Customizing Your QuickTime Movies

One of the most powerful editing features in QuickTime Player is not very obvious?the Movie Properties tool. The tool is somewhat hidden by being placed on the Movie menu, rather than on the Edit menu where it belongs.

To open the tool, choose Movie, Get Movie Properties (or press graphics/symbol.gif+J). The Movie Properties tool will appear, and at first, you might not be too impressed (see Figure 17.8).

Figure 17.8. Hidden under a rather plain interface is one of the most powerful parts of the QuickTime Player.


The tool has two pop-up menus at the top of the window. From the left pop-up menu, you choose the element with which you want to work. If you open the menu, you will see Movie, which enables you to work with the movie as a whole, and a listing of each track in the movie (such as Video Track and Sound Track). From the right pop-up menu, you choose the aspect of that element that you want to learn more about or that you want to change. The information to view or the controls you can use appear in the lower pane of the window.

The Movie Properties tool is very powerful, and it can help you with many tasks. Although I don't have room to cover it in all its detail in this chapter, a few examples will help you understand how it works. You can explore on your own from there.


You can use the Movie selection in the left pop-up menu to control various aspects of the movie itself. For example, you can set the movie to play automatically when it is opened by choosing Auto Play on the right pop-up menu and checking the "Auto Play Enabled" check box. And, you can use the Controller option to choose a different movie controller (or to display no controller at all).

Changing the Size of a Movie

You can use Movie Properties to change many aspects of a movie's appearance, including its size and orientation. This is important for many reasons. For example, if your viewer will be using a different monitor resolution than that on which you originally created the movie (its "Normal" Size), your movie might not fit on the viewer's screen, or it might appear in postage stamp size.

  1. Open the movie you want to change and choose Movie, Get Movie Properties. The Movie Properties tool will open.

  2. Choose the Video Track from the left pop-up menu.

  3. Choose Size from the right pop-up menu (see Figure 17.9).

    Figure 17.9. You can change the size of a movie by using the Size command for the Video Track.


    The lower part of the window will now show controls you can use to resize the movie as well as change its orientation.

  4. Click Adjust. The movie window will have resizing handles you can use to change the movie's size (see Figure 17.10). Drag the handle in any corner of the window to resize the movie. As you move the handles, the size shown in the Properties window will be updated.

    Figure 17.10. You can use the resize handles and other tools in the Movie Properties dialog box to change the size and orientation of the movie.


  5. Click the Rotation tool in the center of the window and drag to rotate the image.

  6. Click and drag the Skew tools on each side of the movie to skew it in either direction.


    You can "flip" the image horizontally, vertically, counterclockwise, or clockwise using the buttons at the bottom of the Movie Properties window.

  7. After the size and orientation are correct, click Done.

  8. Save your movie.

The next time the movie is opened, it will be at the size you set it (the size you set becomes the movie's Normal size).

As you saw in Figure 17.9, there are many other choices for the Video Track. Take some time to explore them.

Changing the Volume of a Movie's Soundtrack

There are also many controls you can use to manipulate a movie's soundtrack. They work similarly to the tools you can use for the video track. As an example, you can change the volume of any soundtrack as well as adjust its balance. You might want to do this to change the relative balance of different soundtracks when you have more than one in the same movie. You can make the background music quieter and narration louder, for example.

  1. Open the movie and then the Movie Properties tool.

  2. Choose Sound Track you want to change from the left pop-up menu and open the right pop-up menu (see Figure 17.11).

    Figure 17.11. You can see that there are also many tools you can use to work with a movie's soundtrack.



    If you have more than one soundtrack in a movie, you can select each one to work with them individually.

  3. Choose Volume from the right pop-up menu. The window will contain controls that enable you to change the volume levels of the soundtrack (see Figure 17.12).

    Figure 17.12. Using these volume controls is a matter of setting the various levels by dragging in the bars.


  4. Drag in the Volume bar to change the relative volume level of the track.


    If you increase the volume over the default "100" reading, the bar turns red to show that you have "overloaded" the volume level.

  5. Adjust the bass and treble levels using the Bass and Treble bars; they work just like the Volume bar (just drag in the bar to set the level).

  6. Change the balance of the soundtrack using the Balance slider in the lower-right corner of the window.

  7. Play the movie to see whether the levels you set are appropriate. When the movie plays, you can see the relative volume levels for the various sound frequencies in the Equalizer area of the window.

  8. Save the movie.

As with the video tools, there are many more soundtrack tools you can explore to make the most of your movie's soundtracks.


If you have a Text or other type of track, you will see controls for that specific kind of track as well. They work similarly to the controls for the video track and soundtracks.

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