pcs), they apparently are much better for editing, and iMovie imports them.

Now, after you edit your video, and you export the movie to DVD, doesn't it export back into mpeg-2 format?? If so, why the heck do you have to go through all that trouble in converting to mpeg-4 first?
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chas_m

 
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MPEG-2 isn't an editable format. That's the basic problem.

For this reason I don't recommend any camcorder that shoots direct to MPEG-2. It's fine if you don't want to ever edit any video, but really how realistic is that.

I suggest you dump that camera and get one that shoots AVCHD or MP4 natively instead.
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jleonard

 
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Ok I understand. Thanks. Perhaps I'll make the native recording format of my next video camera a priority feature.
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Cameras are designed to get as much time on a tape/drive/stick as possible with reasonable quality. Some of the codecs and containers used tend not to be great for editing, and this is often true for the current line of consumer cameras. AVCHD for instance is said to be costly to decode and edit at the same time, so Apple turns it into something friendly for video editing.

Apple software converts your input files to something friendlier when it sees fit. For instance, iMovie 09 converted a video on my still camera from MPEG1 Muxed to Apple MPEG-1 Camcorder Video with 16-bit Integer audio. Dragging in a H.264 .mp4 file caused no conversion that I could see.

It isn't that they couldn't allow you to edit those MPEG-2 files. It is the processing power to do so and keep it accurate is high and they would rather use that power to give you a more responsive system, along with such niceties as real time preview of effects and transitions.

It will be interesting to see if Apple resolves some these conversion issues in future versions of their editing software. I think the next iMovie version will be limited to Intel processors only and maybe Snow Leopard too. The requirements may also state the CPU and GPU requirements for certain features, like natively editing some video formats is now converts.

CameraTime - Time lapse photography for novice and advanced users.

When asking questions, post the version of your software. You'll receive better answers.

Please post your results to the thread as it is good feedback.
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