QuickTimePro creating movies from frames

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1 Biochem QuickTimePro creating movies from frames Appleʼs QuickTime Pro is available on Macintosh and Windows platforms. The free version is downloadable from but can only be used to view movies, not create or alter them. The free version can be upgraded to the Pro version by purchasing an unlock key at a cost (~$30). The movie player is called QuickTime Player in either case. The Pro version is available on all DMC classroom computers, and usually found within Applications directory. Note: QuickTime Pro offers a variety of animations format and compression schemes. For the purpose of remaining cross platform coherent, that is to be able to place an animation within a PowerPoint presentation and have it run without changes on a Windows or Macintosh systems the only viable options are MPEG, animated GIF and AVI formats (the latter with the cinepack compression scheme only). - e - L01-QTPro-Exercise A: Making a simple movie The frames for this exercise are those you created with Rasmol in a previous exercise or frames created with PowerPoint from another Lab. If you want to practice without making frames you can download frames sets from the class website (Class Resources > Files for or Labs > Movie Frames) We shall name moviedir the directory containing the images (frames) 1) Click on the QuickTime Player icon within the Applications directory. 2) A new Untitled 1 movie window might appear 3) Click on the red x button to close the Untitled 1 window if it manifests itself. QuickTime Pro page 179

2 Biochem ) Menu File > Open Image Sequence. 5) Locate the moviedir directory on the desktop 6) Click on the first image (e.g. frame.0010.pict) 7) Click Open 8) Choose 6 frames per second in the next window Note: the frame rate chosen here can sometimes be changed later when the movie is saved depending on the selected format. 9) A new window labeled Untitled appears displaying the first frame. 10) Click the play > button ( ) to preview the movie. The button become ( ) while playing Note: at that point all the frames are loaded into the movie but they are not yet compiled into a single file. 11) Use the File > Export menu. This will activate a new window where decisions have to be made regarding the file format 12) At the top choose cromovie.mov in the Save As line prompt. Note the Where line where the movie will be saved (here it will be saved on the Desktop.) 13) Note that.mov will be added as a file name extension when you change the format in the next step from the current default. 14) Select Movie to QuickTime Movie within the pull-down list in Export at the bottom 15) IMPORTANT: Do not click Save yet QuickTime Pro page 180

3 Biochem ) Click on the Options button next to the Export line, this brings a window named Movie Settings (Figure A) 17) Click on Settings this opens the Compression Settings window a. Select Animation (Figure B) b. Keep (or change) Depth to Thousands of Colors (Figure C) c. Keep Quality to Medium (Figure C) d. Do not change anything else (Figure D) Note: this is where many of the settings are defined within a series of window control panels. This include frame rate depending on the chosen format. A B C D 18) Click OK 19) Back in the Movie Settings window click Size The sizes offered within the dimensions boxes are the size of the current Untitled window. If you have NOT resized the Untitled window this would be the size of the individual frames. You can verify this by canceling all these options, resizing the Untitled window and come back to this point. 20) Click OK within the Export Size Setting window 21) Click OK within the Movie Settings window 22) Click Save within the Save exported file as window The movie will be saved on the Desktop, or in the Where directory chosen during the Export process. - e - QuickTime Pro page 181

4 Biochem L01-QTPro-Exercise B: Getting movie information The movie we just made is a QuickTime movie. We had to make some decisions along the way such as the frame rate and the video settings were set to Animation along with other parameters. It may not be possible to remember all of this, but QuickTime (Pro) has a method to review the format and parameters of an existing movie. This may be useful to understand why a movie is not working properly or if you want to change the format of an existing movie. 1) Double click on movie we just made. This will open the movie in a player labeled with the movie name. 2) Menu Window > Show Movie Properties The new window contains information about the movie, which can have multiple tracks of video and sound. The pull-down menu at the bottom can be used to add comments and annotations. At this level a lot of options are available. For example clicking on the Presentation tab will show the panel contents where settings can be activated such as full-screen presentation upon opening, automatic quit after playing etc. 3) In the top section Click on Video Track 4) Click on Visual Settings on the middle tabs 5) Many options are available as well, for example to rotate or flip the movie. 6) Other more advanced options allow masking and such fancy far beyond the scope of these exercises. - e - QuickTime Pro page 182

