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Multimedia Publishing Help
QuickTime Pro 6

Fast Links


This page is designed to help you with some of the basic and not-so-basic tasks in QT Pro 6.  For additional help, use the Apple site or I recommend the QuickTime for the Web Developer Series of books published by Apple (the cost of the book includes a license for QT Pro).

Table of Contents

The following topics are addressed in this page:

QuickTime  Pro is the cheapest, simplest way to play, create and edit streaming movies, sound and other media content for both Windows and Macintosh computers.  QuickTime is the free player that is available on the web from Apple.    QuickTime Pro differs significantly.  QuickTime Pro is included in the free download but requires a registration key to unlock its editing and developing suite of tools and features.  QT Pro enables the user to change file formats (such as converting an .avi file to .mov), compress media files, and add layers to a media document (such as adding a soundtrack to a jpeg or video).  Along with the player, QT Pro also adds a Picture Viewer which can change file formats (jpeg, gif, png, pict, tga and tiff).   QuickTime proprietary files end with the .mov file extension.

QT Pro is currently in version 6 (as of 10/07/02).

QuickTime Pro can be used for many of the steps in preparing media for the web.  It cannot digitize media from analog VHS or cassette tape. SO your media must already be in digital format (for example an audio file on a CD or an mp3 file or something you recorded on the computer yourself.

But once you have your media in digital format, QuickTime Pro can be used to do minor edits, to add extra tracks (such as audio to video), to self-contain, to compress (Within certain constraints), and to hint the media before putting it on a server.  If you do not understand any of these steps, please read the Introduction to Digital Audio and Video web page before proceeding.

Although some steps in processing media for the web can be combined when using other software packages with QuickTime, the workflow is nominally:

1. Edit (including adding tracks, timing and sizing the media)
2. Self-contain (makes the tracks ready for the browser plug-in)
3. Compress
4. Hint



The screen shots used in this tutorial are from a Macintosh computer.  The dialog boxes and pull-down menus will vary slightly on a Windows machine.  For example, the pull-down menus on a Macintosh are always in the upper right of the desktop but the pull-down menus on a Windows platform are actually on the QuickTime Player.  Although they may look slightly different, the content of all the pull-down menus and dialog boxes will be the same.




The QuickTime Player Interface



Setting the QuickTime Preferences


Very, Very Important

Before starting to use QuickTime Pro, be sure to set your preferences!

Pull down the Edit menu. Select Preferences. Select General.

At the bottom (the last option), select Open Movie in New Player, click ok.

Now whenever you open a movie, it will automatically open in a new player,  Any other movies you have been using will stay open in the background.  This allows you to take a track from one movie and to another.




How Do I Make a QT File?


There are two ways to get your media into the QuickTime file format.

  1. Use a software that allows you to save your media as a QuickTime movie. For example, SoundEdit 16, Bias Peak, and Final Cut Pro can all save as .mov files.
  2. Import or convert your media into QuickTime. Converting can be done with the fil types supported by QuickTime. If your file won’t open this way, try importing it.  

Helpful hint: on a Windows machine be sure to look for all files not just movie files.

To convert media:


  1. Open the QuickTime Player.
  2. Select Import from the File pull-down menu.
  3. Select Convert.





Save your media file. I recommend you change the name assigned by the computer to a title that will be meaningful to you. Be sure to add the .mov file extension.

 Adding the file extension name precludes future cross-platform problems. I also recommend that you save all the files you will be using together so that you can find them more easily.





QuickTime Formats


QuickTime is capable of opening or importing the following formats:


(Video for Windows)

Flash (Macromedia  Animation Format) MOV (QuickTime format) BMP (Bitmap format for still images) Targa 
(Still Image format)
(Digital Video)
TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)
MPEG (Motion Pictures Expert Group) AIFF 
(Audio Interchange File format)
(Audio Basic)
Karoke (Music, Video and Synchronized Text format) MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) MP3 (MPEG 1 Layer  3- compressed music format) WAV (Audio for Windows)
(.txt files)
(Joint Photographic Experts Group)


(Graphics Interchange Format)
SDP (Session Description Protocol-for live broadcast) PNG (Portable network graphics, still image) Sound Designer II

QuickTime can also be used to change the format of files.  If you have saved a file as the wrong type (a photo as a .gif), it can be opened in QuickTime Pro and exported as the correct file type (.jpeg).

