January 97

January 28

The QuickTime VR team has released a beta version of the QuickTime VR XTRA for Macromedia Director 5.0 or greater. You can get it at the QuickTime VR Developer Tools page. The XTRA is a little easier to use than the XCMD that had to be used previously, but a good deal of Lingo scripting is still required.

There's a demo version of ObjectDancer 1.0 on Paceworks' software page; see Little QuickTime Page, 1/21/97 for more info about ObjectDancer.

Astarte has a new beta (1.0b4) of their MPEG Exporter (AME), which lets you export any QuickTime file as MPEG using MoviePlayer.

Also, there is an Apple press release about the release of the QuickTime MPEG extension. There is also a note about some minor problems with the installation of the MPEG extension on the MacFixIt page; do a Find for "MPEG".

On the video conferencing front, Apple has a new beta of the QuickTime TV client software for watching web broadcasts; get more info and download it at the QTTV Client page. Connectix has released a new beta of their QuickTime Conferencing-based VideoPhone 2.0 software; it'll expire on Monday, February 24th, 1997.

Adobe has two plug-ins for MP (multiprocessor) Macs that speed some operations in Premiere and AfterEffects. The Premiere MP Plug-in 1.0.1 is in Adobe's premiere/mac/4.x/plugins directory; you want the premp files. The After Effects version is in their aftereffects/mac/3.x/ directory; get adobemp files.

January 21

Apple last week released the final 1.0 version of the QuickTime MPEG extension for the MacOS, which lets QuickTime play back MPEG movies. This release (available at the Apple software page) also includes a new version of MoviePlayer 2.5.1 and its plug-ins (Authoring Extras and Goodies); the only difference in MoviePlayer we knowof is the ability to make an MPEG movie play back at a higher quality (by removing blacklining); read the ReadMe.

There's an update to the Apple Video Software (the software that comes with AV Macs and includes the Apple Video Player); this version (1.5.1) is newer than what comes with System 7.6. Get the Video Software at an Apple ftp site (look for Video_SW_Install)

System 7.6 (to be released this week) includes QuickTime 2.5. The SoundManager is now built into the system itself rather than being a separate extension. (One less file to keep track of!). Apple's got lots of info about 7.6, if you're interested.

There is a new beta version of the PNG importer from Sam Bushell. PNG (Portable Network Graphics; pronounced "ping") is a new graphics format to replace GIF; Read about it and get it at Bushell's PNG page. (We mentioned it on 12/9/96, too.)

Also to follow up on a few things: Paceworks has shipped Object Dancer 1.0 (see Little QT page 11/11/96 and a review we wrote for NetProfessional). The Xclaim VR card (which we mentioned 8/12/96) is available for about $300; MacFixIt is tracking some problems with the XClaim VR software.

Use MoviePlayer to composite two movies side-by-side, or as a picture-in-a-picture.

January 14

The new and exciting stuff at Macworld last week was mostly QuickTime VR-related:

Apple showed off QuickTime VR 2.0, which should be out by the end of the month. The most significant aspect of 2.0 is that it now has an API (Application Programming Interface) which allows programmers to program QuickTime VR into their applications more easily, which means we should be seeing many more applications this year that produce QTVR files or have unique control of QTVR playback. In addition, QuickTime VR 2.0 will also be a system extension that will let most programs that view QuickTime movies view QuickTime VR scenes.

There are also various other additions to QTVR. QTVR movies will have a "control strip" interface for panning, zooming and hot spot identification. Object movies can now have hot spots, and the user can zoom in on objects. Panoramas can contain 3D objects, animation or other QuickTime movies, as well as directional sound. Panoramas and objects can now be linked in a single file--an authoring tool is no longer needed to view an entire scenes of linked panoramas and objects. Budget conscious producers will be happy to hear that the price of the QTVR Authoring Tools Suite has been reduced by $100, and that less memory is required for stitching. For more information about these and other features, read Apple's press release on QuickTime VR 2.0.

Along with the QTVR 2.0 announcement, Apple also announced agreements with other VR-related companies. Be Here has a really cool (and expensive) camera lens system which lets you take one picture for an entire VR panorama. Check out BeHere's web site for more info. eVox Productions, a QuickTime VR service bureau, has a CD-ROM called ClipVR, which is basically VR clip art, with a tool for compositing panoramic images using various terrains, skies, and objects from the CD. eVox's web site has info about pricing and availability. And OLiVR, a high-end desktop virtual reality company, whose products previously competed with QuickTime VR, also announced that their patented compression and streaming technologies will be availabe to QuickTime VR 2.0; there will be a cost to developers but not to users. Read more at OLiVR's web site.

January 6 - Welcome to the New Year

There's a new beta-release of the Software MPEG extension version 1.0f1 at Apple's QuickTime beta software page. (More info at 12/9/96 Little QuickTime Page.) This beta expires on Feburary 1st. Ted Landau's MacFixIt page has a report about some minor potential problems (see the Friday January 3rd listing).

Astarte has a beta of their Astarte MPEG Exporter (AME). This little (under 260k) system extension allows you to use the Export menu option in MoviePlayer to create an MPEG-1 movie from a standard QuickTime movie. There are some limitations; read the Readme. (Warning: exporting as MPEG can take a long time, and you won't always get great results, particularly with a highly compressed original QuickTime movie.)

On December 9, we mentioned that VideoCD chapter lists could be displayed on the standard controller. (A chapter list is a pop-up menu that can be used to jump to specific points in a movie.) Now, you can create chapter lists for your own movies. Chapter List Maker is a tool which will let you take any existing QuickTime movie with a sound and/or video track plus a text track and build a chapter list. It runs only on a PowerPC Mac. There is no documention for the software; however, this week's How-To covers how to use it.

Bravado and Targa users: If you haven't checked in a few months, there are some relatively new versions of the software you need to use any of Truevision's video cards, available from Truevision's ftp site.

There's also a new version (1.1) of the Avid Cinema software and it's at an Apple ftp site.

Terran's web site, which already has lots of useful info about QuickTime, has been updated with the addition of a tutorial on making QuickTime movies.

Judy and Robert

Use the new utility Chapter List Maker, to make a chapter list for a QuickTime movie.