Forum Question: Best settings for iMovie and iDVD for DVD videos

I’m recording instructional material that I will later put to DVD and sell. I want quality recording and I’m using a Canon GL2. I’m not worried about the quality of capturing the video, but I am worried about the settings on iMovie and iDVD. I’m just not sure what to do. Here are some stats that might help with a recommendation:

1. The instruction is for students to watch using DVD
2. 99% of my students are in the USA
3. Needs to be able to play on DVD player for laptop/PC and/or handheld DVD players and/or DVD players connected to TV
4. I want to make sure that there’s never any lag between audio and video.


— Matt

Comments: 23 Responses to “Best settings for iMovie and iDVD for DVD videos”

    9/28/10 @ 4:31 pm

    I’m not 100% sure what you are asking. DVDs don’t have quality settings — all DVDs are SD video (standard definition) with 480 vertical lines and use the DVD video format. In iMovie, you can choose various formats to import your video. Use the original quality of the source material for best results always. Export at that quality as well. But if that is higher than standard definition, then it will be converted down to SD to make a DVD.
    Lag between audio and video should never happen. If it does, then you’ve got a problem in your source video or perhaps something else you are doing to the source.

      9/29/10 @ 6:45 am

      Yes, I understand there are no settings for the DVDs, but when I go to export the video to a DVD, there are tons of settings on iMovie and iDVD. I’m just not sure which ones to use to fit my needs. For example, I can choose from a custom menu for different sizes of video and PAL or NTSC etc. This is difficult for me to determine which settings I need for the DVDs to be properly written.

    9/29/10 @ 9:10 am

    Which menu choices are you using exactly, when you say “export the video to a DVD?”

      9/29/10 @ 11:48 am

      Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

      iMovie has many options to choose from when exporting: iDVD, Quicktime, etc. I think either of these are suitable for my project, however, Quicktime has many different options including expert settings. Within that menu, there’s tons of options.

      Once I’m ready to burn a DVD, in iDVD, Project Info has many different options as well. I just don’t know what all to choose to get the best results.

      I hope this is more clear.

        9/29/10 @ 12:00 pm

        Well, in iMovie I wouldn’t use the custom QuickTime settings if you goal is to go to DVD. No point to that. Just use Share, iDVD. Or, if you really want to export first, then use Share, Export Movie, and then the highest quality available in that dialog.
        In iDVD, there aren’t that many choices because DVDs don’t support many choices. You want NTSC for U.S. video. Then choose professional quality unless you are in a rush to produce the DVD.

    9/29/10 @ 2:54 pm

    Wow! That’s exactly what I needed to know! Thanks Gary!

    3/17/11 @ 5:40 am

    I am burning a DVD that was exported from iMovie to iDVD. It looks and sounds great on the pc but when I watch the DVD on a pc or television the songs that I chose (from itunes) all sounds distored and the songs with a lot of bass just sound horrible. I tried to change audio settings in iMovie to MPEG4 and it made a tiny difference but not enough. I am copying right now to professional quality but I doubt that will help my sound issues. Any advice..I have been working on this for a week and have not found a solution to make the music more audible. Thx :)

      3/17/11 @ 8:55 am

      So it looks and sounds OK when you insert the DVD into the Mac and play it as a DVD?
      Have you tried it in another DVD player?

    8/1/11 @ 11:16 pm

    I have created a video that has a voice over. I am exporting from imovie to use in iDVD and the sound from the video comes through even though I have muted the audio in the video track and raised the volume in the voice over. I can’t hear anything wrong when it is in imovie, only after the clips have been exported into iDVD. Any thoughts on how to fix this issue?

      8/2/11 @ 8:02 am

      Did you try detaching the audio from those video clips, then deleting the resulting audio track?

        8/2/11 @ 9:11 am

        I did try that, but it seems like the audio just goes back to the video track…? Anything else? I appreciate your help!

          8/2/11 @ 9:15 am

          That should work. Definitely. If you detach audio, then the audio is in a separate track. Then you delete that audio track. Then there is no audio.
          Maybe it would be useful to have an experienced iMovie user help? Genius Bar? — there is no good substitute for first-hand help when you are having trouble.

            8/2/11 @ 9:31 pm

            Yea, some how the audio is just embedded into the video clip again when you delete it. I appreciate your help. Please let me know if you think of anything else that may help.

              8/3/11 @ 8:10 am

              You could try converting the video to another format. Go back to the source files, open them in QuickTime Player or in MPEG Streamclip and export them. Then see if the new files work better. Do a small test first.

    8/9/11 @ 2:25 pm

    Whenever I burn a project to a DVD and then watch it on the TV, the full picture is never there, it cuts out the edges. LIke I burned it in widescreen and the TV doesn’t support that or something. But the TV def does support widescreen. Any thoughts?

    corin moore
    12/4/11 @ 3:31 pm

    I’m using iMovie 9 on Mac, 10.6.8 Snow Leopard. In order to make an NTSC project…does the original footage from my video camera into events have to be downloaded with the iMovie settings on NTSC? If the original footage was downloaded with Imovie setting on PAL, into events, can I then change pref. settings to NTSC, restart and make new project in NTSC…or will it overide the pref settings and still be a project in PAL format? In other words…at what stage does a project become PAl or NTSC – before or after original download?
    Any advice would be really gratefully accepted and appreciate answer or help you can give.

      12/4/11 @ 3:37 pm

      I don’t think it really matters since you are creating a digital video. You Mac is neither NTSC or PAL. Try switching and create a test project.

    Phil Miller
    1/21/12 @ 6:04 am

    I hope you can read this and answer before tonight!! I have to show a movie tonight and I too have been wondering about the settings.
    My imovie project was made in a 16:9. So, if DVD does not support that, should I change the project to a 4:3?? Also, the audio, as the other person mentioned, sound great on the pc whether played through imovie or iDVD, but when played on a DVD player it sounds muffled and of poor quality. Any suggestions for that? Thanks so much.

      Phil Miller
      1/21/12 @ 6:05 am

      I didnt mean “pc” I meant “my mac”. in post above.

        1/21/12 @ 10:20 am

        Experiment. Try creating a DVD with the current 16:9 settings. See if you like it (black bars at top and bottom). Try one at 4:3 if you don’t like that and see if that is better.
        Does the audio of the DVD sound good when played on your Mac? If so, and it doesn’t sound good on your TV, then it may just be that your TV doesn’t have good speakers or whatever.

    2/4/12 @ 3:10 am

    I have tried several export settings from iMovie so I can burn a DVD in iDVD all of them are poor.

    Even when I try the native settings (960)

    Could the problem be the import, I tried to import the video using the full 1080p size but got a message saying image quality may be degraded, is this true?

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