I took a movie of my son reading a story he’d written, as part of a multimedia presentation for school. I shot it with my Pentax K-5 and the 50-135 F2.8, by candlelight (you can do things with modern SLRs that Kubrick had to have lenses custom-built for at huge expense). Well, and “by candlelight” I mean twenty or so tea-lights. When I pulled the AVIs into iMovie, the quality was ravishing, the firelight flickering on his creamy 12-year-old skin. When I exported the finished product, no matter how many times I twiddled the QuickTime and other export settings, it looked rather pretty, but omitted all the subtlety of tone and thus most of the beauty in what the camera had captured. So I went searching around the Net and yep, everyone agrees that iMovie export quality is the shitz. I guess it’s Final Cut Express and its thousand-page manual (you think I jest?) for any future video projects.



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From: Kathy Sierra (Apr 18 2012, at 23:20)

The new Final Cut X is nothing at ALL like the previous versions, and has a lot more in common with iMovie for ease of use. Seriously, like order of magnitude easier than previous Final Cut. I have been exporting video shot on a Canon DSLR and I'm pretty happy with it, and that's with no tweaking of export settings (though I do play a lot with color correcting in Final Cut).

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From: Onno (Apr 19 2012, at 07:31)

Last weekend I had the same emotion. Took some video on my iPhone during a bike ride. Looks great on the phone, looks great imported in iMovie. Looks way less nice once exported from iMovie.

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From: RJVB (Apr 20 2012, at 03:08)

I've never noticed any particular quality problems with my old iMovie version, but you're not obliged to buy FCE, I think. iMovie creates a reference movie inside the project bundle which represents your film, playable in any QuickTime player and using the original material. Thus, if you have Quicktime Pro, OR if you get a copy of, say, QT Amateur, you'll be able to export using any of the installed codecs with access to all their options. The QT Pro license is in fact only an unlock code for features of the QT Player that are freely available to anyone willing to access them via the QT SDK (QT Amateur does just that).

To my knowledge, FCE doesn't offer anything more powerful unless you obtain a license for Compressor (which MIGHT in fact be your FCE license: mine worked...).

Install Perian, and you'll have a large additional choice of export codecs, and there's also an x264 encoder component which gives a lot more control over (faster) H.264 creation.

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From: Larry O'Brien (May 15 2012, at 09:50)

I think this is an _enormous_ problem with Mac movie solutions. Purchasing and mastering a workflow in Final Cut may be an option for the sufficiently motivated, but the very large majority of users are going to go from being very pleased with their capture and edit to being horrified with the export and then move on to frustrated and then move on to infuriated when they discover one of the "renders well on my machine" codecs. I'm not sure if there are sufficient hooks for some kind of 80/20 "it just works" app, but if so, I think there's a market...

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author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
picture of the day
April 18, 2012
· Technology (85 fragments)
· · Mac OS X (118 more)
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