Long story short, we recommend importing using the compression option. This results in a much smaller file size and the quality is great!
If you would like some more technical information feel free to read the following:
Before your import, LifeFlix provides a dialog box that allows you to use our default (Compress Video On Import) MP4 compression or to import using no compression (by unchecking the Compress Video On Import box) and leaving it in its original DV source format, or a third of option is to Convert To HD On Import. All options use the QuickTime .mov "wrapper" technology that allows you to play the videos with QuickTime. Files will have the file name, "name.mov".
Here is a comparison of a compressed and uncompressed file to help you make the decision. Our recommendation is to allow compression as it creates a much smaller file, deinterlaces the video, and is easier to upload to YouTube. Because MP4 compression is so good, most people cannot tell the difference.
Download these examples and play them next to each other. These examples are NTSC, but this applies to PAL also.
Compressed (MP4) Download example (1.3MB)
The data rate for compressed is 3.3 mbps, frame rate is 29.97 (same as original), and resolution is 640x480 (also same as original). As with uncompressed, it is also using a .mov QuickTime wrapper, but we reduce the file size using the QuickTime H.264 codec or MP4 for compression. This option also deinterlaces the video.
No Compression (DV Format) Download example (12.7MB)
We are merely transcoding the original DV file, which does not change the format. It does not compress the original video, it only adds a .mov QuickTime wrapper to it. Choosing uncompressed also retains original resolution (640x480) and frame rate. Deinterlacing is not done with this option.
Convert To HD:
This feature can be applied to tapes that have been imported in SD (compressed or uncompressed) or you can choose to Convert To HD On Import from the get go.
Note: Doing so will increase the SD size from (640 x 480) to (1920 x 1080) while maintaining the (640 x 480) aspect ratio. To prevent the SD video from being distorted, you will notice that this will also place black letterbox margins on the left and right of the video.
By default HD imports or conversions are automatically compressed in order to prevent huge file sizes.
To scale we are using Apple's Core Image which uses interpolation to create new pixels. We also spent some time tweaking the results in order to get the best quality we could by including some amount of sharpening during the scaling process.
Give it a try by importing in SD and then converting to HD to see how you like it. If you don't, you can immediately perform the "Undo" function (Command +Z) on your keyboard to restore the conversion to its original state.