QuickTime can export in these formats:

(1X, 2X CD-ROM or animation)
BMP DV Stream (NTSC or PAL) FLC (animation format) Hinted Movies 
(can optimize hints)
Image Sequence (BMP, JPEG, Picture or Targa, 25 or 19.97 fps)
JPEG (compressed or uncompressed) PNG MPEG 4* (Motion Picture Experts Group  4) QuickTime Media Link QuickTime Movie (Compressed)  

*Until recently, if web developers wanted to provide media content that could be used in multiple media players, they had to author the content in three separate processes and maintain the multiple media files on their servers. With the MPEG 4  standard, developers can  author once and have their media  play anywhere. And since the MPEG-4 standard can be used in other digital devices (i.e., cell phones and PDAs) that same content can extend the reach of your media.

Helpful Hint
Whenever you save, you should use the save as option.  This saves you from over-writing a file by mistake and allows you to self-contain the file.  For the file to be used on the web, it must be self-contained. Self-containing makes the file independent of the software that created it and makes it usable by a browser plug-in. If the file is not self-contained, the client computer will save the file to disk instead of playing it.  

Saving and Self-Containing a File




1.      Select Save as from the File pull-down menu.

2.      Select  Make movie self-contained option.

3.      Rename the file and add the .mov file extension. Adding the extension now saves future cross-platform problems.

4.  Click on Save.





Helpful Hint
You must rename the file, QT cannot replace the original file while it is in use.


Hinting and Compressing Your Media for Web Transmission


QuickTime Pro can compress your media file (i.e., audio, video, or text) once you have finished editing and self-containing it.  QuickTime Pro 6 has access to MPEG 4 compression/decompression algorithms.  This will yield outstanding file to quality ratio but can be played in only QuickTime 6 players.

If you use QT Pro to compress your files, you will also need to add a hint track.  The hint track is a small invisible track that the server sends first when a user requests your media file.  The hint track tells the client computer that the file will be opened using a browser plug-in, what the files size is and the preferred data transmission rate. One exception to this rule is that QuickTime VR and Flash tracks do not need hinting.


1. Open the QuickTime Player.

2. Open your QuickTime Movie file. Open Movie in New Player under the File pull -down menu. (If the movie has not been self-contained, do this now.)

3. In order to hint the media file, select Export... from the File pull-down menu which opens the dialog box at the right.




A. Save exported file as: myfile.mov

B. Export: Movie to QuickTime Movie

C. Use: Pull down the Default Settings and choose a Compression method.

D. Options: Click here for more control over the hinting process.



1. In the Save exported file as box, enter the name for your media file. Be sure to use a short title, no capital letters and no special characters.  Always put the file suffix (.mov) after the file name.

2. In the Export: pull-down menu, select Movie to QuickTime Movie. 

3. In the Use pull-down menu, select a setting (such as 40Kbps-voice-low motion).  Once a setting is selected, click on the Options button and the settings can be fine-tuned.  

(If the Movie has been compressed using a different program, such as Cleaner, then you should choose the default settings in this pull-down menu.)

4. Click on the Options button.

 5. A new dialog box will open.  At the bottom left of this box, there will be a pull down menu with three options:

Fast Start

Fast Start - Compressed Header

Hinted Streaming

Choose Hinted Streaming.

If you wish to change the frame rate or number of key frames, click on the Settings option. 

(To learn more about frame rate and key frames please see Compression 101.)





6. Frame rate, the periodicity of  key frames, and maximum data rate can be set in this dialog box.  The parameters will be limited by the codec (compression/decompression algorithm) chosen (e.g., Sorenson) in the previous dialog box.

When those three options are set, click OK.

7. When returned to the Movie Settings box (above) choose the Size option.






8. A new dialog box will open.  You can customize the size of your media clip here.  To get the best quality video with the smallest file size, it may become necessary to sacrifice frame size.  A 320 x 240 pixel media clip will require significantly less data than a 640 x 480  clip.  If your clip contains high motion, you may need to resize to 240 x 180 to keep the motion smooth and the final file size small. 

9. When returned to the Movie Settings box (above) choose Ok again.



10. The Save as dialog box should now be on the top of the desktop.  Give your movie a new name, set the destination folder and click Save.
Helpful Hint  
You must rename the file, QT cannot replace the original file while it is in use.


Working with QuickTime Tracks


Each element of a QuickTime movie (i.e., audio, video, or text) is contained in a separate track. You make a QuickTime movie by creating or adding tracks. These tracks point to the media you want to use. The media may be embedded in the file itself or point to another location (on a server).

Types of QuickTime Tracks

Movie track- Contains copyright information, annotations, and other general information about the media file.

Video track- Digital video, rendered 3D animation, or any other compiled image sequence (such as a slide show).

