Video Killed The Radio Star (Or my will to live, actually…)

I am truly hoping someone out there can help me with my problem. (PLEASE HELP!)

I shoot video on a Flip Mino HD. I love it.

While reviewing my unedited video on QuickTime, the quality looks great.

Enter iMovie.

After editing, adding some captions and maybe a song or two, I’ll export the file in full quality.

The video always looks like shit. Grainy. A little blurry. Definitely NOT HD quality anymore.

What am I doing wrong? This issue literally consumed my weekend.

Can you help? Wito would be thrilled to have his mother back.

  • Kimberly

    December 14, 2009 at 10:08 am

    I’m really looking forward to hearing the responses. I do the same as you – HD Flip and iMovie editing, and am continually frustrated.
    .-= Kimberly´s last blog ..Cold night, warm glow =-.

  • Kimberly

    December 14, 2009 at 10:09 am

    I’m really looking forward to hearing the responses. I do the same as you – HD Flip and iMovie editing, and am continually frustrated.

  • GreenInOC

    December 14, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Where did you export from iMovie to?

    I always export back to QuickTime.

    Hope that helps!
    .-= GreenInOC´s last blog ..I’m Thankful For Sarah Palin Fans (and New Left Media)! =-.

  • whoorl

    December 14, 2009 at 10:17 am


    When I choose to export in full quality, it makes it into a .dv file, which I then open in QuickTime and export again…what’s with all the exporting?

  • Groovymarlin

    December 14, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Definitely update this post if you find a solution. I don’t usually edit movies on my Mac, but I’ve had similar problems in Windows and it sounds like an issue with the encoding on one of the exporting steps somewhere. Make sure you have all the latest codecs and so forth? Good luck.
    .-= Groovymarlin´s last blog ..Missionary Man =-.

  • Laura

    December 14, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Now I’m very non-techy, but here is what I do. When I am finished with a movie (just made one yesterday for my blog if you want to check out the quality), I go to “Share” and it creates a quicktime movie for me. The next step is important – I choose to compress it to “Expert” settings and from there I choose “Broadband-High” as a setting.

    Hope that helps!
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Second Quarter Findings =-.

  • Heather

    December 14, 2009 at 11:57 am

    What version of iMovie are you using? The issue definitely lies within iMovie, let me know what version you are using and I’ll see if I can get you a solution!

    -Heather (former Apple employee, and married to an Apple tech)

  • jwo

    December 14, 2009 at 11:57 am

    @whoorl — make sure you’re on iMovie 09 — if you’re still on 08, it will be worth it to upgrade. Once you do, you can:

    # Click Share, export using Quicktime
    # Choose “movie to quicktime movie”
    # Click Options
    # For Size, choose either 1280×720 or 1920×1080 (either 720p or 1080i)
    # For compression, I like MPEG4
    # I leave sound alone

  • Camels & Chocolate

    December 14, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    Ditto, and I use a full-blown video camera too, not just a Flip, so it must be iMovie. Do post any answers you receive, please!
    .-= Camels & Chocolate´s last blog ..Photo Friday: Jerusalem, Israel =-.

  • berlinhairbaby

    December 15, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I work with ilife 09 which has both imovie 09 and idvd in it.
    I make the move, edit it, export it to idvd and then burn it onto a disk. Voila, now I’m a movie making studio! {The balls part tho is that I had to buy an external disk drive to burn my dvds. I can burn itunes cds without the external drive but not dvds}
    .-= berlinhairbaby´s last blog ..Somethin’ Stupid (a 1950s Xmas look) =-.

  • martymankins

    December 15, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    As a small time video editor, I will echo the comment from jwo.

    The resolution setting is key to the export settings.
    .-= martymankins´s last blog ..Going Morgue =-.

  • Heather

    December 15, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    I did some research and it sounds like you are choosing a built-in preset (like best quality) which won’t allow you to keep your HD quality. The Flips record in h.264 at 720p, so if you are getting a dv file when you export then it has re-encoded and downgraded the video.

    Jwo and martymankins gave good advice when they recommended upgrading to iMovie 09—it has a preset export for 720p. If you don’t want to upgrade, you can continue using iMovie HD, you’ll just need to customize the QuickTime export settings.

    Hope that helps!

  • whoorl

    December 15, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    You all are awesome! I upgraded to iMovie ’09 and double-checked my export settings and the quality of my exports is much better. Thank you so much!!
    .-= whoorl´s last blog ..Video Killed The Radio Star (Or my will to live, actually…) =-.

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