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Digital Still Cameras for QuickTime Movies, Part Two
Pages: 1, 2

Exporting from iMovie back to QuickTime for publishing

Once you have your movie looking and sounding the way you want, it's time to export it back to QuickTime so you can upload it to the Web.



In iMovie, click on "File" and select "Export Movie." In the Export drop-down box, choose "To QuickTime." In the Format drop-down box, select "Expert." This will give you a new dialogue screen.

In the "Image Settings" area, set your movie size to 320 x 240. These are the best dimensions for serving your movie on iTools Web pages. If you're serving your movie somewhere else, set the dimensions to best suit your needs.

  Using Expert configuration for Export

When sending your movie back to QuickTime, use the Expert configuration for Export with these settings.

 

Then click on the "Settings" button to reveal another dialog screen. Here's where you'll choose your compressor and frame rate. If you want QuickTime 4 users to be able to see your movie, use the "Sorenson" compressor. It's not quite as good as the Sorenson 3 compressor, but S3 can only be viewed by QT 5 players and plug-ins.

Use the "Medium" setting for Quality. "High" is wonderful, but the file sizes are too big.

As for the frame rate, type in 7.5 fps. Why that oddball number? Well, most digital still cameras capture video at 15 fps. The file size would be too big for the Web at that high frame rate, so you want to choose a rate that's half that speed. By the same token, if the original capture is 12 fps, then export the video at 6 fps for Web serving.

Leave "Key Frames" and "Data Rate" blank, then click OK and turn your attention to "Audio Settings."

Now click he "Settings" button in the Audio area, and choose "QDesign Music 2" for your audio compressor. Use 22.050 and mono for your Khz and channel settings.

Now all you have to do is check the "Prepare for Internet" box, and select "Standard Web Server" from the drop-down menu. Click "OK," then hit the "Export" button, grab a cup of coffee, and when you get back you will have an edited, compressed movie ready for Web publishing.

By the way, the "Prepare for Internet" feature is very important, so don't overlook it. This is where "Fast Start" is added to your movie that allows it to start streaming before download is completed -- a very user-friendly function.

Publish your movie on the Web

In Mac OS X, return to the Finder, click on "Go" at the top of the screen, and select "iDisk." Make sure you have a live Internet connection before doing this. Once your iDisk is mounted, open it and place your new video in the "Movie" directory.

Open your Web browser, log on to iTools, and go to the HomePage area. Create a new iMovie page that links to your video in the iDisk folder and publish it. If you want your iMovie page to appear as your mac.com home page, be sure to select it as the default page by moving it to the top of the list. Now send out the URL to your friends and family -- http://homepage.mac.com/yourname -- and remind them that they need to have QuickTime loaded on their computers to watch the movie.

Note to PC users: QuickTime 5 for Windows is wonderful, and it sports lots of interface improvements that look almost identical to the Mac. It's free, so encourage your friends who have PCs to set aside 20 minutes to get their computers up to date with QT5.

You can add more videos to your iDisk Movie folder, and toggle between them by changing the setting in the HomePage editor.

If you need the highest quality output ...

Here's a nifty trick if you want to maintain the highest quality throughout the production process. I usually go this route when creating movies to be distributed on CD-ROMs instead of the Web.

Instead of exporting your QuickTime video clips to iMovie, then bringing them back to QT, perform all of your editing in QuickTime Pro. You can still use iMovie to add the audio.

Here are the steps I recommend for maintaining the highest quality of video. Remember, you need QuickTime Pro to accomplish this.

  1. Extract the audio track from each clip and save as a separate file: use "Edit" --> "Extract Tracks ...".
  2. Trim each clip so that you only have the segment you want to use in your final movie: "Edit" --> "Trim."
  3. Assemble your trimmed clips using the "Add" command: "Edit" --> "Add."
  4. Save your movie as a self-contained .mov file.
  5. Export the movie as "Streaming DV," as outlined earlier in this article. (You're creating this video as a "place holder" to use while laying down the audio tracks. Once you have the audio the way you want, you'll pull it apart from this temporary video track and add it to the native QT video.)
  6. Open the exported file in iMovie and create the audio track(s).
  7. Export the completed iMovie file back to QuickTime.
  8. Open your export file in QuickTime and extract the audio track you created in iMovie.
  9. Copy and Add the audio track to your original high quality QuickTime file.
  10. Save the QuickTime movie. This is your master file.
  11. Export your master to the specs needed for your final use of the movie.
  12. Enjoy!

Final thoughts

It's amazing the things we can create with a $500 digital camera and Mac OS X. If you're primarily a still photographer, but want to shoot the occasional short movie, there's really no need to spend another $1,000 for a DV camcorder.

Your digital camera most likely captures images at 2 megapixels or higher, so it's a versatile still camera. DV camcorders can also record still images, but the typical resolution is 720 x 480 -- a far cry from even 1.3 megapixel still cameras.

Then there's the portability factor. Why lug around both a video camcorder and a still camera when you only need one?

I hope you have a chance to experiment with some of the techniques I've covered in this two-part series. Please share your experiences, and your questions in the Talk Back section below. I prefer to respond in the public forums where others can follow than in private.

Happy shooting!

Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit www.thedigitalstory.com.


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