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How do I get the best video quality out of iMovie, I film in full HD with a lavalier mic plugged into the camera. I am using an early 2009 Macbook Polycarb, with 2ghz core 2 duo and 2gb ram. Thanks! P.S: I am using iMovie '09.

asked Dec 26 '12 at 21:02

swagmanT's gravatar image


Sometimes, the best way to explain something is through pictures!

Click on Share in the menubar:
Share selected in Menubar

Then, click "Export Using Quicktime..."
Export Using Quicktime...

You'll see this window pop up:
Save Exported File As...

Make sure you save it as a Quicktime .Mov:
Movie to Quicktime

When you click "Options" from the popup window (Save Exported File As...), you'll get this window (Movie Settings):
Movie Settings

From there, you'll want to click on "Settings" under the video options. You'll see the following image. Too get the best quality, I always choose "H.264" as the compression type. Make sure that you follow my Compressor settings; you may wish to adjust the data rate to get better size or have a set FPS. Personally, I like to get the best quality possible, so I don't touch those until after the file has been exported.
Standard Video Compression Settings

If you want to know how to get file size smaller for uploading to the Internet, I use MPEG Streamclip to set a constant data rate. In my experience, MPEG Streamclip does a much better job compressing compared to exporting from iMovie (as far as quality is concerned).

Now that you've set the encoding options, you'll want to make sure that the size is correct, so under the Movie Settings window, click "Size...". You'll then be greeted with the following Window:
Export Size Settings
You should select the size based on what your input size was. Here are some of the other options:

Now that you're back to the Movie Settings window, go to "Settings" for the sound. You'll be greeted with this window:
Sound Settings

These are my preferred options for the best sound.

This may be a little bit too well explained for you, but I was hoping to make myself as clear as possible. Be aware that the export times may take a while depending on how long your project is.

answered Dec 26 '12 at 23:19

catchatyou's gravatar image


Any questions?

(Dec 26 '12 at 23:21) catchatyou catchatyou's gravatar image

no this is perfect! thank you! I had some settings similar to this, but this is even better. I would like to keep this open to see what other people say though.

(Dec 27 '12 at 00:41) swagmanT swagmanT's gravatar image

actually, I do have one. Is there any way to speed up export times? I am about to do a review on my iPhone, and its going to be close to 10 mins long, and a 5min video took 2hours, so I would expect this one to be around 4, and I really dont want to have to wait that long. I will if I have to, but if theres any way around it, Keeping the same quality, I would love to know. :D

(Dec 27 '12 at 00:49) swagmanT swagmanT's gravatar image

I think that your cooling may be limiting how much the CPU on your laptop is able to output. Try using SMC Fan Control http://www.eidac.de/ . With SMC Fan Control, you'll be able to speed up the fans on your MacBook so that you will avoid damaging any components, and it might save you a little bit of time when exporting the video.

If you really want to get a little better performance, you might want to adjust the quality slider in the Standard Video Compression Settings. You probably won't notice much difference between full quality and somewhere between High-Best quality.

(Dec 27 '12 at 01:23) catchatyou catchatyou's gravatar image

The 2 Hour Export was on Full quality. XD I plan to upgrade to the new Mac Mini this summer, but until then I'll have to deal with it. I would Get SMC fan control, but This mac is one of the 3,000 or so give to students by my high school, so its locked with admin rights. :( I Guess I'll Just have to start my editing process a little earlier than usual. :D

(Dec 27 '12 at 02:48) swagmanT swagmanT's gravatar image

Yeah, the new Mac Mini is nearly as fast as the current Mac Pros (then again, Mac Pros haven't been updated in four years...).

Personally, I like to let things render over night if they take that long.

(Dec 27 '12 at 11:40) catchatyou catchatyou's gravatar image

I also suggest getting a used Mac Mini off of Craigslist. Oftentimes, you'll be able to find a one or two generation old Mac Mini for hundreds of dollars less than retail price.

(Dec 27 '12 at 11:43) catchatyou catchatyou's gravatar image

yeah I was talking to a guy that was only wanting 250 for a late 2009 mac mini, but its got about the same specs as this, plus It doesnt have things I like such as HDMI and USB3. :/ Had it been a little newer, I would've done it. I actually think I'm going to buy straight from apple, unless I can find a NIB one on amazon or ebay for cheaper, Because It'll be my first brand new apple computer, and I just want that experience you get, and you can't beat the smell of a brand new apple product.

(Dec 27 '12 at 20:52) swagmanT swagmanT's gravatar image

Is the extra ~$200 worth the smell? Yes, it is a very good feeling to get a new Mac, but from my perspective, I would much rather get the good deal.

PS: I'm sorry if I sound negative, I just lost a friend.

(Dec 27 '12 at 22:49) catchatyou catchatyou's gravatar image

I mean if I find a great deal that CANT be passed up, Its obvious I'll go for it. XD I can smell friends boxes if i need to get high off of apple. XD

(Dec 28 '12 at 01:09) swagmanT swagmanT's gravatar image
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Asked: Dec 26 '12 at 21:02

Seen: 2,370 times

Last updated: Dec 28 '12 at 01:09