My widescreen video export from iMovie looks like crap. What do I do?

in Mac Software edited January 2014
I'm working on a DVD project for a friend of mine who's teaching a college course, and it involves presenting edited clips from various movies and TV shows. Simple enough. I rip what I need from the respective DVDs using Handbrake, then trim what I need in MPEG Streamclip, then import the footage into iMovie HD, where I add titles and transitions.

However, no matter what I do, the quality of the footage that is exported from iMovie is horribly compressed--especially so if it is in widescreen. When I export from iMovie, it's done at the highest quality possible, and the 29.97 frame rate. But it still looks crappy when it's all done. There is a ton of pixilation and I don't know what to do to get rid of it.

Is this due to the fact that iMovie has to import the widescreen video at the proper aspect ratio (for a 4:3 screen, which I'm using for final output), and the algorithm to accomplish that sucks? Is there any way I can adjust that?

I'm pulling at pretty high quality from Handbrake... the clips that are ripped look DVD quality with no compression problems. It's only once I get into the iMovie environment that it all starts going to crap.

I'm not in a position money-wise or time-wise to get better software at this point, so I really need to know what I can do with the software solution I do have at the moment.

Any thoughts? I'm dying here. Thanks!



  • Reply 1 of 1
    Well, stupid me.

    I started experimenting with various methods of importation, and I discovered the reason.

    I imported using the MP4 setting, not the default DV setting. With the DV setting, you get full quality. Perhaps there's a different algorithm in how it imports widescreen video compared to the MP4 setting, but whatever the reason, it looks like it should, without the compression.

    I hope this helps anyone going through the same issue.

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