5 Biochem L01-QTPro-Exercise C: Selecting a CODEC to be cross-platform compatible: exporting to AVI and MPEG-4 formats IMPORTANT INFORMATION: When we created the movie above we selected a CODEC named Animation but there are many more to choose from. CODEC stands for CODing and DECoding: when all the individual frames are combined together within a single movie, the images are compressed according to the algorithm of the CODEC, otherwise the movie would be too large. Some CODECs are more efficient or more suited to specific types of images. Most are software only, but some require an additional acceleration card within the computer and the movies would only play on computers equipped with a compatible card. Obviously this would be a bad choice if we are preparing a PowerPoint presentation to take with us at another location. Similarly not all CODECs are cross-platform, choosing a CODEC and file format that is common on Macintosh and Windows alleviates a LOT of headache later on when we want to present our animated slides. Computer politics have a lot to do with that in addition to the relative merit of each CODEC. For example, QuickTime was a common engine driving movies within PowerPoint on Macintosh and Windows (95, 98, 2000) until Microsoft decided to replace QuickTime on Windows platforms with Windows Media Player as the driving engine. Suddenly, many preexisting PowerPoint presentation lost their ability to be displayed on either Windows or Macintosh. Fortunately there are a few cross-platform solutions that allow us to prepare and show a PowerPoint presentation with animations on either type of computer. The movie engine doing the work within the PowerPoint presentation is QuickTime on a Macintosh and Windows Media Player on the most recent Windows platform. Those 2 systems share a few common formats and CODECs. We have found that there are essentially 3 solutions to be cross-platform between Windows and Macintosh for displaying animations within PowerPoint: 1) AVI animation with Cinepack CODEC 2) MPEG animation 3) Animated GIF QuickTime Pro is available on both platforms to create movies. The most flexible options are available when a movie is created in the QuickTime format e.g. frame rate, width/height ratio, and many other settings. It may be easier to first create a movie in the QuickTime format and later on save another copy to AVI or MPEG-4 format with the Export options from QuickTime QuickTime Pro page 183

6 Biochem Exporting to AVI format: 1) Open a movie with one of the following choices: a. File>Open Movie in New Player and open the movie created above. b. or re-open the series of frames with the menu File>Open Image Sequence 2) Menu: File > Export 3) Look at the Export line first and select Movie to AVI 4) Save As: verify or type the name cromovie.avi (.avi should be automatically proposed from the selected format.) 5) Click Options button on the Export line, this will bring the AVI Settings window 6) Click Settings (since there is no sound, sound options should be grayed out), this will bring the Compression Settings window. 7) Within in the Compression type top pulldown menu select the CODEC Cinepak this is important because Cinepak is a common CODEC between the QuickTime and AVI formats. The BMP option might work as well but movies would remain very large. 8) For the Depth keep Millions of Color or dowgrade to 256 if you know the system you will use the movie on does not support more colors. Most current PCs and Macs should allow the most colors. 9) For the Quality select Best (Note: even if you select Best the AVI movie will be much more fuzzy than the QuickTime version ) 10) For the Quality select Best (Note: even if you select Best the AVI movie will be much more fuzzy than the QuickTime Pro page 184

