I have some video in .dv format. It comes from old VHS digitalized. The quality is not good, they are spots of 30 seconds and each one has around 300MB. I have a new iMac with the last operating system. I have a lot of them and I have done some test in a couple to see the options.

If I click to one of the .dv it opens with QuickTime. If I file > export 720. It is saved to .mov and it have around 10MB or less. (remember from 300MB the original .dv). The quality seems the same.

If I import the .dv to iMovie and share > file > 720 and quality medium it is saved to .mp4 and it is around 40MB.

  • The original .dv with 300MB seem too big, specially when they do not have a good quality. Is it good to save it to .mov or .mp4, do I loose anything?

  • I do not see any difference of quality between QuickTime.mov 10MB or iMovie .mp4 40MB Why that difference of MB? is it a good option to save it to QuickTime just because it has less MB?

Thank you

  • Hi Nrc , Original and converted format we have major different in Memory size. Now we have 720 and 1080 High Definitions . The Different is Memory allocation was changed by Modern technology. mp4 Format is one of the good one. Jun 30, 2015 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


The DV format files are in a format designed in 1995, the compression of video has gotten, ahem, a bit better in the ensuing 20 years. That is why the file size looks so big. It is big.

.dv is a compressed format, but the audio remains uncompressed. What you need to do is go through the manual of the camcorder (usually available online) that shot the video (or something similar) and see what resolution it shot at.

Then you just convert the .dv file to an mp4 at the same bitrate and resolution and that will give you, probably, the best quality output. MPEG Streamclip and Handbrake should be able to do the conversion (if I recall correctly).

Or you can blow up the movie in Quicktime and choose the one that looks the best. It all depends on how much time you have to work on this.

  • I do not have the original camcorder that shot the video. I suppose that I have to choose the .mov as it is the smallest and it seems the same quality
    – Nrc
    Jul 1, 2015 at 11:25
  • You don't need the camcorder just it's specifications, which should be available online. that is all I was getting at. Jul 1, 2015 at 15:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .