Remove color-banding from iMovie ’11 web video exports using Quicktime X

17 Apr

Improving iMovie ’11 web exports, while meeting the compatibility requirements of video-sharing sites

To eliminate the color banding in an iMovie ’11 video exported with Quicktime using H.264-compressed (or MPEG-4) compression, export the movie instead using the high-quality Apple ProRes 422 compression type; then, convert it with Quicktime Player X using the 480p format for the same high quality Apple ProRes 422 compression affords, while meeting the size-limitation and compression-type limits imposed by the video sharing sites you use.
Color banding is the most common problem in videos exported by iMovie ’11 to video-sharing web sites, such YouTube, Facebook and Vimeo, using its Share feature; this also applies to iMovie ’11 video exported with Quicktime using the H.264 compression type. It appears as thick bands of color instead of a smooth, tapering gradient in portions of an image where light recedes into shadow or when one color blends into another.

Videos exported by iMovie ’11 using H.264 compression result in color-banding
Unfortunately, the most commonly used compression type for video on the web that iMovie ’11 supports is H.264 (or MPEG-4). This may seem odd for anyone who knows that web videos exported by iMovie purportedly use the same Quicktime rendering engine used by Quicktime Player X to export desktop movies; even still, web movies exported by iMovie ’11 look as if the color-bit depth was reduced from millions of colors to thousands.

You can eliminate color-banding by exporting your iMovie ’11 video using one of the higher quality compression type Quicktime offers, namely, Apple ProRes 422; however, the size of the exported movie will probably exceed the limitations imposed by most video-sharing sites, including YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook—sites to which iMovie ’11 provides direct uploads. Even without this limitation, the lengthy download times will likely frustrate your online audience.

DOWNLOAD | Apple ProApps Quicktime Codex v1.0.1 and unpkg

Fortunately, Quicktime Player X can export movies with the same high-quality afforded by Apple ProRes 422 compression, even while maintaining the smaller size of H.264 (or MPEG-4) compression. Quicktime Player X can even export the movie in a format compatible with the aforementioned sites, as, strangely enough, it uses H.264 (or MPEG-4) compression.

To produce a high-quality, low-size movie using Quicktime Player X with iMovie ’11:

  1. On the Share menu in iMovie ’11, click Export using Quicktime, and then click the Options button, making sure that Movie to Quicktime Movie is selected on the Export drop-down menu first.

  1. To use Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) compression, click the Settings buttons, which located in the Video area, and then select Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) on the Compression Type drop-down menu. Click OK.
Use the Quicktime Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) compression type
  1. Next, click the Filter button, also located in the Video area, and then select the CIE RGB option on both the Source profile and Destination profile drop-down menus.
  1. Open the exported movie in Quicktime Player X, and then export it using the 480p format.
Color-banding is eliminated in the movie exported by Quicktime Player X using the 480p format—which also H.264-compressed—while retaining the high quality of Apple ProRes 422 and relatively small size of MPEG-4
The result is a H.264-compressed, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)-quality video (in other words, you now have a movie that looks as good as the high-quality (but too-large) Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) version, while retaining the file size and compatibility of an MPEG-4-compressed movie).

Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


7 responses to “Remove color-banding from iMovie ’11 web video exports using Quicktime X

  1. kiplantt

    April 27, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    As explained by Carlos Gonzalez on, here is how to install the ProRes codec and other ones:"The problem is iMovie and Quicktime default codecs, probably the AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) and iMovie itself to export on 8 bits only, that was made specifically by Apple.If you go to the page: can get the ProApps QuickTime Codecs v1.0.1And you must drop this on “Macintosh HD -> Library -> QuickTime” when dropping it you will see the version is radically different. 1.5 to 2.0 and so on.To get out the codecs from this package, you should use the free app unplug, the codecs out and paste in the folder."

    • theoknock

      July 26, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      I added the information you provided to the blog itself. The update will show itself first in the Blogger version, and then here.


  2. James Bush

    June 27, 2012 at 3:12 am

    I just now saw this; so, sorry for not replying sooner.A million thanks for your help here. I had a small problem installing the plug-ins. I can't seem to overwrite the codecs that are the same as the ones I'm replacing them with, even when I adjust permissions. I could probably succeed using the command line, but I'm assuming I don't need to; they are, after all (and as I said), the same.To that point: I guess since I had Final Cut Pro X installed once, that's why I had those; and, I think I referred to them in my post above, though, not knowing that others wouldn't have those unless I did exactly what you just did, which was point out where to download them.So, thanks for making my post complete. And, if you know of a better way to do what I did above, please let me know.

  3. Victor Lee

    June 23, 2013 at 10:07 am

    gonna try this out now….thank you for figuring this out! My videos started looking like the PC version of the PC vs Mac commercial…and I don’t wanna look like a guy in a dress!

    • theoknock

      July 4, 2014 at 3:13 am

      Sorry for the delay in my response. My primary site is at:

      WordPress is more like my backup, just in case…

      I know what you mean. Keep in mind, it’s a black point, white point, gamma issue that’s troubling you. Want to talk more about that? Call me at anytime at 408-685-4049


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