iMovie: About Export Settings

This document provides tips for using the Expert Settings when you export a movie to QuickTime from iMovie.

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You can customize the export settings when you export a movie to QuickTime.

To customize these settings:

    1. Choose File > Export.
    2. Choose Expert Settings from the Formats pop-up menu.
    3. Click the Export button.
    4. Choose Movie to QuickTime Movie from the Export pop-up menu.
    5. Click the Options button.
    • Click the Settings button in the Video panel to see the compression, frames per second (frame rate), and key frame settings.
    • Click the Size button in the Video panel to customize the frame size.


In general, choose settings that give you the best trade-off between file size and video playback quality. Before you use the Expert Settings option, consider the following:

Codec options

  • MPEG-4 is the standard codec (compressor/decompressor) used for Internet movies. To get the MPEG-4 codec option, you must have QuickTime 6 or later.
  • For movies that will be viewed on earlier computer systems, you may want to use the Motion JPEG codec.
  • The Sorensen codec is good for viewing movies on later systems. For earlier systems, use Cinepak or Motion JPEG.

Frame size, Keyframes, and Frame rate

  • Pick a movie frame size first. Primarily, frame size determines the movie's file size.
  • Set the number of key frames next. If the number of key frames is high, the movie will play back at higher quality, but the file size will be larger. With lower keyframe numbers, the video quality may be lower, but the file size will be smaller.
  • Set the frame rate last. You may get choppy video playback if you set the frame rate to less than 12 frames per second. But higher frame rates create larger file sizes.
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