My First QuickTime

I’ve just upgraded my QuickTime software to QuickTime Pro and so I thought I’d experiment with producing a QuickTime movie and with publishing that movie through WordPress.

Now you might be wondering why I’m messing around with QuickTime when the rest of the world seems to have opted for Flash-based movie embedding via YouTube or Vimeo. I answer your query with a single word, quality. To my eyes QuickTime videos always seem to look better. They stream better. They exhibit less visible artifacts. Colours seem more vibrant. Frame rates seem to be higher (the videos seem smoother). So I’m adopting QuickTime as the de-facto video player for the Urban Mainframe.

Now I’m no movie producer so I figure the best way to start is to “borrow” an existing video, open it with QuickTime Pro and export it back out as a QuickTime movie. Obviously any video that I create can only be as good as the source material. So I picked out a high quality (and interesting) movie from YouTube and used that as my source.

After a little experimentation in trying to produce a video of the appropriate dimensions, I finally discovered that all I needed to do was to size the QuickTime player window to the dimensions I wanted to output the movie with (is there another way to do this - where I can explicitly scale to a maximum width for example?)

Then I chose “Export for Web…” from the “File” menu.

Which resulted in the Export dialogue.

And that was all there was to it really. After clicking the “Export” button, QuickTime Pro produced a folder containing all the files I needed to get my video online - including a “ReadMe” file with exact instructions as to how to proceed (which I promptly ignored).

I uploaded the movie folder onto my server and then did a little Googling to learn how to publish the QuickTime movie in a standards-compliant fashion.

Now the “ReadMe” file that QuickTime produced told me that I should use the following code:

<script type="text/javascript"><!--
QT_WritePoster_XHTML('Click to Play', 'physical_graffiti-poster.jpg',
'569', '336', '',
'controller', 'true',
'autoplay', 'true',
'bgcolor', 'black',
'scale', 'aspect');
<object width="569" height="336" classid="clsid:02BF25D5-8C17-4B23-BC80-D3488ABDDC6B" codebase="">
<param name="src" value="physical_graffiti-poster.jpg" />
<param name="href" value="" />
<param name="target" value="myself" />
<param name="controller" value="false" />
<param name="autoplay" value="false" />
<param name="scale" value="aspect" />
<embed width="569" height="336" type="video/quicktime" pluginspage=""

But that isn’t standards-compliant because of the “<embed>” tag. My Googling took me to an article promisingly titled, “Standards Compliant method to add Quicktime movies to pages,” which revealed that I could use the Flash Satay method.

To be honest, it all seemed like too much trouble. The light-bulb in my head suddenly lit brightly when I realised that the QuickTime “ReadMe” file already provided me with the answer. That little bit of JavaScript at the beginning of the code was all I needed. It would only work if JavaScript was enabled in the client browser but that’s a trade-off I’m willing to accept.

So my final code looks like this:

<script type="text/javascript"><!--
QT_WritePoster_XHTML('Click to Play', '/video/physical_graffiti/physical_graffiti-poster.jpg',
'569', '336', '',
'controller', 'true',
'autoplay', 'true',
'bgcolor', 'white',
'scale', 'aspect');
// -->
<noscript>Aw heck dude, you need to <a href="">enable JavaScript</a> and install the <a href="">QuickTime Player</a> if you want to watch this thrilling video!</noscript>

That’s all that’s needed! So I’m happy now - I can finally produce high-quality video and publish it on this site in a standards-compliant manner. Cool!

All I need to know now is this: does it work for you? Can you successfully watch the video at the beginning of this post? Please let me know in the comments if you encounter any problems or if you can see that I’m doing something fundamentally wrong here.

7 Reader Comments for “My First QuickTime”

  1. Looks perfect. And I couldn’t agree more. My company has a flash player that is used across most of our web properties… but for my own projects I’ve sort of gone against the grain and used quicktime embeds just like this.

    You can see we use it hevily at Disney Auditions.

    My reasoning: 1) I can stream an appropriate movie based on the client and connection speed, 2) the player controls are usable, but don’t distract from the content 3)I can very simply create and edit the poster image

    I’m a big fan of Quicktime embeds, and I’m going to stick with as long as I can.

    I’m sad that Apple doesn’t seem to put much effort into the scripting side of quicktime any more… I’m still holding out hope though :)

  2. Now I’m intrigued Rustin. In what way would you like to be able to script QuickTime? I’ve not even considered scripting it.

  3. Looks fine in Safari but the player window doesn’t show up in Firefox for me. Take a peek here to see what I mean.

  4. Thanks for the heads-up there Kevin. I’ve got it working in Firefox now but, for some reason, the quality of the video in Firefox on my computer is atrocious. This is going to need some further investigation.

    UPDATE: Oh no, the quality is terrible in Opera too. Anyone got any idea what I’m doing wrong?

  5. I had to disable adblock for it to show up, but it works just fine in Firefox 3 on XP.

  6. Thanks Jonathan, it now shows up fine with Firefox 3 (XP and Mac). Oh and with adblock still enabled ;-)

  7. That’s great guys. I’m still having problems here with both Firefox and Opera (Safari works beautifully). In those two browsers the video displays terrible artefacts, drops frames and just generally appears to be of an exceedingly low quality - and I can’t figure out why.

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