Forum Question: How Do I Get the Best Quality When Exporting My iMovie?

Hi there! I recently made a 15 second video using iMovie ’08. The video is comprised of 5 high resolution images, with transitions and a title slide on the last image. When I export this (using Quicktime), the images are graining and fuzzy. I have searched a lot of forums and tried many different things to get the result I am looking for (crisp photos in the movie), but nothing works. The only setting that made the images clearer was when I changed the size setting to 1920×1080 HD, but then it also changes the movie to “widescreen” and some of the images are cut off at the top and bottom. Any ideas on how I can fix this? Thank you for your help!

Comments: 3 Responses to “How Do I Get the Best Quality When Exporting My iMovie?”

    9/16/13 @ 8:03 am

    It’s all about the math. You say “high resolution images” and that usually means pictures taken with a decent camera or phone. For instance, 3264 × 2076 with the iPhone 5. Maybe even more with a 10 or even 20MP (megapixel) camera.
    But video is no where near that resolution. Say you made a 720p HD video — that would be 1280×720. That’s the equivalent to a 0.9MP camera — or one of those very early digital cameras from the 1990s, or a cheap cell phone from 10 years ago.
    Even at 1920×1080 (1080p), that’s like a 2MP camera.
    So don’t compare the still photos to the video — the video will always lose. Plus, if you are making a DVD, it is even worse, because all DVDs are 720×480!
    To make your video look as good as possible, first consider the playback device. You must be making the video for something — to play back on a projector, a TV, YouTube, etc. So then tailor the output to the highest resolution that that device can use. You don’t mention this factor, so I can’t give any more advice here.
    Naturally, a 1920×1080 video is widescreen — that’s the format. So if you try to squeeze 4:3 photos on to it, you have to decide whether to leave blank space to the left and right, or to zoom in on the photo and cut off the top and bottom. You should do that in iMovie when authoring the video. Select the photo in the timeline and use the cropping options in the preview window.
    Then try exporting it at the size you want. Only consider the exported video for quality. Don’t use the preview window in iMovie to judge the quality — it is a “preview” window and it only shows you enough to help you edit the video. It doesn’t not render the final product.
    Once you export and video the resulting file, you can then see the final quality. View it at 100% (not enlarged) on your Mac’s screen. If you don’t find that satisfactory, then you can play with the export controls in iMovie. Export as “QuickTime” and try different settings. I’d stick with h264, but try different bit rates and such.
    If you are not familiar with video export settings, then try this video:
    http://macmost.com/imovie-export-settings.html
    Or, perhaps seek help from someone who know about video formats and can sit down and work with you.

    Adam
    10/3/13 @ 9:28 pm

    Since photos offer the best quality, what is the method to create a best quality video using only photos?

      10/4/13 @ 5:18 am

      Create a 1080p video and play it back on your computer. Don’t use DVDs.
      If you can, use Final Cut Pro to create a video larger than 1080p — if that case it would only play back on your computer.

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