View Full Version : importing video to iMovie 11

08-03-2016, 05:51 PM

I'm using iMovie 11 for a long time and I have a camcorder Sony Handycam HDR-CX160. When I'm importing video from my Sony to iMovie, I have to optimize it. And that's my main question. I found lot of discussions about it, but it didn't help.

when I choose "FULL ORIGINAL SIZE", the file is huge - but I can export it after that as a 1080 hd video
when I choose "Large - 960x540", the file is radically smaller then previous "Full" option - but when i want to export my project, there is only 720p option
Anyway I use this second option with only 720 hd result for two years or more now.

But nowdays I really want to be able to export it in 1080.

I realized, that when I plug my camera into my mac I can import my video also with Quicktime Player. File size of (for example) 45 minute video is about 4 GB. After that in iMovie i don't have to optimize it when I want to import it. And exported project could be 1080p

But when I'm importing the same video with iMovie - Large 960x540 optimze. The file size is about 13 GB, and when i want to export it - it's just a 720p video. WHY?????

I really like iMovie 11, and I want to keep using it. But I thought, that there is no other way to import my videos than iMovie. This Quicktime player option is completely new to me.
I'd love to optimize it with Large 960x540 option, and then have the 1080p export option possible.

Please help. What is the best way to import it?

Thanks in advance!

08-03-2016, 06:42 PM
Hi, and welcome.

When you import any sort of media, you want to ensure that you do so with the highest quality you are able to that WON'T be beyond your needs. When you import something at roughly 720p resolution, you can export it again at or below the same 720p. Period. This is true even with what you -think- you're doing with QuickTime. It's impossible to export something to a higher quality than the original. So, even though the media might be "coded" as 1080p, the ACTUAL quality of what is being shown is still 720p.

Your findings apply only to how the media is LABELED, not to the actual quality of the media itself.

08-04-2016, 03:56 AM
Hello, thanks for reply.
But my camcorder is se to 1080, so I reallly shoot videos in 1080p. My problem is, thah when I optimize it in iMovie using "LARGE - 960x540" option, then it's bigger then original file, and in final it's not even in 1080p. Just 720. When I choose optimize video with "FULL - original size" option then it is in 1080p. But the file is extremely big - one hour of video has something about 50GB. And that's really much for my disk space. Whith quick time import same video is about 4GB, and the in iMovie I can export it in 1080p. But it's not optimized it to an AIC format.

08-04-2016, 09:11 AM
Have you visually compared the image quality of the two different files to ensure that it truly IS the high resolution you believe it is? It's entirely probable that the optimization from QuickTime is not actually the same quality as the other.

08-04-2016, 05:21 PM
Yes I have compared them. Both versions are almost the same.

08-04-2016, 05:37 PM
Almost the same isn't the same. So, there's a difference. I would agree with you that the significant difference in file size seems excessive, but iMovie is apparently capturing data that QuickTime is not. And, regardless of what QT -says- your content resolution is when exported, it isn't exactly the same as what you get from iMovie.

08-16-2016, 06:03 PM
iMovie imports video without compressing it, hence the large file sizes. 50Gb for 1 hour of HD video is about right. It sounds like Quicktime is compressing your video. In QT, go Window Menu>Show Movie Inspector. Have a look at the Format entry and check for h.264. That will confirm any compression.

You really should use an external drive for your imported video. It will save wear and tear on your Mac's drive due to the the constant read/write action when editing a Project in iMovie.