Efficient video editing workflow starting from a DVD.
November 15, 2008 10:46 AM   Subscribe

How can my video editing workflow be more efficient and avoid time-consuming conversion between formats?

Part of my job involves taking videos of presentations and uploading them to our project website. My current workflow (on a unibody MacBook) looks something like this:

1. Rip DVD to mpeg-4 using HandBrake. This typically takes twice realtime.
2. Import mpeg-4 into iMovie '08. This typically takes 9-10x realtime.
3. Perform minor edits, almost always just removing silence or presentations that are not ours.
4. Export to mpeg-4. This typically takes 11-12x realtime.
5. Convert to FLV using ffmpegx. This also takes a pretty long time.

The presentations are usually about an hour long, which makes this process take about a full day. Clearly the conversion times are killing me. What techniques or different programs do I need to make this workflow go faster? Note that I have no choice but to start with a DVD video and end with FLV, but the intermediate steps are open to change.
posted by jedicus to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You could cut out the first step of compressing your DVD to MPEG-4, which is not only time-consuming, but adds an unnecessary layer generational loss and noise. Instead, import your footage as an MPEG-2 file, which is supported by iMovie 08.

Download the freeware MPEG Streamclip to convert the .VOB files on your DVD to a standalone MPEG file. I use this app all the time to rip my DVDs into an .mpg file supported by my Playstation 3. Since you're just transcoding, it will take minutes rather than hours. Import the file into iMovie and you're ready for the rest of your workflow.
posted by porn in the woods at 12:18 PM on November 15, 2008

1. Rip your DVD using MacTheRipper. (Or, if it's unencrypted, just copy it onto your HD.)
2. Load the MPEG-2 file into MPEG Streamclip and export it to Apple Intermediate Codec with Deinterlace turned on.

AIC is iMovie's internal native format.

3. Import into iMovie (which will happen very quickly, since it's already in the right format).
4. Edit.
5. Re-export as AIC (in order not to lose quality.)
6. Convert to FLV.
posted by Mwongozi at 1:09 PM on November 15, 2008

AIC is iMovie's internal format for HD - not for Standard Def - I believe it gets transcoded to DV.

iMovie 08 can import a DVD, and there's a technique for other MPEG-2 files (which involved tricking iMovie into thinking a HD is a DVD.

So, Capture direclty into iMovie (probably 2x real time), Edit.

If you have Flash on your system you can do a "Share" to Quicktime and save it directly as an FLV file. If not, transcode to something fast...like Animation (this will build a huge file, but will be very fast; and no lossage), then off to FLV.
posted by filmgeek at 3:23 PM on November 15, 2008

Response by poster: For the first half of the process, using Streamclip and the MPEG-2 Component has cut down the import time dramatically. Unfortunately, all of the export options (including Animation and DV) are still dog slow. Making the FLV using ffmpegx is pretty fast, so as long as I can get the movie out of iMovie reasonably quickly somehow, I think I'll be happy.

Would QuickTime Pro speed up the export process?

filmgeek suggests Flash, but I'd hate to spend $250 (academic pricing) just for the QuickTime export component. Is there any way to get it separately?
posted by jedicus at 6:45 PM on November 15, 2008

You used to be able to buy videohub for about $30 - it'd do flash and about a dozen other little things...which was FFMPEG. The key to speding this up without spending money, is to export in the identical format from iMovie that it's stored in (probably DV codec - the slider does nothing...) This should be as long as a file copy about 1 min per gig (DV stored about 5 min to the gig.) So if it's an hour long piece, it should take about 12-15 min for it to create a full QT copy out of iMovie.
posted by filmgeek at 1:53 PM on November 16, 2008

Response by poster: I've tried several different kinds of DV export, including the various DV formats, keeping the current resolution, etc. All of them are just as slow as exporting to h.264, even when I export to an external hard drive. I also tried Apple Intermediate Codec and Pixlet with the same results.
posted by jedicus at 10:56 AM on November 17, 2008

The problem is...I think...in SD....you're exporting to h.264. Export as a Quicktime DV, and process that into an FLV file. One conversion, not two. PLEASE let me know if that makes a difference. Otherwise, I'm going to have to go back to muppet labs and try myself.
posted by filmgeek at 5:58 AM on November 19, 2008

« Older What is this thing?   |   Customizing an I-Am-Not-A-Paper-Cup. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.