2-in-1: How to make steamed Tilapia + Editing in iMovie 7

Do note that this is a two-in-one blog post:
1) It’s my first home cooked meal, made healthier based on your suggestions (yes, veggies!)
2) It’s my first go at using the new and controversial iMovie 7 (part of iLife ’08)

Homemade Steamed Tilapia Dinner - 1

The Setup
The setup has me going through Wegmans supermarket to buy what I need for that evening’s dinner. Since my buddy Peter taught me how simple it was to prepare Tilapia, I decided to go with that, adding some seasoning, veggies and cooking by steaming or grilling.

Thoughts on iMovie 7
The new iMovie 7 feels unlike anything I’ve used before and while I agree it’s faster than other iMovies I’ve used before, the interface does seem too strange for my liking… in fact, counterproductive. Adding titles and setting duration takes a bit of guesswork, but on the whole, the new iMovie is designed for a faster workflow, so some intricacies were sacrificed for simplicity.

Editing in iMovie 7 feels weird...

One of the most sought after features of the new iMovie is the “Export to Youtube” capability. As a videoblogger, this frees me from the time-sucking step of waiting for videos to encode, then manually uploading them. Interestingly, this was the first instance I’ve seen any application work with Youtube’s API directly, just as how many apps are now communicating with Flickr API once you authorized the transaction.

While all could be peachy, I found that the “Export to Youtube” video quality isn’t the best possible. It isn’t encoded to give you a the highest quality Youtube video, but rather iMovie 7 simply uploads Apple’s mobile-quality video which is: H.264, 480 x 360, Millions, AAC, Stereo (L R), 44.100 kHz

A properly encoded video for Youtube would be:
H.264 (or Divx), 320 x 240, Millions
AAC, Mono, 22kHz
30fps (or 15fps for speedier transfers)

Now compare the Youtube and .Mac Gallery videos exported via the new iMovie 7, as well as one manually encoded for best quality on Youtube. Which reigns supreme?

iMovie's "Share on Youtube" video quality compared...

Here’s a comparison I made between iMovie 7’s “Share on Youtube” feature (see video sample) versus my ideal encoding setting using Quicktime (see video sample) . As you can see, the iMovie’s Youtube video appears more washed-out while the Youtube-specific video encoding standard yields better image clarity. Just compare the text on the packages and the color saturation in both instances.

.Mac Web Gallery "Making Steamed Tilapia dinner" video

Of course when it comes to sharing higher definition videos on the web, nothing has come as clear and simple as the new .Mac Gallery export, which uploads videos at a number of resolutions to suit various devices. If the mobile quality is sharp, you can only imagine how the Medium and High quality versions look like. Take a look for yourself…

Overall, iMovie 7 is pretty much a first generation application with the intention of letting you make great looking videos fast. Rendering of titles and transitions are much faster, and so does the browsing of video clips thanks to the new “skimming” thumbnail rollover feature. I think it’s a good base to work from, and here’s hoping for more improvements in future versions.

Homemade Steamed Tilapia Dinner - 3

Oh, before I have my dinner, here’s a video encoding guide I shot for anyone making videos for Viddler.com, my favorite video sharing service. 🙂

BTW: I made a grilled version for lunch today! Have you made any nice meals lately?

7 thoughts on “2-in-1: How to make steamed Tilapia + Editing in iMovie 7

  1. Cool, the dude cooks too! Such a healthy meal. Personally for me I prefer my fish to be crispier but soups are good too 😛

    Just wondering, how long does it take to upload a 5 minute clip on youtube over there as compared to Singapore?

  2. Food always has universal appeal over a software review (i.e. iMovie 7).

    @M-H: Ah, Tilapia as pest! Fortunately they are easy to cook 😛

    @marina: When I get more adventurous, I’ll try making baked or fried fish. Uploading anything (including youtube videos) over here is really fast. Comparatively, perhaps it’s about half the time.

    @Jacelyn: I’m starting to find that more and more girls don’t cook. Guys seem to be doing the cooking now. Is this a valid trend?

    @Priscilla: Yes, I think the grilled version is more appetizing.

  3. Not bad, not bad for a city slicker, you can ALMOST grill.

    Have I made any “nice” meals lately? Well, unfortunately, my kids will have to attest to that. Despite the rain here today, I will be out grilling T-bone steaks, cheddar potatoes, and maybe with a side of Mac & Cheese.
    Come on over. Hahaha.
    What I can do with 377 lbs of beef in the freezer.

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