Desktop Video/iMovie conversion


I have some iMovie files on my iMac which are about 500MB each and I'd like to convert them
to 100MB or less. How would I go about doing this from the file itself? I need to upload them to Gigmasters which has that size requirement. Thanks.

Hi David

When you say 'iMovie files' I'm not sure what you mean. The project you save in iMovie isn't a video clip, it's just metadata that tells iMovie which clips to play and in what order - assuming you have edited them. Or are you talking about the Quicktime movie which you have exported from iMovie? Read more here:

Mpeg (either mpeg-2 or mpeg-4) is a good compression format for sharing files -- Quicktime tends to make larger files.

I don't use iMovie, but I read that it has an export function that allows you to save the project as an mpeg or Quicktime .mov file and/or various others, and there should be settings in terms of bitrate, file size etc. If not, I would suggest you download Mpeg Streamclip from, and use it to convert the Quicktime movie clip. Mpeg Streamclip has various settings for export that affect quality/file size. Another piece of free software (that is both powerful and tricky to use) is ffmpegX. Get it, and read the full instructions at as it involves installing 2 or 3 other small codecs.

It may take some trial and error to get the optimum quality with the size you are looking for. Unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to video compression, as new codecs are coming out all the time.

I hope this helps

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Jonathan H Pienaar


Professional Final Cut Pro HD editor, with some experience in DVD Studio Pro, Motion and Shake. Currently working mainly for South Africa's version of "60 Minutes" - "Carte Blanche". I have not yet made the transition to FCP X -- I'm waiting for the dust to settle on that, so in the meantime a good resource is Larry Jordan ( Please don't post questions about hooking up PVRs, DVDs and hi-fis - there must be an Expert in the Home Entertainment section who can help you better than I can.


20 years as a professional editor: worked in feature films, commercials, music videos and actuality.

High school, 2 years of university degree.

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