About the Preview Window

When you use the Preview window to compare the original version of the clip with the version that will be output, you can make and view real-time changes. This comparison lets you check the effects of settings on your file before spending time and resources transcoding it. Do this to check the quality of the output media file.

Figure. Preview window showing original version of the clip and the processed version of the clip.

You can also use the Preview window to enlarge the Preview screen size, manually add I-frames (MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 only), and designate a portion of your media file for transcoding using the In and Out markers.

The Preview window allows you to play batch items before submitting them for transcoding and allows you to compare versions of your clip to ensure that the quality of the output media file is acceptable.

Figure. Preview window showing all of the controls.

The Preview window contains the following items.

Batch Item Selection Control Area

You can use the batch item selection area to choose specific items from the Batch window to show in the Preview window.

Figure. Batch Item selection buttons and Batch Item pop-up menu.
  • Batch Item selection buttons: Use these buttons to click backward or forward through the list of source media files and clips with settings available for previewing. As you click through the list, the selected batch item appears in the batch item pop-up menu.

In and Out Controls

Once you have selected the batch item, the In and Out controls can be used to see and adjust the In and Out point timecode information.

Figure. In and Out controls.
  • In and Out timecode fields: The exact locations of the In and Out points are displayed here using the standard timecode format of hh:mm:ss:ff. You can manually edit these fields by selecting the field and entering new values. If a new value is entered, the timeline’s relevant In or Out point moves to the specified point in the current batch item.

    Note: If your source media file has a timecode track with a specific timecode, the Start and End timecode of the clip will appear in both the In and Out timecode fields. For everything else, the timecode will start with 00:00:00:00.

  • In and Out Point buttons: Drag the In point (right-pointing arrow) or Out point (left-pointing arrow) buttons in the timeline to set a new In or Out point. You can also use the Set In and Set Out buttons (next to the timecode fields) to set In and Out points.

Preview Screen Area

The Preview screen area displays the currently selected batch item.

Figure. Preview screen area.

The Preview screen also contains the following items.

  • Split screen slider: Drag the split screen slider any distance across the top of the Preview screen to get a comparison view between the source media file (left side) and output media file (right side). In addition to the location of the slider at the top, the screen division is indicated by a vertical white line bisecting the image.
  • Cropping boundary: The cropping boundary is only available in Source view. Use the handles to drag the red boundary edges and corners in the direction you want to crop your output media file. Use the center handle to drag the entire frame in any direction while still maintaining its dimensions. The new values (for left, top, right, and bottom) appear dynamically in the Preview screen as you crop the frame. If you also have the Inspector window open with the batch’s target selected, you can see the same values changing in the cropping fields of the Geometry pane. Select the Output view to show the results of the crop boundary settings.

Timeline Controls

The timeline controls provide information about the clip, including any markers it has and the current In and Out point settings. You can also use the timeline to position the playhead to a specific frame and set the In and Out points.

Figure. Timeline controls.
  • Playhead timecode: Shows the timecode of the playhead’s position in the timeline using the standard timecode format of hh:mm:ss:ff. You can enter a new value to precisely position the playhead along the timeline.

    Note: If your source media file has a timecode track with a specific timecode, the timecode of the clip will appear in the playback timecode field. For everything else, the timecode will start with 00:00:00:00.

  • In and Out points: Use these if you want to transcode only a section of your source media file, rather than the whole thing. Drag the points to indicate the Start and End points within the source media file that you want to transcode. The In and Out timecode fields at the bottom of the Preview window update as you drag these points. (You can also click the Set In Point or Set Out Point buttons to set the points to wherever the playhead is currently positioned.)

    In and Out points are not preserved after a transcode has been completed, so if you want to resubmit a batch from the History table, you need to reapply these points to your clip. In and Out points are assigned to the source media file rather than the setting, so whatever In and Out points you create will be the same for all other settings related to that source media file in the current batch.

  • Playhead: Gives you a visual indication of where the displayed frame is located within the clip. You can drag the playhead to navigate quickly to a specific location within the clip.
  • Marker: Gives you a visual indication of where a marker has been placed in the clip. The color of the marker indicates its type:
    • Blue: Compression markers (These are compression markers that you add manually.)
    • Purple: Chapter or Podcast markers (These are named markers that are intended to be navigational chapter stops or visual artwork in the output media file.)
    • Green: Edit/cut markers (These are compression markers that are added automatically at edit points in the Final Cut Pro sequence.)

    See Adding Markers to a Clip for more information.

Transport Controls

These move the playhead backward or forward to the exact position of the next marker or In and Out point, making it easy to navigate quickly between existing markers. You can also use these buttons to quickly move the playhead to the start or end of the clip.

Figure. Transport controls.
  • Play/Pause button: Starts or stops playback of the clip. If you stop playback, the playhead remains at its current position. To return to the start of the clip, you need to drag the playhead back to the beginning or click the “move to previous marker” control.
  • “Move to previous marker” or “Move to next marker” buttons: Moves the playhead to the previous or next marker, or to the start or end of the clip if no more markers are present.
  • Fast Backward and Fast Forward buttons: Allow you to play your clip in either direction at twice the normal speed. Hold down a button to continue scanning in either direction.
  • Playback Loop button: Click to play the media in a continuous loop.

Marker Pop-Up Menu

Use the Marker pop-up menu to manage the clip’s markers. While you can use markers with all settings, they actually affect only the output file when the setting uses the MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 when configured for podcasting, H.264 for DVD Studio Pro, H.264 for Apple Devices, or QuickTime Movie output file formats. See Adding Markers to a Clip for more information.

Figure. Marker pop-up menu.

Choose items from the Marker pop-up menu to add, remove, show, hide, and edit markers and poster frames.

  • Import Chapter List: Opens a file import dialog that allows you to import a file containing a list of chapter marker times for the source media file. See Adding Chapter or Podcast Markers to a Clip for more information.
  • Add/Remove marker: Actual state depends on whether or not the playhead is positioned on a marker.
    • When the playhead is not positioned on a marker: Choosing “Add marker” places a new marker on the timeline at the playhead’s current position.
    • When the playhead is positioned on a marker: Choosing “Remove marker” deletes the current marker.
  • Edit: Available only when the playhead is positioned on a marker. Choosing Edit opens a dialog for configuring the marker. The dialog allows you to set the marker type and assign a URL and an image to it. See Adding Chapter or Podcast Markers to a Clip for more information.
  • Show Chapter/Podcast Markers: Controls whether chapter and podcast markers (those with names) are shown in the timeline. A checkmark indicates they are shown.
  • Show Compression Markers: Controls whether compression markers (those without names) are shown in the timeline. A checkmark indicates they are shown.
  • Show Edit/Cut Markers: Controls whether markers automatically placed at each edit point by another application, such as Final Cut Pro, are shown in the timeline. A checkmark indicates they are shown.
  • Set poster frame: Choose this item to make the current frame the poster frame. A poster frame is a still image that represents a video or audio media file or a podcast chapter in applications such as iTunes and the Finder. By default, the first frame in a video file is the poster frame.
  • Go to poster frame: Moves the playhead to the poster frame.
  • Clear poster frame: Deletes the poster frame marker.