Archive for Quicktime

Lost your Quicktime export options?

If you updated to the latest version of Quicktime you lost some of your export options like Sorenson (You take the good with the bad with the beneficent dictatorship that is Apple UI design). To get it back…

  1. Go to System Preferences on the Mac or Control Panel on Windows
  2. Click on Quicktime
  3. Click the Advanced Tab
  4. Check Show Legacy Encoders 

Thanks Brandon

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Apple Sample Code: QTKitTimeCode

Apple posted some sample code demonstrating how to extract timecode from Quicktime files using the objective-c based QTKit only dropping down into the low level C API when “absolutely required”.

I’ve found myself deep into the Quicktime API before and the modernization of the Quicktime architecture can’t come too soon. Unfortunately, digging deeper into the sample code, it’s clear that it’s going to be slow-sledding before we get NSString *timeCodeTime = [movie tcTime]; or some such. Anyway, it’s good to have this info from the definitive source, it’s taken a bit of research to find before now.

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Reading Quicktime Timecode in After Effects Redux: A Solution

When we were last talking about reading timecode from FCP sourced Quicktime’s I followed a tangent into Spotlight and other OS X technologies. Well, recently I revisited this problem for another project I’m working on and I think I’ve got a working solution for reading embedded timecode in After Effects on OS X.

timecodereader is a command-line utility that takes a path from After Effects via system.callSystem() and returns either the embedded timecode or the string . Right now the included .JSX script just writes that information to the console, but there are a lot of cool uses for Quicktime timecode in productivity scripts.

How to Use timecodereader

Download the zip archive, and either compile a new binary from the included XCode project or move the already compiled binary from build/release to a local binary directory. Since this is a command line tool you will want to move it to a location in your Path statement so you can use system.callSystem(“timecodereader ” + String(thisItem.mainSource.file))” instead of system.callSystem(“/path/to/timecodereader ” + String(thisItem.mainSource.file)) .

Update 09-09-2006: Lloyd Alvarez points out at aenhancers that AE preferers ~/bin/timecodereader when we set up as below. I’ve adjusted the enclosed script.

In the default Bash shell

export PATH="$PATH:~/bin"
echo 'PATH="$PATH:~/bin"' >> .profile

will setup a path to bin in your User directory. Move the enclosed script to your Scripts folder, select a Quicktime file in the Project window and we’re done.

When I run the script, I get these results (The 1:00:00:00 timecode is due to the fact that I’m using writeln to write to the console so the previous lines scroll up until they are out of view).

After Effects Project Window with Quicktime selected
After Effects Info Window with timecode displayed

I’ve tried timecodereader with quite a few Quicktime’s but obviously there might be a few that aren’t handled well, so consider this a beta release. The compiled binary is a universal binary so it should work on both PowerPC and Intel platforms. One gotcha, is that if you have a codec that is not compiled for the supported platform you might get a dyld returns 2 log message that might futz with your script. You can either work around it via string handling or remove the codec since it won’t work anyway. You’ll need to turn on Allow Scripts to Write Files and Access Network and turn off Enable JavaSript Debugger so we can eat the errors.

timecodereader requires After Effects 7, and OS X 10.4+

Updated file: 09.09.2006

Fixed a problem with external Hard Drives and Mounted Volumes. After Effects does not add /Volumes/ to drive paths like OS X, so /Volumes/MyHardDriveName is reported as /MyHardDriveNameI’m basically checking all mount points and adding /Volumes when appropriate, unfortunately the response is a bit slower if you have disk images or a lot of volumes mounted. If anybody knows anything faster send it my way.

Also. I’m using metadata checks for to check whether the file is a quicktime file. This only works on volumes that are indexed, so it might not work on mounted server volumes. I can add alternative QT detection if anybody finds it useful or necessary.

Zip Archive of Binary, Script and XCode Project

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Kona 10bit RGB/Trillions+ with Endian Option producing black frames?

Update 9/11/2006 6:20PMI said I’d update this post when updated drivers were available, and it looks like the 8/29/2006 drivers from AJA have addressed this issue. Download them here.

Update 8/19/2006 2:50PM OK. It appears that downgrading the codec to version 1.2 fixes the issue. Run the uninstaller, and grab the 1.2 codecs at Aja’s site. I’m going to leave this up for any future Google searches and I’ll update it when there is an upgraded codec. Thanks to Evan on this one.

I’m running into a problem with Kona 10bit RGB output with trillions+ that I’m hoping somebody might be able to help with since I’m on a really tight deadline. I’ve been happily producing 10 bit RGB quicktimes with trillions + option for weeks now. I bought several new machines that have introduced a new endian option in the compressor options like so…

big endian option

This is what all of our older machines with the same version of OSX, Quicktime and Kona drivers look like…

no big endian option

All of the Quicktimes we produce from the computers with the endian option produce black frames no matter what combination we use when trillions+ is selected. I’m aware of endian issues with the new Intel Macs vs G5 Macs, but I can’t seem to produce a working combination and like I said all software is up to date on all machines. I’m guessing a firmware issue or something. I’m hoping somebody has a working workaround and can send a comment or email to dale(at)creative-workflow-hacks(dot)com. Normally, I’d just go through tech support options, but my deadline is pressing. Thanks folks.

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Stupid Scripting Tricks: Import every Quicktime available

Here’s a fun one. Run this script and it will import every Quicktime on your hard drive or mounted server that After Effects understands. Stupidest hack ever, right? Well yeah, but there is some real gold in this line of the script

mdfind 'kMDItemKind == "QuickTime Movie"'

mdfind is the command line version of Apple’s spotlight technology. Combined with the new Quicktime metadata API and system.callSystem() there’s a lot for a hungry developer to chew on.

The script, osX 10.4(Tiger) and After Effects 7 only (I know, I know)

var myProject = app.project;

var osString = "mdfind 'kMDItemKind == "QuickTime Movie"' | wc -l" ;
var numberOfQTs = system.callSystem(osString);
//After Effects seems to choke when I feed it more than 41 items at a time, so let's use sed to give it 40 to chew on at a time
for(x=1; x < numberOfQTs; x = x + 40){
	var osString = "mdfind 'kMDItemKind == "QuickTime Movie"' | sed -n '" + x + ", " + ( x + 40) + "p'";
	var systemCall = system.callSystem(osString);
	var movArray= systemCall.split("\n");

	for(y=0; y < movArray.length; y++){	
				var my_io = new ImportOptions(new File( movArray[y]));
				var myItem = myProject.importFile(my_io);
				//eat errors

And the downloadable version

followup 5/4/2006 2:30P EST:

So, most folks working in motion graphics have a lot of quicktimes on their system and don't necessarily want to take a long time to import all of them into an After Effects project as a proof of concept ( I told you this was a Stupid Scripting Trick). Therefore, here's a version that imports the first 20 of them with head -n 20 to act as a proof of concept for you busy people .

Here ya go:

You'll need to turn on Allow Scripts to Write Files and Access Network and turn off Enable JavaSript Debugger so we can eat the errors. As in anything that allows write access to your file system, be careful in experimenting with this script.

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