Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Get Even More Info about a QuickTime Movie

If you want to see lots and lots of information about a video QuickTime is playing try this:

1. Open the movie with QuickTime Player 7.
(I haven't tested this in "Quicktime Player" Quicktime X, because QTX isn't very feature rich to put it nicely.)
2. Click on the Finder in the dock or on your desktop so the Finder is the frontmost app.
3. Hit Command + Shift + U to open your Utilities folder. 
4. Launch AppleScript Editor. (really, it'll be okay)
5. Paste this into AppleScript Editor:

tell application "QuickTime Player 7" to get the properties of document frontmost

(you can probably change "QuickTime Player 7" to just "QuickTime Player" if you use QTX but I didn't test this)

6. Hit the "Run" button.

After a beat you should see something like this in the bottom pane:

{video brightness adjustment:0.0, name:"", play all frames:false, current node:missing value, id:5, max time loaded:4588979, resizable:normal, time:1288526, show detailed movie info window:false, natural dimensions:{1280, 544}, color table:missing value, default node:missing value, show sound controls:false, show video controls:false, show movie info window:false, class:document, show hot spots:false, preferred audio balance track:missing value, fast start:false, poster frame time:0, output muted:false, href:"", pan range:{0.0, 0.0}, selection duration:0, video contrast adjustment:0.0, current chapter:missing value, sound balance:0, audio volume:256, auto quit when done:false, savable:true, pan angle:0.0, time scale:600, presentation mode:normal, bass gain:0, tilt range:{0.0, 0.0}, scale:normal, treble gain:0, streaming status message:"", preferred audio gain track:missing value, playing:false, auto close when done:false, aperture:clean, auto play:false, video tint adjustment:0.0, controller type:standard, dimensions:{1280, 544}, duration:4588979, pan tilt speed:0.0, data size:0, field of view:0.0, play selection only:false, live stream:false, looping:false, current chapter track:{}, auto present:false, preferred rate:1.0, video color adjustment:1.0, path:"/Volumes/Hard Drive/Folder/", stored stream:false, index:1, modified:true, saveable:true, selection start:0, local playback:true, done:false, palindrome:false, current matrix:{{1.0, 0.0, 0.0}, {0.0, 1.0, 0.0}, {0.0, 0.0, 1.0}}, rate:0.0, tilt angle:0.0, language:"SystemDefault", preview:{0, 0}, streaming status code:0, presentation background color:{0, 0, 0}, selection:0, quit when done:false, close when done:false, data rate:0, original file:file "Hard", plugin settings:{}, display state:normal, field of view range:{0.0, 0.0}, zoom rate:0.0, load state:complete}

It's a mess but it's rife with information. I've been trying to figure out why a clip I have refuses to show the Data Rate in QT Player 7 (and other players) so I thought I'd try this and see if it was helpful.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Printing Scripts on both sides of the paper

I was emailed a script that I have an opportunity to work on but it's 50+ pages and because of some specific things in the script I need to print it out and make notes. Rather than print out 50 pages of something that's likely a ways off until it actually happens I decided to print the script out using both sides of the paper in my printer.

1. In the print dialog select Paper Handling.
2. Pages to Print = "Even Only"
3. Page Order = "Reverse"
4. Print.
5. Flip the printed pages over and put them back into the printer.
6. In the print dialog select Paper Handling (again).
7. Pages to Print = "Odd Only"
8. Page Order = "Normal" (not Automatic!)
9. Print.
10. Smile that you saved some percentage of a tree.

ProRes vs ProRes

For the record HP ProRes 1200 has nothing to do with Apple ProRes 4444.

A client just emailed me and it took me a second to realize what they were talking about.

Sorting by Date Created in the Log and Transfer Window

This one comes in handy when the client says something like, "I think he shot that around noon yesterday, I don't remember" and there are dozens of clips.

In the Log and Transfer window (Command + Shift + 8) right-click on the column bar at the top and select "Date Created".

Now, you're often at the mercy of the camera's internal clock, so if it's wrong you're out of luck but on occasion this can be pretty helpful. At least you can see the order things were shot in.

If you click on the newly created Date Created header you can sort and inverse-sort the times and dates shown.

Notice this footage came from THE FUTURE…

Final Cut Pro's Batch Export

Batch Export has been a lifesaver for an ongoing documentary I've been cutting. The project will likely last a few years as things are continually documented.

One neat thing about the project is that weekly it seems I'm handed some pretty old footage that no one's seen in years if ever, however much of it is on old videotape. VHS, Hi-8, Umatic, Betamax, etc… I never know what's going to be in the boxes I'm handed.

I load in the tapes usually at night when it's quiet so I can hear any tape crinkling up or snapping (some of these tapes are OLD, folks) or tearing inside since some long-dead bug crawled into it, died and stuck the tape together on the spindle. That was fun.

I just wanted to mention Final Cut Pro's Batch Export feature which I use a lot when as I do some preliminary organization of all this footage. There are two basic ways to use it:

Batch Exporting Sequences or Portions of Sequences

If you have several sequences with some stuff edited in them but only need to export portions of the timelines you can set In and Out points in the sequences and then in the Bin that contains the sequences, highlight the sequences and right-click and select Batch Export.

Batch Export (after you go through the various settings) will batch export only what's between the In and Out points of each sequence.

Things to keep in mind:

1. Make sure all your sequences in the Timeline are fully rendered.
2. In Batch Export's settings make sure to select "Use Item In/Out".
3. Make sure you've set Include Audio and Video and Make Movie Self-Contained according to your needs.
4. If you don't set In and Out points your entire sequence will be exported when you use Batch Export this way.

Batch Exporting Subclips

If you have more complexity when exporting things from FCP you can export subclips. It's not hard but there are a few gotchas to be aware of.

Basically, in the Timeline or Viewer set your In and Out points as usual and hit Command + U to make subclips. Name them something helpful to you.

Optional Step:

Once you have all the subclips you need to export, highlight them, then head to Modify > Remove Subclip Limits in the Menubar. This turns them into Master Clips and is a handy way to have more "handles" on subclips if the original subclip wasn't long enough or you want to tweak the In and Out points before Batch Exporting. It's not necessary for batch exporting them, however.

Select the bin containing them and right-click and select Batch Export.

Batch Export will export each subclip as a separate clip.

But what if you have a bunch of Markers set in a long video clip that you want to Batch Export? No Problem, it's in another post here.

Things to keep in mind:

1. Try and keep your subclips organized in one bin.
2. If you have your subclips in some order in your Timeline and want to retain that, drag them from there into a separate bin just to keep things organized and this allows you to highlight them all and export them separately simultaneously.
3. Select "Use Item In/Out".
4. Set Include Audio and Video and Make Movie Self-Contained according to your needs.

Improperly Ripped DVD's

There are two errors you may see when you try and play an improperly ripped DVD, an improperly ripped DVD disc image or an improperly ripped VIDEO_TS folder with Apple's DVD Player .app.

1. "There was a problem opening the media. The media type is not supported."

2. "DVD Player encountered an error it could not recover from The disc copy protection could not be verified. The disc cannot be played." (yes it's missing a period in the actual alert box)

The cause of these errors in my case is a client tried to rip one of their companies DVD's which has copy protection and didn't do it correctly. 

Since nothing really surprises me anymore I wasn't alarmed at all (just assumed it wouldn't work) when the DVD the client handed me (a DVD-R) had a .dmg of the DVD they were supposed to give me.

Stranger things have happened. So, On the DVD-R is a rip of the DVD they want me to pull footage from in the form of a .dmg file.

I mount the .dmg and even let it verify and see that it is at least a UDF volume, then, as expected, DVD Player fails to launch. It will play the intro company logos and things then tosses up error #2 up there when it tries to play the menu track.

I'm guessing one of three things happened.

1. They literally made a .dmg from their retail DVD without using a proper ripping tool.
2. They copied the VIDEO_TS folder from a retail disc to their desktop, then used something like Toast to burn it. Again, without using a proper ripping tool.
3. Ripped the DVD somehow and used some app to re-compress it to a DVD-5. And of course never tested the thing.

I'd place my money on #1 this time.

The only option to play it quickly is VLC at this point.

Calling the client (the actual person who contacted me to get this quickie job done for them, btw) and asking "This DVD image you gave me has issues playing. Any idea if I can get a retail version from you?" gets me this pass-the-buck-response, "I wouldn't know. Let me forward you." CLICK then an answering machine for their "media department".

Just for fun I tried copying the VIDEO_TS folder to my desktop and then playing it with DVD Player .app but it was wasn't happening. If I cared just a little bit more I would try ripping the mounted .dmg but I don't.

Luckily I can still use this method to get the few tiny clips they want for their project.