Forum Question: iMovie Import Low Quality

I have iMovie’11 and i have problem when i try to import films from my camera. When i import i put original format and the quality is lower than if i copy the file from the camera directly and i see in differents multimedia players.
Do you know what’s the problem? Previously i see that iMovie had the option when you import a maximum option
Thank you very much
Sergio Garcia

Comments: 13 Responses to “iMovie Import Low Quality”

    1/21/12 @ 10:30 am

    How are you judging that the quality from the import is low? Are you simple looking at the preview area in iMovie? Remember that the preview area is a preview — literally. It isn’t the real thing. It is lower quality so it can render in real time as you edit. Try control+clicking on a clip in the event and selecting “reveal in finder.” Then open that in QuickTime Player. Then you will see the real imported video. That is the quality you should get when you export from iMovie in highest quality.

      Sergio Garcia
      1/21/12 @ 12:39 pm

      Hi Gary,

      Thank you very much. You have reason. But i have another problem. I try to export the film to 1080p but the quality of the film is equal as the preview. Do you know why?

      Thank you very much,

        1/21/12 @ 1:28 pm

        It shouldn’t be. For one thing the preview is much smaller in size on your screen than 1080p. Check all of your settings and your source video. If you are still having trouble seek some first-hand help.

          Sergio Garcia
          1/22/12 @ 8:47 am

          Hi Gary,

          I search about this in internet and i didn’t see when you select an option you have a button information at the right that it show the size of the file will be transform. Do you know if this data can i modify? When i select a file that it size is 690 MB(after import) when i see the option information it show me that the size after convert will be 180MB? Do you know is correct?

          Thank you for all,


            1/22/12 @ 9:46 am

            I’m not quite sure what you are talking about. Can you be more specific? Select an option where, exactly? Shows size where, exactly?
            It is common to have a large video file that hasn’t been compressed well by a camera, and then have the export size be much smaller using h264 compression. Don’t worry about that. Just look at the video itself and judge it on its visual quality.

              Sergio Garcia
              1/22/12 @ 1:24 pm

              Hi Gary,

              First sorry for my problem description but my english is not very good. About the Select option question, when you go to imovie option shared->export, imovie shows a windows with the folder location where the video will be save and down, it shows the format that you want export (720p,1080p….). Then if you see in the right position every option has an information icon and it shows the movie size after the export.

              Then when i put the icon mouse over the 1080p option, show me that video will have 180 MB when the video size after the import was 690 MB. And my question is this situation it’s ok.

              Thank you very much,

                1/22/12 @ 2:04 pm

                So you are concerned that the original video was 690MB and iMovie says that the exported video will be 180MB? It may just be that your camera is using a more raw compression than the h264 that iMovie will be using. But there is no reason to think about it — try it. Try exporting and see what you get. If you like the result, be thankful that it was possible to do it in 180MB instead of 690MB.

                  Sergio Garcia
                  1/23/12 @ 2:24 am

                  Hi Gary,

                  Thank you for your response but i think that i did a bad explanation. The video with size 690MB was after i did an import.
                  When i select a clip and i did ctrl+click and select reveal in finder, then it show me the clip and it sizes is 690MB, and the quality is good, but i try to export in 1080p and the quality is very bad, i see more pixels than the import clip.

                  Thank yo for the help and sorry for the incovenience

                    1/23/12 @ 7:39 am

                    So you don’t like the quality of the export? OK. Then try different export settings.

                      Sergio Garcia
                      1/23/12 @ 8:11 am

                      Yes but if i check the best quality(1080p) and i don’t like because the quality is poor imovie has an advanced export settings to modify to best quality?


    1/23/12 @ 8:29 am

    Use Share, Export Using QuickTime and you have all sorts of ways to customize your export. Choose “Movie to QuickTime Movie” to start with, and then click Options and Settings and then h264. Then customize from there. It will take some know-how and experimentation to beat the 1080p default quality, though. Not sure why that is giving you poor results It should give excellent results.
    If this is for a professional project, I would seek the help of an experience video editor and get some first-hand advice from someone that can look at your project work with you.

      Sergio Garcia
      1/23/12 @ 9:34 am


      Thank you very much this afternoon i can try and i say you anything.

        Sergio Garcia
        1/27/12 @ 7:39 am

        Hi Gary,

        Sorry but i couldn’t response before. I think, my problem was my computer. Because after displayed in HOme cinema, the film saw very well. Thank you very much for all.

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