Audio Track- CD-quality audio

Music Track- MIDI music with QuickTime instrumentation

Text Track- Text imported into QuickTime for titles, subtitles, credits, notes, etc…

Chapter Track- A type of text track that divides the movie into chapters that can be indexed or linked.

Sprite Track- One or more small images which can be animated or programmed with certain behaviors. Useful for signs, symbols, games and effects.

Flash Track- Incorporates animation created in Macromedia Flash (a .swf file)

HREF Track-Text track containing interactive or automatic URL links.

Streaming Track- Contains a reference to a live broadcast that is being streamed from a server.

Hint Track- Contains information that allows a streaming server to deliver a media track as a real-time stream.


Checking and Manipulating QuickTime Tracks

  1. Open the QT Player
  2. Choose Get Movie Properties from the Movie pull-down menu.






  1. Pull down the left menu (called the Tracks menus) to see the list of tracks this media file contains.
  2. Select a track (such as audio), then click on the right menu (called the Properties menu) to see a list of the track’s properties. You can enable, disable, extract, and delete tracks through the Edit pull-down menu.



You can modify the tracks in a QuickTime media file you have created. However, if you pull a media file from the web, the author may have disabled this ability.

To modify tracks:

  1. Open a movie file in the QT Player.
  2. Choose Get Movie Properties from the Movie pull-down menu.
  3. Select Movie in the Tracks pull-down menu (on the top left of the small info window).





  1. In the Edit pull-down menu, you’ll see three options:
  2. Extract Tracks…

    Delete Tracks…

    Enable Tracks…

  3. Select a track (click on it) and choose Extract

A new untitled media file will be created with just that track.


If you want to delete a track, choose Delete Tracks… from the Edit pull-down menu. Enable Tracks… allows the author to temporarily enable or disable a track. Disabling a track merely hides it from the user; it can be restored by choosing Enable Tracks…

Adding an Audio Track-AV same length 


(Audio and Video same length)


  1. Open the QuickTime Player.
  2. Open the audio file you will be adding  (File, New Player, Open Movie in new player, then select the media file).
  3. To select the portion of the audio track you wish to copy, use the mouse to position the edit points (the small black right triangles on the time line).
  4.  Select Copy under the Edit pull-down menu.


  1. Open the video file (File, New Player, Open Movie, then select the media file).  Choose Select All from the Edit pull-down menu. (Apple + A on a Mac or Control + A on a Windows machine).
  2. Select Add from the Edit pull-down menu. 








Helpful Hint
  If the audio is longer than your video, the image area will change to gray after the video time sequence is over. So insure your audio and video is of the same length (exactly or add the video to the audio using Add scaled option under the pull-down menu (see directions below).

Adding an Audio Track, AV Different Lengths

(Audio and Video of different length or adding audio to a still image)


1. Open the QuickTime Player. Open or import your video or still image file. (If the video file is part of another media file, you must extract it first.) (File pull-down menu, Open Movie in a New Player or Import…)

2. Choose Select All from the Edit pull- down menu.

3. Select Copy from the Edit pull-down menu.






4. Select the audio file by clicking on that player. 

5. Choose Select All from the Edit pull-down menu.

6. Choose Add Scaled from the Edit pull-down menu. The video/still image expands to fill the sequence of the audio file.



Making Text Track Movies


Text tracks can caption a movie and, because they are searchable, text tracks also add interactivity. Text tracks can be created in any word processing software or utility, saved as a text file (.txt) and then imported into QuickTime Pro. Once created, text tracks can be synchronized to video or turned into chapters.

Creating a text track using the default time scale:

You will use a text utility or word processing software (Notepad, WordPad, Simple Text or MS Word) to type the text you’d like to use as a track in your media file. You will be using the Return or Enter key to separate the material you want in different frames. When done typing, save the file with the .txt file extension.

For example:

Welcome to QuickTime Pro!

Today well make a text movie.

A return separates each frame.

Frame duration is two seconds.


  1. Open a word processing software or text utility.
  2. Type the four lines listed above in italics or create four lines of your own text.
  3. Save the document using the Save as option under the File pull-down menu.
  4. A dialog box will appear. In the Save File as Type: pull down menu (usually near the bottom of the box), select Text. Rename the file with the .txt file extension. Click on Save.


  1. Open the QuickTime Player. Choose Import from the File pull-down menu. Select the text file you created and click on the Convert button.
  2. A Save dialog box will open, rename the file and choose the location where you would like it saved.
  3. Click on Save





A new QuickTime player will open with your text track in it. The default setting for each frame (the text separated by the line returns) is 2 second duration. The default look for the text will be white on a black background. These defaults can be changed.


