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Wednesday, December 11, 2002

More Video Cheer

So, one great thing about a Mac or Powerbook with a built in Superdrive and out-of-the-box iMovie and iDVD is they let you take that sloppy video footage you've amassed by pestering people with a camera in their faces (or elsewhere) at opportune moments (or otherwise) throughout the year and turn it into a pretty nice holiday gift. And, you can throw related photos on the selfsame DVD in slideshow format, synched to music; very slick. My dilemma, however, is that movie files exported for iDVD can get huge, fast. I coastered two DVD-Rs before coming to terms with the fact the 10.7 gigabyte file iMovie made for me simply wasn't going to fit on the 4.7 gig DVD-Rs that work with the Superdrive (the inarguable math wasn't lost on me, I just thought maybe the iDVD burning process would sufficiently compress the file without more work on my part). This is a 56 minute video that (1) I am not going to re-cut (too much work), and (2) believe it or not, the recipients actually will want to watch, as it stars their adorable children, among other bit players such as myself. I'm posting this in hope you Mac and QuickTime mavens (Kevin?) will confirm I've arrived at the best solution for this, or offer other suggestions. I need to compress this puppy, but it can still be a big file; up to 3 or 4 gigabytes I would think. I upgraded to QuickTime Pro (for the second time; grrr). I imported the 10.7 gig file, then, after trying and rejecting some of the smaller options, exported it to one of the two "2x CD-ROM" formats. This seems to yield pretty good quality in about a 550 MB file. (I initially thought MPEG-4 would be the way to go, but it comes out way too small and pixelated). I can go bigger than this and still get it on the DVD, but (1) the format has to be iDVD compatible, and (2) I don't see any better pre-formatted QuickTime options than what I've already done. I suspect I could venture into the custom settings and bump up the quality even further, while still slimming down my 10.7 gig fatty, but here, for me anyway, "there be dragons." Thanks in advance for any input.

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