Jul 012011

Some people have had issues importing various movie formats into iPhoto. Even .MOV QuickTime movies sometimes don’t play correctly in iMovie. .MTS files from Sony cameras simply will not work – they need to be converted. If you have the choice of a conversion format, use the H.264 format which may have an extension of .mp4. This works fine and may be the very format that iPhoto itself uses.

You can see the format that iPhoto uses by choosing a video that has already been imported (and plays correctly). Then click File -> Reveal in Finder -> Original File. Then right-click and choose Get Info. Under “More Info” there is a Codecs listing which shows the codec of the video.

A good converter is Xilisoft HD Video Converter.

Mar 242010

As of iDVD version 7.0.4 (June 4, 2009), there is no subtitle support for iDVD. So to add them to a movie you want to burn, basically you have to merge the movie with subtitles so that the movie image includes the subtitles. This also means the subtitles can’t be turned off.

There are a few different programs for merging subtitles and the one I like is called Submerge. So the only issue I’ve run into is that if you choose the “Flatten movie (keeps current format)” option, then when iDVD burns the movie the subtitles create a black line at the bottom of the screen. This isn’t the typical black line that appears only when the subtitles are there – it actually cuts off part of the movie permanently from a little above the subtitles all the way to the bottom of the screen. Obviously this is fairly annoying.

To resolve this issue I’ve found that you can export the movie to mp4 format. Just go to Export -> Custom then choose MPEG-4. If you’ll be watching the movie on an actual TV you’ll want to choose “setup” next and change the image size to something like “1920 x 1080 HD” and the data rate to 256 kbps so the quality will be acceptable. Exporting the movie in this way renders the subtitles normally with the transparent background they’re supposed to have. Happy DVD authoring!