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I don't have an AppleTV. I have a DVD player. My in-laws don't have an AppleTV. They, too, have a DVD player. Steve Jobs has an AppleTV. This post is not for him. Here's how you send a movie to iDVD.

First things first
"Send to iDVD" is gone. It left no forwarding address. Last I heard, it ran off with GarageBand. Before it left, however, it trained the Media Browser to take its place. Before you can send a movie to iDVD, you need to send it to the Media Browser. I have already covered the "MB", so head on over there if you haven't yet read that post.

How to send movies to the Media Browser

NOTE: If you want to add chapter markers to your movie before you send it to iDVD, you will need to send your movie through GarageBand instead. That, too, has already been covered.

How to add chapter markers

Send your movie to the Media Browser and make sure to select the highest quality setting available.

Media Browser: Check. Now what?
Now that you have your movie in the media browser, feel free to quit iMovie. You are done with it. Launch iDVD and create the new DVD project or open the one you already made for burning this particular movie.

Within iDVD, there is a new and (slightly) improved Media Browser for getting at your iLife. Get there by clicking the "Media" button in the bottom right corner of your window.

Select the "Movies" button on the top right and open the project you created under the "iMovie" menu option. You will see all the different sizes that you sent to the media browser, ready and waiting.

At this point comes the easiest part of the whole process. Drag the largest size you sent to the media browser and drop it into your iDVD project. That's it. No, really. That's it. Don't believe me? Go to the Project menu and select "Project Info..."

You will probably still see your movie being encoded for DVD. Depending on the size you dropped into the iDVD window, it will probably be called "large.m4v".

Make any of the other changes to your DVD menus and so on. Then burn, baby, burn!

I'm concerned about quality
The quality of this process concerns me, too. What is happening here is your movie is being encoded once by iMovie to get it into the Media Browser and then again by iDVD to get it in the proper format for a DVD. Each step involves a "lossy" encoding, so a little data is lost at each step along the way. However, as long as the video you dragged from the Media Browser into iDVD was better than 480p quality, you'll probably be okay. You can check this by looking under "Dimensions" in the Media Browser and looking at the number after the "x".

I will have to look into the quality issues another day, but if you notice any differences in quality or notice that there are none, please take a moment to tell us about it in the comments.

Everyone burn an extra copy and send it to Steve. Something tells me he still has a DVD player.

11 comments: to “ How to send a movie to iDVD

  • Fletcher
    August 14, 2007 at 7:15 PM  

    I can't even get that quality. When I share to the Media Browser the only quality settings I get are Tiny, Mobil, and Medium. Large is grayed out. My video to DVD is totally pixelated. I went into the Mac store today and they said to export as a movie and then drag the quicktime file onto the background of the iDVD window to create a DVD. They also said that the quality issue is a bug. In the store he was able to get the large setting but I still can't. I guess he has higher quality video probably HD. I have a Panasonic mini DV camcorder and have had crystal clear video in iMovie 06 so I don't know why my setting would be grayed out. Any ideas for me on this one?

  • Aaron
    August 15, 2007 at 8:50 PM  

    I think the reason you don't get the high quality setting as an option is that DV format only has 500 vertical lines of resolution. iMovie won't scale that up to the "large" setting.

    This is a big deal to discover because it means that if you use the Media Browser, you would have to use the Medium resolution in iDVD. That resolution is lower than DVD quality, so iMovie scales it down then iDVD scales it back up. This is pretty bad behavior and explains the pixelated DVDs you are getting.

    I will need to post an update for this How To that covers exporting DV footage to iDVD. We will have to venture into the Quicktime export to get it done, I think.

    Thanks for the feedback, Fletcher!

  • Anonymous
    August 16, 2007 at 6:03 AM  

    Aaron. what do you think? Would it be the best solution to directly export to mpeg2? but would that require the additional mpeg2 qt component?
    thanks for your nice walk-through!!

  • Neil
    August 19, 2007 at 1:49 PM  

    I did a "Share->Export using Quicktime..." and set it to "Movie to DV stream". (Check the settings/options in that screen.) That saved a DV file which you can drop it into Garageband or iDVD to go on from there.

  • Aaron
    August 20, 2007 at 9:18 AM  


    Actually I think the best approach is to do what Neil suggested. If you are working in DV, export your movie to Quicktime using the DV Stream setting. Make sure you save the DV file in your Movies folder in home folder, and the file will show up in the Media Browser. This has the same net effect of sending it to the Media Browser in the way I described in the post.

    Thanks for sharing that, Neil!

  • Stux
    August 26, 2007 at 10:48 AM  

    My wife loves her "iWorld".

    I bought her iLife 08 so she could benefit from iMovie 08. I literally didn't care about the other iApps, she likes iMovie.

    After having to hack the installer to work on her PB17" G4, She then began to play with iMovie 08...

    After fiddling with it for a number of hours, she's very upset, "i want my iworld back, they broke it"

    I've now deleted iMovie 08, and we're going to pretend it never happened... at least all the new iApps seem to be upgrades, and seem to work fine with iMovie HD 6.

    Very dissapointed. I liked the new events based unified project thing... BUT i also would like to have more than just a video toy.

    Biggest waste of 100 bucks (i live in australia) that i recall making.

  • mmarjan
    May 7, 2008 at 2:58 PM  

    I was totaly dissapointed over iDvd 8. Imovie8 did it's jobe fine, or so I thought; video was decent if I played it on my 42" plasma through mini-dv output on macbook and record it on my DVD recorder. But what iDVD created, it sucked big. Untill I tried it with iMovieHD 6 (send movie to iDVD). Quality suddenly improved to perfection wint 1Mpixel SONY miniDV camera!
    Next thing I tried was exporting movie from imovie8 with 'using quicktime' option and dv pal setting with progressive ouput. Unbelieveble! Quality again acceptable, with 800Kpixel digital8 camera recorded in 4:3 and dvd-mastered in 16:9. Now everything works excelent! Thanks for the hint!

  • Serhij
    August 18, 2008 at 4:04 PM  

    First of all I would like to thank you for interesting blog!
    I've found a cool tricks to play with iMovie '08.

    I used to work with DV video and it works pretty well if you keeping this format during processing of footage in different iLife applications.

    Export finished movie back to camera is possible if you save it as DV and load it in iMovie HD and finally, export to camera.

    With chapters is the same, instead of GarageBand you can use iMovie HD :)

    Give it a try!

  • Rockland Home Staging
    November 30, 2008 at 7:40 AM  

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I looked all over in the help screens and on the Apple website for how to make a DVD from iMovie. You would think it would be easy - people would want to turn movies into DVD's right?

    If I had not found your blog I would never have figured it out on my own. All the other tutorials kept saying - just us the send to iDVD button. I thought I was going nuts because mine didn't have that button.

    Your tutorial was so thorough and easy to follow - you are a peach!

  • Anonymous
    March 28, 2009 at 8:01 AM  

    Okay... I sent a movie to Media Browser... now how do I find it... HELP
    Please email me..
    vlynnp at aol

    Thank you!!!

  • Anonymous
    August 25, 2009 at 9:08 PM  

    Once you have exported imovie via media browser, simply open up iDVD, choose :make MAGIC DVD: ; then on right panel select Movies tab - it will be right there waiting for you !