Something went wrong with my .mov to MP4 conversion...

Hey everyone.  I'm working on converting my .mov files to MP4s using iMovie.  This is the process (thank you to Brian for showing this to me!):

I do what it says, but when it goes to export, it says 'exporting', not 'compressing'.  Think this makes a difference?  I'm not sure, but now my MP4 is larger than my swf file was!  The whole reason I was wanting to go to MP4 is b/c it was supposed to be smaller than my swf files, but this isn't.  I don't know if it's the conversion process in Flash that makes it bigger or if I'm doing something wrong in iMovie.  I can't compress in Flash when I'm making the .mov file.  If I compress at all, the video looks horrible.

14 Replies
Tammy Smith

Hey Phil.  Thank you for responding.  I have not tried zamzar.  The staff here said I should try iMovie.  I just don't understand why my mp4 is bigger than my swf file.  I mean, surely someone here has taken their Flash movie file and made it into a mp4 before (probably by making it into a .mov file first).  The only thing I can think of is that my .mov file is too large from my Flash file and that's what makes the mp4 bigger than my swf, but I can't lower the quality of the mov conversion settings in Flash or I get a really bad video.  I'm just really stuck as to what to do here.  If someone could possibly make a screenr or offer some help of going from Flash CS4 to .mov to mp4 (on a Mac preferably), I'd really appreciate it!!

Justin Wilcox

The size of your MP4 file will not necessarily be smaller than a Flash movie. Your size is determined based on the dimensions of the movie as well as the audio and video bitrate. The lower the bitrates or the smaller the dimensions, the smaller the movie. This calculator is for FLV but should be the same when configuring your MP4:

Tammy Smith

Thanks, Justin.  I installed the new application for the bitrate sampler that includes the H246 option.  This is an image of what I got.

Not really sure what it means.  I'm thinking it says that my files should be around 400 KB.  Well, one of my movies is twice that.  So does that mean I'm doing something wrong?  I have to have high video and audio quality.  If the MP4 is a higher file size than the swf file, should I still use the MP4 format or an FLV or stick with the swf, in your opinion?  Sorry for all the questions, but I want to make sure I get this right for my company.  There are two areas I could go wrong in.  I could export the movie wrong from Flash or I could encode it wrong in iMovie.  I could also pick the wrong format to use.  I keep hearing that MP4 is the best, but if it's bigger than my swf file, I don't know if that holds true for me.  But I've heard that an MP4 can play better on Articulate than a swf can.

Help would be so greatly appreciated.  Thank you, Justin!!

Justin Wilcox

MP4 or FLV are going to be better than SWF but it's probably a toss up in terms of quality. The video bitrate is probably fine. The audio bitrate you have is close to CD quality which may be a bit high. I would try for something closer to 64 kbps, depending on what the audio is.

I think, though, you should focus less on the final size of the file and focus more on the quality of the video and how well it plays back. The size is kind of relative and unless it's super gigantic should not really be a consideration.

Tammy Smith

Thanks Justin.  I was just wondering about the file size because if that was the only reason to change the file to an MP4, then I wouldn't need to do that since the MP4 is bigger than my swf.  However, if MP4 plays better than a swf in Presenter, then I'll want to make it an MP4 still, regardless of the size.  Like you said, quality is the most important thing.  Now, some people have said that MP4 plays great and is awesome.  I still haven't really gotten a definitive answer, yet, though, if an MP4 is a lot better than an FLV file, though.  If you have a second, do you think you could list the pros and cons comparing MP4s and FLVs, please?  I've actually seen people ask about the differences before on here and other message boards, so a quick list probably would help more than just me.  I think finding the right final format for your video is the hardest part of this process, for me anyway.

Also, my biggest video is 20 MB when it's an MP4.  Is that okay or will it be choppy in Presenter?

Tammy Smith

So if I have a preloader, that should be fine, right?  That 20 MB video is in the middle of the presentation, so it'd have time to pre-load.  If it was in flv, no preloader, it would play while downloading?  Wouldn't that cause it to stop and start frequently?  As an MP4, if I didn't have a preloader, it wouldn't play the video at all until it was downloaded completely first?  Do I have this right or not quite?  Sorry.  I'm used to the old video system, though I like the better features on these new file formats.

David Anderson

Hi Tammy - are you creating your original movies in Flash or another program? I think I hear you saying you're creating the movies in Flash and exporting as .mov files. Is that correct? Flash has an h.264 export option with Quicktime. You could then use your converter to convert to mp4 rather than recompressing a second time.

Is there any chance you could post one of your source movies?

Lynne Bolduc

I've been trying to get iMovie to create a movie that is essentially pngs synched with an aiff file, a 50-second narrated slideshow. The Flash app was clean and clear. The iMovie export is muddy using H.264 and mpeg options. Only the png and animation compressors generate clean crisp movies. Unfortunately, I need the movie for iPod, iPhone, and iPad apps, so it has to be H.264 or mpeg. Does anyone know how to make a movie like this that has crisp images from png-based movies?

(QuickTime Pro didn't work for this either.)