Feburary 97

February 25

Peter Hoddie, QuickTime engineer, showed off various QuickTime features at Macworld Tokyo. Some of what he showed will be available in QuickTime 3.0; other features may be available sooner. Get more details in a MacWeek article on QuickTime 3. There's also another report from the expo, at MacInTouch, that describes Peter's demo. We caution you, however, that neither report is completely accurate in terms of when various features will be available.

MotionWorks has released CameraMan 3.0, a screen recording utility. To our knowledge this is the only commercially supported screen recording application. You can read more about it at MotionWorks web site.

J. David Eisenberg has created an AVI to QuickTime Converter that can deal with some AVI files that Microsoft's AVI to QT Utility couldn't handle. Available as cvtmovie.sea.hqx at Eisenberg's ftp directory,this converter is PowerPC only and, to quote the readme, "has a user interface that is as crude as a cave painting", but if you're dealing with prehistoric technology like AVI it's worth a try. Make sure to read the ReadMe. You'll need to know how the AVI file was compressed (though you can guess, but if you guess wrong, the program will crash), and you'll probably also need the Windows Compressors extension that comes with Microsoft's AVI to QT Utility, both of which are available at a Microsoft ftp directory, in the vfw11.sit archive.

February 18

Iterated Systems just lowered the price of their ClearVideo codec, from $995 to $395. (This is the compressor; the decompressor, needed for playback, is free.) ClearVideo provides very low data rates, making it a great codec for web video. For an even better deal, if you own or are about to purchase Terran Interactive's Movie Cleaner Pro, you can get ClearVideo for $345. Get more info about Terran's deal at Terran's Clear Video page . If you don't own Movie Cleaner Pro (and aren't planning to), go to Iterated Systems ClearVideo ordering page , where you'll also find links to more info about ClearVideo.

Apple has released a number of new products about which you can read in Apple's overview press release. Noteworthy products for QuickTime users include the Power Macintosh 8600, PowerBook 3400 and the QuickTake 200.

The Power Macintosh 8600 is an update to the 8500, so it has built-in digitizing capabilities.When you want to add a higher-end digitizing card or memory (or any other card) you'll really like how easy it is to open the case, and add stuff. For more info, read the press release for the new Power Macs and/or visit the Apple Power Macintosh web site

The new PowerBook 3400 has many multimedia features built-in such as video out, a four speaker sound system, 6 or 12x CD-ROM, and fast on-board video with zooming capabilities to really show off your QuickTime movies. You can read the PowerBook 3400 press release and/or visit Apple's PowerBook web site.

The QuickTake 200 has video out, so it now serves as a video camera (not a camcorder!) as well as a still image camera. As long as you have the camera connected to the computer you can use it for videoconferencing, as well as for capturing QuickTime movies using any application that you normally use for video capture (Adobe Premiere, Apple Video Player, etc.) Read the QuickTake 200 press release and/or visit the Apple Imaging web site, cameras page.

How to add to a logo to a movie, making use of MoviePlayer's transparency features, as well as its abilities to move and resize video track images.

February 11

Terran has just released a beta version of RealMedia Cleaner Lite, which converts QuickTime files to the new RealMedia format from Progressive Networks (makers of RealAudio). RealMedia Cleaner Lite runs on PowerMacs only; the RealPlayer, which is required to play back RealMedia files containing video, is also PowerMac only. We recommend going to Terran's RealMedia announcement page where you'll find lots of good info as well as links to download the software. Also, it's interesting to note that the next version of Movie Cleaner Pro will be called Media Cleaner Pro, and will work on both QuickTime and RealMedia files.

If you have the QuickTime MPEG extension installed and then install System 7.6, the MPEG extension will not work; you'll get an error message on reboot reporting a problem with the Thread Manager. The problem is that System 7.6 installs version 2.1.3 of the Thread Manager; the MPEG extension installs and needs version 2.1.5. To fix the problem you'll need to reinstall the QuickTime MPEG software,which you'll find on the QuickTime Mac software page.

The Macintouch Home Page last week brought our attention to the Maction MPEG audio player, which plays MPEG audio, using QuickTime's new MPEG extension. Though you can play MPEG audio files using MoviePlayer, Maction's player provides a more extensive interface. Get it at Maction's web page, where you'll also find pointers to an MPEG audio encoder as well as another MPEG audio player.

For those having a tough time using the new QuickTime VR Xtra for Director (which we mentioned 2 weeks ago), you may want to go to David Halversen's QTVR download page where you can get XtraEzQTVR. This is essentially a simpler version of the QTVR Testbed director file.

February 4

There are a bunch of international versions of QuickTime 2.5 available at an Apple ftp site for new updates. You'll find them listed by letter codes: B (British), N (Dutch), FU (French-Universal), D (German), T (Italian), RO (Romanian), E (Spanish), S (Swedish).

Yves Piguet has a new version of GifBuilder (0.5). This is a freeware product for creating animated GIFs; you can use it to convert a QuickTime movie to an animated GIF. Get info on the new features and download GifBuilder at Piguet's GifBuilder web page.

A new version of MooVer is available; it's a $10 shareware tool for converting PICTs, PICS, or sound files to QuickTime. One advantage it has over ConvertToMovie is that it'll do batches. It also has an interesting subtitling feature, where it'll convert filenames or text from a separate file into text in a text track. Get it (version 1.42) at the MooVer information page.

There's a new shareware tool available for using QuickTime VR movies in Director. EasyQTVR is actually a movie-in-a-window that can play whatever QuickTime VR file you designate; almost no knowledge of Lingo is required to simply put up the movie. At Armchair Travel's web site, you can download a version that only lets you use QTVR clips up to 300 x 200 pixel and offers you no interactive control over the movie; when you pay a $39 shareware fee you get the ability to use any size movie as well as some interactive features (which do require some scripting.)

Apple has slashed prices on a number of A/V Macs:
The Power Macintosh 7600/132 has dropped by about $500 to about $1,800
The Power Macintosh 8500/150 is down $800 to around $2,200 .
The Power Macintosh 8500/180 is down $1,000 to $2,700.
And the Performa 6400 Video Editing Edition (with the Avid Cinema System) is down around $400 to about $2,300.
Check Apple's press release on the the price reductions.

How to create and add to your web page "streaming" QuickTime audio.