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iDVD Encoding from HD Problem

Hey Flashers,

I ran into a problem the other day whilst trying to burn a Wedding DVD.

Heres the Lowdown:

  • Recorded Wedding video in HD 1080i
  • Edited with iMovie
  • Via iMovie I used the share option to send the video directly to iDVD in the hope of producing a SD widescreen DVD

I have been using iDVD for years now and its always been a reliable bit of software so I though this would be easy.

NOT SO………..

The problem is that something screws up in the process of down sampling from HD (1920x1080i) to SD (1024x576i)

I spent a day looking through the forums and no body had a perfect solution, in fact some people claimed they never ever experienced a problem at all with this process??????

Well I was seeing it and here’s what it looks like:

You can see the footage looks all pixelated and low res!

I had also exported a highlight video from the same footage which lasted 15 minutes. But when I burnt a test disc of that footage straight from iMovie via the “Share” option, the resolution looked OK!!!!!!

By this point I had my put on my “Columbo” khaki mac and lit my green cigar and I was determined to find out the problem……

A few hours later I had found the culprit!!!!!

Quicktime you’re BUSTED!!!!!

Here’s the deal. I exported the HD footage from iMovie to DV (also tried streaming DV) which is a codec I was very familiar with, having used it from my old tape based Camcorders.

If I exported 15minutes of HD footage to DV via Quicktime Export the resulting footage was what I expected.

If I exported 100 minutes of HD footage to DV via Quicktime Export the resulting footage was LOW RES PIXELATED VIDEO EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE RUBBISH THAT I WAS SEEING IN THE FINAL DVD.

I theorised that this transcoding glitch was the cause of my problems. iMovie to iDVD seems to be transcoding as follows: HD Apple Intermediate Codec to DV to MPEG2 

Instead of using the iMovie option of sharing to iDVD, I exported the HD footage as Apple Intermediate Codec in 1920×1080 including all chapter markers and I dropped that directly into iDVD. PROBLEM SOLVED!!!!!!!  By going from HD Apple Intermediate Codec straight to MPEG2

iDVD did its thing and the quality of the final DVD is what I expected.

So to summarise: There is a glitch in Quicktime conversion from Hight Def to Standard Def DV codec but only if the duration of the clip is over a certain length. From my own experience I can only tell you that the glitch occurs if your movie’s duration is somewhere between 15 minutes and 100 minutes!

The solution is don’t use the automated function from within iMovie but export your movies in AIC and drop them into iDVD manually.

Hope this info helps someone out there…..

Here are some links to more info:



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