Configuring QuickTime Movie Settings

The settings available with the Export Using QuickTime Conversion command are identical to the settings you use when exporting movies from QuickTime Player (when registered as QuickTime Pro).

To view the settings available with the Export Using QuickTime Conversion command
  1. Select a clip or sequence, or open a sequence in the Timeline.

  2. Choose File > Export > Using QuickTime Conversion.

  3. In the dialog that appears, click Options.

    The Movie Settings dialog appears with video, sound, and Internet streaming options for the exported QuickTime movies.

QuickTime Movie Video Settings

You can choose the following settings for the video track of your exported QuickTime movie.

  • Settings: Click this to adjust the compression used to export your video track.
  • Filter: Click this to add and adjust additional video filters.
  • Size: Click here to set a size for the movie.
    Figure. Movie Settings dialog showing the Video area.

Standard Video Compression Settings

The Standard Video Compression Settings dialog appears when you click Settings in the Video area of the Movie Settings dialog. Depending on the codec you choose from the Compression Type pop-up menu, various options may be available, as explained below.

Figure. Standard Video Compression Settings dialog.
Standard Video Compression Setting Dialog
  • Compression Type: Select a codec from this pop-up menu to compress the video. All the standard QuickTime, Final Cut Pro, and third-party video codecs installed on your system are available.
Motion Area Options

The Motion area contains the following options:

  • Frame Rate: Define the frame rate of your exported movie. You should always match the frame rate of the clip or sequence you are exporting. If you want to convert your exported clip or sequence to a different frame rate while minimizing temporal artifacts, try using Compressor instead of the Export Using QuickTime Conversion command.
  • Key Frames: Key frames are available if your selected codec uses temporal compression. Most video frames in close proximity have a high percentage of visual redundancy. Compression key frames reduce data rate by only storing complete images at regular intervals or when abrupt visual shifts occur. The remaining frames only store information about the change, or delta, between themselves and the key frame. Increasing the number of frames between key frames increases the amount of compression and makes the final file size smaller.
    Figure. Diagram of a keyframe, followed by delta frames, followed by another key frame.

    Depending on the codec you use, the movie file’s quality, especially for clips and sequences with a lot of motion, may decrease if there are too few key frames specified. If there’s a lot of motion in your media file, you need key frames more often than you do with more static footage, such as an interview sequence. A setting of one key frame every ten frames is a good starting point.

    Some video codecs allow you to insert a key frame every certain number of frames, while other video codecs use natural key frames by scanning the whole file to detect where the major similarities and differences occur and inserting the key frames accordingly.

    • Automatic: QuickTime adds temporal compression key frames when necessary.
    • Every N frames: Temporal compression key frames are created every N frames. Because key frames require more data to store than the in-between frames, a higher value here results in a movie with a lower data rate.
    • All: A key frame is added on every frame. This increases the data rate of the movie significantly.
Data Rate Area options

The Data Rate Area contains the following options:

  • Automatic: The selected codec adjusts the data rate of your QuickTime video automatically.
  • Restrict to N kbits/sec: When available, you can use this field to set the number of kilobytes per second (KB/sec.) required to deliver your media file. This setting is useful if you have a specific bit rate (such as a DSL connection) or amount of space (on a DVD or CD ROM). You should choose a data rate that is appropriate for your delivery medium and set it as high as possible within your data limitations. When you set a data rate, you override other codec quality settings because the codec compresses the file as much as it needs to based on its data rate limit. Remember that the data rate is only for the video track of a media file. If your media file also contains audio, you must allow some space for that, too.
Compressor Area options

You can change the following options in the Compressor area:

  • Depth: Choose a color depth. Some codecs allow you to choose between color or grayscale, while others allow you to specify the number of colors (which corresponds to a bit depth), such as 4, 16, 256, or millions of colors (2-, 4-, and 24-bit, respectively). You can also specify an alpha channel for some codecs by choosing Millions of Colors+.
  • Quality: Adjust the slider for the level of spatial compression you want. Some codecs may not allow you to specify this setting.

    Depending on the codec you choose, other options may be available, such as scan mode (interlaced versus progressive) and aspect ratio. There may also be an Options button you can click to set additional codec-specific options.

Preview Area
  • Preview area: A preview image of the current frame of your clip or sequence is displayed here. When you adjust some compressor options, the preview image is updated so you can see how certain settings will affect your image.

Filter Settings

These options are available when you click Filter in the Video area of the Movie Settings dialog. QuickTime filters apply to your entire exported clip or sequence. This is different from applying a filter within Final Cut Pro, where a filter is applied only to selected clips or parts of a clip.

