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Written by Jeremy Butler   
Friday, 03 November 2006
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Video-Capture Tutorial
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Processing Captures with QuickTime Pro

The Pro Version of QuickTime

Apple distributes a free QuickTime player--available from and pre-installed on many computers. You may have it on your computer and not even know it.

Apple also sells a "Pro" version of the QuickTime player. In our experience, this small, inexpensive (about $30, as of October 2006) program puts to shame many applications that cost hundreds of dollars. It's all students/teachers need to prepare digital video for the Web, CD-ROM, or classroom presentations.

Apple touts the advantages of the Pro version over the free version, three of which we will utilize to process our clips:

  • Import/Export media.
    Import and export video, audio and images from more than a dozen file formats, including the high-quality DV camcorder format and transcode from one format to another.
  • Do it yourself editing.
    Edit movies with the simplicity of cut, copy, and paste.
  • Prepare movies for streaming.
    Now you can prepare and compress streaming audio and video for web delivery.

[Tech Note for Nerds: All of the differences between QuickTime Pro and QuickTime Basic.]

[Tech Note for Nerds: An alternative to video processing with QuickTime.]

Import Media Into QuickTime Pro

  1. Open Windows Explorer or Mac Finder and locate the the AVI file you created with a Windows-based DV editor (NothingSacred.avi) or the iMovie DV file you created on a Mac (Clip 01).
  2. Drag the file from Explorer/Finder onto the QuickTime application icon on your desktop.

    Mac OS X Dock
  3. The file will open in a large, 740 pixels by 480 pixels window. Click here to view it full-sized in a new browser window.
    QuickTime Pro player
  4. By opening the AVI/iMovie file in QuickTime Pro you have effectively "imported media" into QuickTime Pro. You'll now be able to edit and process this "media" (medium?).

Do It Yourself Editing

The captured video must be trimmed as it contains extra material we do not need. This trimming is easily accomplished in QuickTime Pro through a simple cut-n-paste editing process.

(Apple has their own demonstration of this feature, but we've found it tends to crash Microsoft Internet Explorer.)

  1. The key to QuickTime Pro editing is understanding the slider--the bar near the bottom of the player.
    QuickTime Pro editing bar
    The slider indicates where you are in the clip and whether part of the clip has been selected for editing. In this example
    • The current location indicator (the black triangle above the bar) indicates that we are viewing the first frame of the clip--as it's positioned all the way to the left. As you watch a clip, it moves along the bar.
    • The gray section of the slider indicates that part of the clip has been selected for editing purposes.
    • The smaller triangles below the bar mark the beginning and ending of the selection--its "in marker" (start point) and "out marker" (stop point), in DV editing terms.
    • The time display of "00:00:20" signifies that 20 seconds have been selected.
  2. QuickTime Pro provides a variety of methods for selecting segments of clips.
    • Using the mouse, drag the in/out marker triangles to the start and stop points of the segment.
    • Holding down the shift key, use the arrow keys to move the markers.
    • Holding down the shift key while you play the clip will also select the segment you view.
  3. Once a segment is selected, you may cut, copy, and paste it just as in a word processor--using either the Edit menu or keyboard shortcuts. For fastest editing, it's best to learn the keyboard shortcuts, as are indicated in the Edit menu. (We've used a Mac OS X example here. Windows users should substitute the Control key for the Mac Command key: .)

    Make note of the editor's best friend:

    The Undo command: Command/Control-Z!

    If you make a change to a clip and you don't like it, you can undo it; but only if you don't make any other changes first. QuickTime Pro allows you to go back a single step and no more.
  4. Experiment with selecting segments until you feel comfortable with it. Then select the portion of the video you wish to delete and excise it.

    QuickTime tip: Selecting the portion you wish to keep and then selecting Trim will delete everything except that selection.

Final Preparation

The higher the quality of a digital video clip, the larger the QuickTime file will be. Our goal is to create reasonably good looking video and a moderately sized file. One could quibble endlessly about optimum settings, but we've found the following rule of thumb works well for most online situations.

For an alternative view, please see Ken Stone's "QuickTime Pro - QT Movies from Final Cut Pro," which proposes slightly different settings and illustrates the differences among them well.

  1. The final processing is done via the Export function. To begin, open the File menu and choose Export (Command/Control-E). The "Save Exported File As:" dialog box opens.
  2. From the Export drop-down menu, select "Movie to QuickTime Movie." (Apparently named by the Department of Redundancy Department.)
  3. Ignore the prefabricated settings in the "Use" drop-down menu and click on the Options button--revealing the "Movie Settings" dialog box. (Click here to open in a separate browser window in order to follow the next steps more easily.)

    (This illustration shows the settings after they've been modified.)
  4. Under Video, click the Settings button, revealing the "Compression Settings" dialog box.

    Here is where the crucial processing options are set. These settings determine how the enormous DV file we began with will be squeezed down to a manageable size.
  5. The settings we recommend are:
  6. Click OK to return to the "Movie Settings" dialog box.
  7. Click the Size button to reveal the Export Size Settings dialog box.

    Click Use Custom Size and set the width and height to 320 by 240.

    You may recall that our original DV file was 720 by 480. This new size will both cut the size of the image in half and change the aspect ratio from 1.5 to the proper 1.33.
  8. Under Sound, click the Settings button to reveal the Sound Settings dialog box.
  9. The settings we recommend are:
    • Compressor: Qualcomm PureVoice
    • Rate: 22.050 KHz
    • Size: 16 bit
    • Use: Mono
      • If your clip has distinctive stereo sound, you can choose Stereo, but it will significantly enlarge the size of the file.
  10. Click OK to return to the "Movie Settings" dialog box.
  11. Check Prepare for Internet Streaming. From the drop-down menu, choose "Fast Start - Compressed Header."
  12. Click OK to get back to the Save Exported File As dialog box. Give your file a name that ends with ".mov" (that's "period-m-o-v") and click Save.
  13. Wait, while QuickTime Pro compresses and otherwise processes your clip.
  14. Wait.
  15. Wait a bit more.
  16. Isn't this a slow process?
  17. The speed which which QuickTime Pro processes your video depends, mostly, upon the length of the clip, the compressor chosen, and the power of your computer. On our 500 mhz iMac, this 93-second Nothing Sacred clip took about 30 minutes to process.

Compression in Action

The chubby, 1,300-megabyte DV file we began with is now a slender 10-megabyte QuickTime file. Yes, it's 130 times smaller than the original! Now, we have a video clip we can incorporate into Web pages and CD-ROMs. See part 7 for details on how to accomplish this.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 February 2007 )
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