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  #1  
Old 05-16-2011, 04:30 PM
Jason Dunn
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Default iMovie and Importing Video Files: Someone Explain This to Me

<p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//at/auto/1305242804.usr1.png" style="float: left; border: 0; margin: 5px;" /></p><p>Hi there! Jason Dunn, OS X n00b, here again scratching my head about why I'm having such a hard time doing something that should be pretty simple. I'm hoping there's an iMovie '11 expert reading this site that can give me some insight, because I'm at the end of my wits with this particular program.</p><p>Here's the deal: I have a massive 48 GB AVI file that I digitized several years back; it's about five hours of footage captured from a VHS tape. Yes, in hindsight I probably should have captured it in smaller pieces, but when you're talking about real-time capture from a physical medium, it's easiest to just press record and walk away. I'm finally getting around to chopping the file up into a series of smaller clips, and I wanted to use iMovie '11 to do it.</p><p>I've grown fairly comfortable using iMovie '11 for editing videos and while it's slower than hell at the video encode (export) step - lacking GPU encode acceleration and only having a meagre 2.4 Ghz Core 2 Duo - the quality of the output is excellent and I find the application stable and fast...though it did crash on me last week (take that fanboys!). The problem I'm having, however, is getting this video file imported into the program. <MORE /></p><p>For the codec-heads among you, here's what gSpot says about the AVI file:</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//at/auto/1305226173.usr1.png" /></p><p>My Mac Mini won't play the file back, so of course iMovie won't import it either. And, yes, I tried <a href="http://perian.org/#detail" target="_blank">Perian</a> - it didn't help. Because of quality loss I'm generally loathe to transcode one format to another just to be able to edit it, but in this case it seemed like my only option. And, hey, this is a VHS tape capture, so there's not a lot of quality to begin with. I did a short 60 second test transcode using a generic h.264 template found in <a href="http://tmpgenc.pegasys-inc.com/en/product/tvmw5.html" target="_blank">TMPGEnc Video Mastering Works 5</a>&nbsp;and iMovie '11 wouldn't import it. With some grumbles, I tried again using the Quicktime MOV output template using the h.264 codec, tried importing that, and it worked. Victory!</p><p>I set my computer to transcode the massive 48 GB file, and seven hours later it was finished. For some odd reason, the transcode process only used one core and one thread; it seems the Quicktime encoder they use isn't multi-threaded. The resulting MOV file looks like this:</p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//at/auto/1305316730.usr1.png" /></p><p>I tried importing it into iMovie '11, expecting success since the file format was the same, and guess what? It didn't work. iMovie unhelpfully showed me the file in the import window as greyed out. No error, no information, no explanation - it simply won't import the file. This is one of the things I haven't enjoyed about my Mac experience so far - the way, when something doesn't work, as I user I'm not told why.</p><p>So Apple Thoughts readers, any ideas? Is it the 32 GB file size that causing iMovie to not import it? Or something else? Every Web search I've tried has resulted in Apple support threads from 2007 without an answer...</p>
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  #2  
Old 05-16-2011, 06:19 PM
alex_kac
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iMovie is designed for regular people, with regular needs. I personally rarely use it, using either Adobe Premier or Final Cut Pro (will move to Final Cut X when its out as that looks....amazing).

From what I could glean via Google - iMovie has a file size limit of 2GB. So perhaps you need to chop up the video into multiple < 2GB file size clips.
 
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  #3  
Old 05-16-2011, 08:14 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alex_kac View Post
iMovie is designed for regular people, with regular needs.
While I concur that there's nothing "regular" about having a 48 GB file, I do think it's normal for average users to have files in a bunch of different video formats. What was normal for video files 5-10 years ago (MPEG2, AVI, etc.) isn't supported very well iMovie now, which is unfortunate. People assume that OS X is a great platform for video editing, but personally I was quite shocked when I tried to import a few video clips and it wouldn't do it. iMovie '11 is strictly for the HD video era, which is something I wasn't expecting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alex_kac View Post
I personally rarely use it, using either Adobe Premier or Final Cut Pro (will move to Final Cut X when its out as that looks....amazing).
I wish there were trial versions of Final Cut Express...I'm irked by the idea that Apple expects people to drop $200+ on software without being able to try it out first. Final Cut X does indeed look quite amazing though based on what I've seen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alex_kac View Post
From what I could glean via Google - iMovie has a file size limit of 2GB. So perhaps you need to chop up the video into multiple < 2GB file size clips.
I saw those same references and, as far as I know, that was only accurate several years ago (2007). I haven't found a reference to iMovie '11 having a file import size limit.
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:20 PM
Jason Dunn
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I was able to import a file that was 2.28 GB in size...so it looks like it's not a 2 GB file limit. Maybe 5 GB or 10 GB?
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2011, 02:59 AM
Paragone
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Default Try MPEG Streamclip

I use MPEG Streamclip (free and cross-platform) to save large files into smaller chunks. You can set "in" and "out" points and save the file as smaller pieces without re-encoding. It simply trims the front and back when you use the "save as" option. This makes the process very quick and non-destructive. Although with that large a file it will still take a while to save it.

From there you can more easily manipulate the smaller chunks. You may still need to re-encode into a format that iMovie supports. MPEG Streamclip can also convert to a variety of formats.
 
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  #6  
Old 05-20-2011, 07:47 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paragone View Post
I use MPEG Streamclip (free and cross-platform) to save large files into smaller chunks. You can set "in" and "out" points and save the file as smaller pieces without re-encoding.
Thanks, someone else recommended the same program, so I'll give it a try.

What I don't understand is why no one, even Apple themselves, has any info on the root problem: what's the file size limit is for iMovie imports?
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  #7  
Old 01-13-2012, 09:14 PM
Anaximandus
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Hello Jason,

I'm in a similar boat. I have around 650 GB of AVCHD files (not in one file) that I want to but cannot edit with iMovie or FCP. Available converters are messing up the files - really not satisfying. So I went back to the PC and my TMPGEnc Video Mastering Works 5 licence.

I'm trying to find the right settings to create MOV files that are imported to iMovie without further processing.

I have MP4 videos which iMovie does NOT try to transcode.

What about your conversion settings, would you mind sharing them? Did iMovie convert the files upon import?


Kind regards,
Anaximandus
 
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  #8  
Old 01-13-2012, 11:36 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaximandus View Post
I'm trying to find the right settings to create MOV files that are imported to iMovie without further processing.
I'm rusty on using iMovie, but I could have sworn there was a setting that allows you to turn off the videos being "prepared" for iTunes.

Quote:
What about your conversion settings, would you mind sharing them? Did iMovie convert the files upon import?
This project is still on my "to do" list - I abandoned it because it got so frustrating. I used MPEG Streamclip to create a big file that, I think, iMovie won't transcode. But, honestly, I can't exactly remember...

Sorry for being so useless here.
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2012, 11:39 PM
Anaximandus
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Not a problem.

...if smaller files worked for you, why not just split the transcoded files, then import?

If I find my solution, I'll post it here, maybe it's of help to somebody.
 
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