Changing the text defaults
  1. Import your text as described above, but before clicking Save, choose the Options button. A new dialog box (Text Import Settings) will open.
  2. Click on the Options button. 













  1. After setting the Options, cllick OK to close the Text Import Settings box.
  2. Click Save to create the text-track movie.







The font, size, color and alignment of the text can be changed here, as well as the background color. Other options include:


Best-Fit Width and height Sets the movie height at 160 pixels and tall enough to fit the longest line of text.
Anti-Alias Smoothes the edges of fonts when enlarged.
Drop Shadow


Places a drop shadow behind the text.
Keyed Text Provides a transparent background (used for subtitles).
Don’t Auto-Scale


Use this if you want the text to remain the size defined even if the window is resized by the user.
Helpful Hint
I recommend a strong yellow shade for subtic and 18 pt font in bold.  Simple fonts are easier to read. Choose auto-fit width and height. You can always resize the subtitles through the Get Movie Properties option (see directions below).  

Specifying the Duration of Text Frames


If you want to synchronize your text to video or audio, you must generate the time commands in the text file before you import it into QuickTime. These commands control how long the text appears and how it will look in each frame.

To create a text track that specifies time sequence and appearance

  1. In a new document of a text utility or word processing software, type QTtext in curly-brackets as the first line of text. Then enter a line return (return). The command {QTtext} tells the QT player that the media file contains special commands rather than plain text.
  2. Using the time stamps and descriptors listed below, type in your text. Be sure to use the line return between frames and commands.
  3. Save the file with the .txt file extension.
  4. Open the QuickTime Player. Choose Import from the File pull-down menu. Select the text file you created and click on the Convert button.
  5. A Save dialog box will open, rename the file and choose the location where you would like it saved.
  6. A new QuickTime window will open with your text track in it.



Time Stamps

Before each line of text or frame, enter a time stamp value in square brackets. This command will indicate when the frame containing that line of text should end. The time command can precede the text on the same line, but like HTML codes, readability is improved with the addition of a line return between the command and the text. For example, a short text file would look like this:



Welcome to my QuickTime Lesson


Today, we will look at time-sequence text files.


These frames will last three seconds each.


Remember that final carriage return!



Helpful Hints: 
  1. Remember the line return after the final time stamp
  2. Close all the brackets 
  3. Insure your time codes have
    • three groups of two digits separated by colons
    • a final group of three digits separated by a period
    • example: [00:00:10.00]


Resizing the Text Track


Video and text tracks can be resized in QuickTime Pro. Resizing these tracks creates powerful opportunities to add layers, subtitles, or annotations to your media files. To follow along with this part of the tutorial, you should create a media file that has video and text tracks.  If you made one of the text track examples above, you could add a still image with the Add scaled option (under the Edit pull-down menu).  You would then have a media file with the text and video of the same length.

1. Open the QuickTime Player. Open or import your media file.  (File pull-down menu, Open Movie in a New Player or Import…)

2. Choose Get Movie Properties from the Movie pull- down menu.








4. Select Text from the Tracks pull-down menu on the upper left.

5. Select Size from the Properties menu on the right.

6. Click the Adjust button. 





6. The text track will now have red markings on it.  Use the red corners  to resize. Use the red circles  to skew.


Helpful Hint
Remember QT Pro has only one level of Undo. If you make a mistake, use the Undo option under the File pull-down menu.  If you try to fix it some other way you may have to quit and start over.



7. Move the text track around by grabbing it in the middle--watch out for those pesky skew circles.







8. Resize the text track using the red corners. Click Done when you have the text track  in place and sized.


Helpful Hint
You can scroll through the movie with the playhead to determine the suitability of placement and size throughout the file. Just remember to click on either the video frame or the Movie Properties box to switch between the two.



Using the Keyboard for More Control

QuickTime Player Secrets from the Apple Web site

  • Press the Return key or the spacebar to start and stop playback.

  • Double-click  on the movie window to begin playback; click once on a playing movie to stop.

  • Press Shift, then double-click on the window to play a movie backwards.

  • Click once on the left side of the speaker icon to turn off audio. Click once on the right side of the speaker icon to play audio at full volume.

  •  Control-click on the Play button to play a movie without sound.

  • Press  Command + 0 (Control + 0 for PCs) to play a movie at half size.  Command + 3 (Control + 3 for PCs) fills the screen. 








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Page last revised on Wednesday, October 16, 2002.