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What Are the Best Setting In iMovie and FCPX for Creating a File To Burn To DVD?

I know the video formats have shifted to mp4 files on usb sticks or downloaded from the cloud or viewed on Vimeo etc. HOWEVER, I am a videographer and most/all of my requests for sharing the final product video is still for DVD. The quality is not nearly as good as an mp4 and I know all of the reasons (mp2, DVD limitations etc.) Even Imovie has limited its ability to render good quality video to DVD since Imovie HD (6)
I still have an Imac 24 with Snow Leopard running Imovie HD and IDVD because of these limitations.
I also run FCPX 10.0.3 on an Imac 27 running High Sierra, but the ability to put in Menu’s was removed in 10.0.3
What I am wondering is, given the limitations of everything, is there a way to get a DECENT quality of video onto a DVD and what software/hardware is recommended to do this?

Comments: One Response to “What Are the Best Setting In iMovie and FCPX for Creating a File To Burn To DVD?”

    5 years ago

    The short answer is: It probably doesn't matter.

    You see, the main problem with DVD video isn't that it is MP2 or any compression or format. It is simply that it is old standard-definition video. So it is about 720x480 or 720x576 or something around there. Compare that to video recorded by current phones: 1920x1080 or even larger. The iPhone X can even record at 4K (3840x2160) as can many cameras and video recorders.

    So no matter what you do with your video, the DVD burning software is going to take your HD video and resize it way way down. Going from 1920x1080 to 720x480 is resizing to 17% of the original size!

    So the thing that makes sense is to export your video from iMovie or FCP at the highest resolution you can -- the same resolution as the original video. So 1080 probably. And then it is up to your DVD burning software to resize it as it converts the video to the DVD format. But give it as much information to work with as you can, thus a larger size.

    This is where I think a lot of quality issues come into play as some software is better than others. If the software does a crappy job of converting, you could end up with a poor-quality DVD. I haven't kept up with the DVD software, so I don't know how they compare.

    But in most cases, it doesn't matter if you export a 1080, 720 or even a standard definition video as the conversion will take it to standard def. What I would suggest is to make several attempts using different export settings, and then comparing them.

    As for compression format, I think that probably doesn't matter much also. But I would test. Some may be handled by your software better than others. Perhaps the DVD software documentation gives some suggestions. Some formats may give you the same quality, but process much much faster, so you would want to take that into account too.

    And, of course, you may want to test out different DVD software options. Maybe see if one produces better quality because it is using better conversion techniques.

    It is a shame that your customers are still asking for DVDs. I imagine that is like being a photographer, using great cameras, lenses and shooting techniques, only to have your customers just ask for a few wallet-sized photos. :)

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