Many people often wonder what export settings to use in iMovie in order to create the best DVDs. But DVDs are standard definition, and any video you export from iMovie will be re-encoded into a special DVD format. So it is merely a matter of exporting at the best settings available and then letting your DVD software use the best version of the video possible to create the DVD.
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today’s episode I am going to answer one of the most frequently asked questions I get. What export settings are used from iMovie if I am going to be making a DVD?
So if you are making home videos and using iMovie or anything in Final Cut Pro for instance you may want to make some DVD’s from them using DVD software like the old iDVD or something like Toast. So the question I get is “Okay I have my video done what export settings do I use to export the video in that step so that I can make a DVD?”
Well, the answer is not to worry about it so much. It seems a lot of people don’t realize that when you make a DVD it is going to reencode all the video. You see DVD’s don’t use the compression format that you’re exporting from iMovie. So whether you are using say MP4 set to H264 or some other format, that’s not going to be used at all. That is just going to be taken as a source video and converted to a format that is standard across all DVD players that have ever been made. It is a version of MPEG-2. If you want to read about it you can go to the DVD video page at wikipedia and there is all sorts of details. But basically the most important thing to realize is that it’s 720 x 480. It is standard definition, not high definition because DVD’s were around way before high definition. So if you have high definition video which you most likely have in your iPhone or your camera whatever you’ve got now it’s all high definition, it is really going to be much higher than what you are going to be able to put on a DVD.
Go back and take a look at Episode 440 of MacMost Now where I explain how DVD’s are not high definition videos they are standard definition videos.
So, chances are you have something much getter than what you are going to put on the DVD. So how do you export it in the right setting so that you can then put it on a DVD. Well because the video is going to be recompressed no matter what setting you use, don’t worry too much about getting the settings perfect. You should simply try to use the best settings you can. So for instance if I go to Share and Export Movie in iMovie, I’ve got all these different settings here at the bottom. What I want to do is that I just want to use the highest one so in this case I want to use HD 1080p. That’s because the source video is 1080. If for instance I was only using 720p video then it won’t give me this option because is wouldn’t make sense to actually export to a higher quality than the source video so I would then choose the highest quality which would then be 720p. So you just want to choose the highest quality you can here and export it to give the DVD converter, whether it is iDVD or toast or something else, the best possible video to work with. So converting from the highest possible quality video to the DVD video will give it the best results.
Now, if I’m in a rush and I just want to get something done real quick and it is 1080p I just may do 720p anyway just because it will export my movie a little faster and will convert possibly a little faster because it is a smaller file size and I’m probably not going to notice the difference going from 720 down to 480 as opposed to 1080 down to 480. But if I was making a nice DVD and I wanted to make sure that I got the best thing then I would use the highest setting. Remember whatever you do, this is just a temporary version of your movie and you can actually use this to create the DVD then get rid of it because you are not using it for anything else. You have the original iMovie source project and then you have got your DVD which would be created with the other software. This is kind of an intermediate format to go from one to the other.
Now, some people mentioned that you can create these high definition DVD’s, these special formatted things that you put then in Blu Ray players and they will read the DVD disk and show a high definition video. Remember if you are doing that it is not going to work in a standard DVD player. So anybody that has just got a regular DVD player in their living room is not going to be able to access that disk at all. You are going to need that special Blu Ray player or whatever supports that format that you are using. So if you want something really standard if its going to be DVD, it’s going to be 480p standard definition video and you are just going to export from iMovie at the highest quality possible to give to your DVD creation software.
I hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.