5 secrets of QuickTime Player 10


5 secrets of QuickTime Player 10
Mac Tip #472, 02 February 2011

QuickTime Player 10 can record videos, but it’s not really obvious that you can also: choose the quality of the video, trim unwanted footage off the ends, find information about the video, record audio or your computer’s screen. This Tip shows you how to find and use the hidden information and settings.

Record audio or your computer screen

Star in your own short movies showed how to record movies with the Mac’s built-in iSight camera. But that’s just one recording option. Look under the File menu to see you can also record audio or your computer’s screen. Future Tips will go into details for those options.

The Movie Controller

The Movie Controller gives you a lot of options for movie recording and playback.

Quicktime Movie Controller.

Quicktime Movie Controller.

  1. From the File menu choose New Movie Recording. The movie window appears with a Controller in the lower portion.
  2. Click the downward pointing arrow at the right-hand end of the Controller. A drop-down menu appears offering options for the camera input device, the microphone input device, the quality of the movie and the location to save movies to. Use these options for the following instructions.

How to choose a quality for the movie

You may record your movie in Medium, High or Maximum quality.

The higher the quality the higher the file size of the finished movie and the longer it will take to transmit.

I recorded 3 brief movies, one at each quality. 2 of the movies were 6 seconds long, the other 10 seconds. That’s very brief.

Here’s how the file size and image quality compared:

  1. Medium: 320×240 pixels, 250 Kb, 2 channels audio, 6 seconds.
  2. High: 640×480 pixels, 600 Kb, 2 channels audio, 6 seconds.
  3. Maximum: 640×480 pixels, 202 Mb, Stereo audio, 10 seconds.

Although the Maximum quality video is 4 seconds longer the file size is also more than 300 times that of the High quality video.

Choose the quality according to your intended purpose. Unless you really need extremely high quality, I’d suggest sticking with Medium or High.

How to choose where to save the movie

By default QuickTime Player 10 saves movies into the Movies folder. Choose a different location if you prefer from the Save to section of the Controller menu. Click Choose… and from the standard dialog box that appears select your preferred destination.

How to Trim a movie

Trimming is easy. See How to Trim a Movie with Quicktime Player 10 for full details. In brief:

  1. Open a previously recorded movie.
  2. Choose Trim… from the Edit menu in Quicktime Player 10. A yellow box outlines the whole video in a section of thumbnails in a heads-up display at the bottom of the video.
  3. Drag the ends of the yellow selection box inwards.
  4. Click the yellow Trim button. Anything that is not selected is trimmed away.
Quicktime Movie Inspector.

Quicktime Movie Inspector.

How to see information about a movie

  1. Open a previously recorded movie.
  2. Choose Show Movie Inspector from the Window menu in Quicktime Player 10. A partly transparent dark grey window opens with white text that displays statistics and information about the movie.

QuickTime Player 10 has some hidden depth to it. Take a look for yourself.

Tell us in the Comments at the website what you do with QuickTime Player 10.

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7 Comments

  1. Jim O'Brien said:

    When I make a quicktime video recording, what is the best way to save in the highest quality (the original recording.) All the menu options seem to be “exporting” with associated transcoding, and, resolution loss. The video recordings made don’t show up in Finder; while making no change to defaults they don’t show up in the movies folder. I know if I simply say “close” it brings up a dialog box that doesn’t include keeping the video in the original quality, rather, only in transcoding output with associated delay (I just recorded a 20 min movie using the isight camera on my macbook pro and it says it’ll take 35 min to output it in 720p which is the highest resolution option, but the pixel count of the camera supports 1080 (1920×1080). Is there any way to keep original recordings without transcoding to save? Many thanks, Jim O’Brien

  2. Scott said:

    Hugh, you need “Soundflower” which is a free download. Set the app to output its sound to Soundflower, and set Quicktime to record its audio from Soundflower, and you’re all set. Remember to set things back to normal when you want to play it back, though.

    A different problem… with Lion, if you capture a screen recording and attempt to trim it, it looks like you can’t save the trimmed version. You can only “export” it which takes a very long time, and likely reduced the quality by altering the resolution.

  3. Hugh said:

    In Quicktime 10.1 on macBook Pro with Lion I can make an audio recording and play it back, but when I try to make a screen recording or a movie recording sound doesn’t get recorded. Any clue?

  4. KiwiGraham said:

    Thanks Miraz, I was aware that QuickTime had “hidden” abilities but it has always been my “to do” list to investigate further. I’m going to do so now, in particular to check if I can record the screen while running a Windows session under Parallels – which would be much easier than taking lots of static screen shots when trying to guide somebody via email.

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Thanks Graham. Please let us know how you get on with that.

      I happen to know you’re a Pro user, so I’d urge you to invest in Screenflow. I haven’t tried recording Windows with it, but I’m pretty sure it would. Screenflow lets you add captions, insert images and do a whole heap of other useful things that Quicktime’s screen capture just doesn’t allow. I use Screenflow to make all my MacTips movies.

  5. RB said:

    FYI this hyper link at the end of your 5 secrets of QuickTime Player ten:
    “Thanks for reading. Please remember to tell your friends about MacTips. Subscribe for regular Tips.”
    Takes me to the comments section instead of the subscription section.
    I have submitted the request for a subscription via the links at the top of the story.
    Just an FYI.
    Thanks for the great site, I look forward to reading more in the future.

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Thanks RB. I need to look at that bit more closely and improve it. I appreciate the bug report.

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