7 Biochem QuickTime version ) In the Frames per second select Custom from the pull-down menu and enter e.g. 4 if you want to change the frame rate you entered earlier. 11) Click OK in the Compression Settings window 12) Click OK in the AVI Settings window 13) Make sure the name ends with.avi, and not the Where (e.g. Desktop) in the Save exported file as window 14) Click Save Exporting to MPEG-4 format: MPEG is a cross-platform format and close to the format on a DVD. An MPEG movie inserted within a PowerPoint presentation on a Macintosh will play seamlessly on a PC and vice-versa. The VMD molecular graphics package creates MPEG movies automatically, here we will learn a method to create an MPEG movie with QuicTime Pro. There are various MPEG formats: MPEG-1 was the first incarnation and is the format created by VMD. MPEG-2 is a format most suited for TV and forces the aspect ratio of the final movie file to be either 4:3 or 16:9. The MPEG-2 option within QuickTime Pro might be available on the BNMC computers, however it is not a standard QuickTime Pro option and is activated only in conjunction with Appleʼs DVD Studio Pro and may not be available to you if you purchase QuickTime Pro. MPEG-3 has been abandoned as a video format, but has become the file format for compressed audio files known as MP3. MPEG-4 is based on QuickTime technology (according to Appleʼs site) and has many features, including the ability to keep the aspect ratio of your movie to the current format, an important feature. 1 open the existing movie cromvie.mov or reopen the frames that created it with the File>Open Image Sequence 2 Select the File > Export menu, this will open the Save exported file as window 3 At the bottom change the Export to Movie to MPEG-4 Note that the Save As: name file extension switches to.mp4 however this may not be recognized by PowerPoint of PC software as being an MPEG formatted file. Therefore: 4 Change the file extension to mpg 5 Save the new file on the Desktop QuickTime Pro page 185

8 Biochem Click Options on the Export line, this will open the MPEG-4 Settings window 7 Keep MPEG-4 Improved 8 The default Frames per second is 30 and can be adjusted at this time 9 Note that a limited number image size is available 10 The option Preserve the aspect ratio using: offers letterbox and crop and may result in a black background added to the movie. Notes on frame rate: Unlike QuickTime format, the MPEG format shows 30 frames per seconds (can vary from 24 to 30 as a function of the international video chosen). You can change 30 to 4 for example and observe the result: only 4 of the frames will show in the movie!!! Therefore to have a slower movie in MPEG format we would need to increase the number of files in the movie by duplicating (and renumbering) the frame series. 11 Click OK within the MPEG-4 Settings 12 Click Save within the Save exported file as window The movie should be exported and saved to the Desktop and have a QuickTime icon and an MPEG marking: Note: if you kept.mp4 the icon will have an MPG4 marking: 1 Exporting to other formats: The method is always about the same. Select a format and choose options. QuickTime Pro page 186

9 Biochem G is a format for mobile phones BMP is a bitmap format for PC, but has no or little compression and makes huge movie files QuickTimePro also offers options to save or the ipod and even for Windows Media. One very useful feature however is the ability to deconstruct a movie into a series of movie frames. Here we started with frames and made a movie, however there are many cases where you would not have the original frames, and this options allows you to recreate a movie from an existing movie, for example to make it shorter of adding specific annotations on the frames. Note: The absence of animated GIF option is most likely due to a licensing issue. - e - End of QuickTime Pro Exercises QuickTime Pro page 187

10 Biochem There are other video creating software available on both Macintosh and Windows. QuickTimePro has the advantage of being inexpensive and crossplatform. Free, cross-platform, Open-Source software such as GIMP (www.gimp.org) or ImageMagick (www.imagemagick.org) can be very useful, free solutions. Quick Notes on animated GIF files (not a QuickTime Pro subject): Animated GIF files can be created from GIMP or ImageMagick. Assuming we have series of frames called frames.xxx.pict as in our exercises above, the simple line ImageMagick line command will create an animated GIF file: convert frames.*.pict Myanimation.gif (special controls such as delay or geometry can be used to control the speed of size of the final file.) Animated GIF files can be useful if you absolutely need to show an animation at a conference where you cannot use your own computer. The advantage of an animated GIF file is that is becomes part of the actual PowerPoint file, unlike QuickTime, AVI, or MPEG movies that are only linked from inside PowerPoint and therefore need to be supplied in addition to the PowerPoint file. However, the newest versions of PowerPoint now have a new preferences setting to disallow the animations within an inserted GIF file, so it is no longer 100% sure that your animation will play in the end. However in the case where movies are not allowed, this is still your best bet. - e - Class notes QuickTime Pro page 188

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