View Full Version : Converting MPEG for iMovie?

04-27-2005, 12:30 PM
I just figured out how to get video out of my RePlay system, but it downloads in MPEG format. I tried opening with iMovie, but I guess it's not the right format. Can anyone suggest software for converting MPEGs to something editable in iMovie?

04-27-2005, 06:18 PM
Hi jyssilly,
What version of Quicktime do you have installed?
And is it the Pro Version?
I seem to recall some issues with Quicktime updates recently,
Not sure if this applys...
Have Fun!

Dave :D

04-27-2005, 06:33 PM
No... no Quicktime Pro, only the player that came with the OSX...
but if that would work and it's easy...
I actually found something called DVDrop, seems good, but I don't know
about the quality. Plus, it's not free...
I read somewhere that changing mpegs to dv format can cause a loss
in quality, don't know if that's true though.

04-28-2005, 06:47 AM
I am way over my head on this but which type of MPEG are you working with? There is MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 that I am aware of in either QT or QT Pro or both.

If MPEG-2, Apple requires you to purchase a license http://www.apple.com/quicktime/products/mpeg2playback/

I have that in order to play some old files. I have QT Pro and don't know if the Pro version is required. There is a license required for OSX and another license required for OS9. At the time I purchased both because I was working in OS9 more than OSX. There are undoubtedly now other options to work with MPEG-2 besides Apple. k

04-28-2005, 06:54 AM
Maybe it is something that would make QuickTime 7 worthwhile.
Pro only means buying a $29 license?
And QT 7 requires a new license.

04-28-2005, 09:42 AM
To my knowledge, iMovie will only edit DV footage. There are a couple good MPEG-2 transcoders freely available like DiVA or OpenShiiva, but if you want to convert MPEG-2 to DV (or to any other QT codec) MacMPEG2Decoder is the best choice. It can be found here:


It's older, but I think it's still the best. Other programs will give you a resulting file that is usually the wrong duration because they cannot correctly identify I, B and P frames. There is no good way to edit MPEG video because MPEG only uses one "real" frame (called I frames I believe) for every 4 to 7 frames of video. The other frames only store the information that is different from the frame before it. The frequency of I frames depends on the encoder and directly relates to visual quality/file size. (i.e. IBBP or IBBPBB) MM2D has been the only program I've found that consistently decodes with the correct duration.

But yes, decoding extremely compressed MPEG-2 to a another heavily compressed codec like DV will make the video look "noisy", especially if you plan on then recompressing back to MPEG-2 for a DVD. But hey, such is life. :)

04-29-2005, 04:37 PM
THANK YOU!! I'll give it a try :)

04-29-2005, 04:57 PM
Thanks for jumping in Despaxas,
" The more you know,
the more you know you don't know " :D


04-29-2005, 08:40 PM
Well the MacMPEG2Decoder didn't work with my MPEG files - I kept getting all kinds of weird error codes when I tried to load it and then the program would shut down :(

But I found an answer - so I got the QT MPEG-2 playback component, and then I used MPEG Streamclip. It seems to be working, and the .dv files do load in iMovie, so I guess I'll see about the quality!

04-30-2005, 11:20 AM
The MPEG files you have must be muxed with audio and freaking MM2D out. I always used it with MPEG2 files from DVDs which are separate from the audio files. I've never heard of MPEG Streamclip so I checked it out, and it seems pretty useful. I really like that you can deinterlace at the same time if needed. Good luck, and let us know what it looks like when you're done.

05-02-2005, 01:57 AM
jyssilly: Just FYI, that combination - which I use to deal with the MPEG2s that come out of my ol' ADSTech USB DVD box - continues to work fine under OSX 10.4 ("Tiger"); I was afraid that the playback codec [which also comes "free" with DVD Studio Pro] would break, but it doesn't and continues to work under QT7. (I would also recommend checking out all of your output options in Streamclip [1.3.1 is the latest], because they are numerous, and you might better like the results of some others going into iMovie, as long as your storage is as copious as your # of formats ;)