Help with video editing software for home movies!

So as per the recommendation on here, I got the Elgato video capture USB adapter for my Mac. I have been transferring tons of old vhs family movies. Basically, I transfer the movies, import into iTunes, edit and then export to a file and YouTube for family.

Works great except when I start with a 1.4gb movie after iMovie does its magic it makes the resulting file goes to 9.5gb.

So I’m looking for recommendations. Ideally, I want to add titles but that isn’t the most important function. I definitely need to break apart one long mp4 into smaller movies.

Thoughts on either what I’m doing wrong or recommendations on software that can help me to very basic editing without increasing the size of the file like iMovie does?!!!



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iMovie is the easiest to use. You can add titles and split things up in iMovie. If the file is very large, you can scale it down by downgrading the quality a bit.

You can use Handbrake to convert the video with. Handbrake usually creates smaller file sizes.

Handbrake can be downloaded at:

What is the resolution of file that iMovie outputs? Your source material is at 640×480 (4:3) or 640×360 (16:9). It is also interlaced, effectively reducing the size in half compared to progressive. I believe the default value for iMovie is HD as in 1920×1080 (1080p).

If iMovie is upscaling the video and rendering as progressive, a significant size increase is to be expected.

The codec could also be a factor. I believe H.264 is a good place to start, but you could experiment with others to see the effects.

So, as an example:

The original file that was encoded with the elgato Video Capture is:

H.264 (x264), 30 FPS PFR
AAC (CoreAudio), Stereo
640x480 Storage, 640x480 Display
2.3 GB in size

When I imported to iMovie, added a few titles, it is also:
H.264 (x264), 30 FPS PFR
AAC (CoreAudio), Stereo
but the resolution is now 958x540 Storage, 958x540 Display
and the size jumped to: 6.7 GB

I don’t want to rencode in the new size. All I want is to take the original MP4, split add titles and save. I’m going to have to try some other opensource tools to do it.

Interesting indeed. Your frame size is increased by almost 60%, so a new file size of 3.7GB or so would be reasonable, but not 6.7GB.

My only guess is that iMovie is applying less compression on the export than what your capture device did. In the “File/Share” menu you should be able to adjust the output back to 640x480 in the “Resolution” drop-down. You can also experiment with the “Quality” and “Compress” settings there.

Good luck!