Figure. Filter Setting dialog showing a list of filters and filter options for making changes.
  • Load: Click here to use a filter you’ve saved, such as one used in an earlier project.
  • Save: Click here to save a filter’s settings, if you might use them again.

Export Size Settings

The Export Size Settings dialog appears when you click Size in the Video area of the Movie Settings dialog. When QuickTime 7.1 or later is installed, a large number of size, scaling, and aspect ratio options are available when you export your movie.

Figure. Export Size Settings dialog.
  • Dimensions: This pop-up menu allows you to define the clean aperture size of your exported QuickTime movie. For more information about QuickTime aperture modes, see About QuickTime Aperture Display Modes.

    Depending on the option you choose, width and height fields may also appear. The following options are available in the Dimensions pop-up menu:

    • Current: The current dimensions of your clip or sequence in the Viewer or Canvas, respectively. You should avoid this option in most cases because it’s difficult to set precise dimensions by scaling the Viewer or Canvas window. This option disables the “Preserve aspect ratio using” pop-up menu.
    • Compressor native: The native dimensions of the codec selected in the Compression Type pop-up menu of the Standard Video Compression Settings dialog. Not all codecs have native dimensions. In this case, the dimensions set in the Current option are used. DV, DVCPRO, and DVCPRO 50 have native NTSC and PAL dimensions of 720 x 480 and 720 x 576, respectively. IMX, DVCPRO HD, HDV, and XDCAM HD codecs also have native dimensions.
    • 640 x 480 VGA, 320 x 240 QVGA, 160 x 120: These are multiples of the VGA image dimensions with an aspect ratio of 4:3.
    • 352 x 288 CIF and 176 x 144 QCIF: These are multiples of the CIF image dimensions with an aspect ratio of 4:3 (assuming a nonsquare pixel aspect ratio). CIF and QCIF were originally designed for use in video conferencing and for compatibility with NTSC and PAL video.
    • 768 x 576 SD: PAL digital video dimensions (assuming square pixels) with an aspect ratio of 4:3.
    • 1280 x 720 HD and 1920 x 1080 HD: High definition video dimensions (assuming square pixels).
    • NTSC 720 x 480 4:3 and 16:9: Normal and anamorphic NTSC digital video for DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, and DVD MPEG-2.
    • NTSC 720 x 486 4:3 and 16:9: Normal and anamorphic NTSC digital video complying with the ITU-R BT. 601 specification.
    • PAL 720 x 576 4:3 and 16: Normal and anamorphic PAL digital video complying with the ITU-R BT. 601 specification.
    • HD 1280 x 720 16:9: 720-line high definition video dimensions.
    • HD 1440 x 1080 16:9: Subsampled 1080-line high definition video dimensions.
    • HD 1920 x 1080 16:9: Full-resolution 1080-line high definition video dimensions.
    • Custom: Allows you to enter any height and width you choose. This is useful when you need specific image dimensions or special aspect ratios such as 1.85 or 2.40.
  • Preserve Aspect Ratio: When the “Preserve aspect ratio using” checkbox is selected, the aspect ratio of your source movie is preserved by choosing one of three options. In the following examples, a 1280 x 720 (16:9) high definition sequence is shown scaled down to 320 x 240 (4:3).

    Important: These options do not take into account the effect of pixel aspect ratio when determining what aspect ratio to preserve. For example, if you are exporting a DVCPRO HD sequence (960 x 720), these options preserve the aspect ratio of the pixel dimensions, which is 4:3 (960720), not 16:9 as you would expect. For best results, always nest sequences with nonsquare pixels into a sequence format with square pixels. In this case, you could nest your DVCPRO HD sequence into a sequence with dimensions of 1280 x 720.

    Figuire. Canvas window showing a 1280 x 720 sequence that has a 16:9 aspect ratio.
    • Letterbox: Scales your clip or sequence video to fit proportionally in the clean aperture dimensions of your exported movie. Black bars are added on the top and bottom (letterboxed) or left and right (pillarboxed) as necessary.
      Figure. QuickTime Player window showing a frame with 16:9 aspect ratio letterboxed within a 320 x 240 frame size.
    • Crop: Scales and center-crops your clip or sequence video to fit in the clean aperture dimensions of your exported movie.
      Figure. QuickTime Player window showing a 16:9 frame cropped to a 320 x 240 frame size.
    • Fit within dimensions: Changes the shortest dimension of the exported movie (usually the height) so that the source sequence or clip fits within the exported movie dimensions when scaled. For example, if your sequence dimensions are 1280 x 720 (16:9) and the exported movie dimensions are 320 x 240 (4:3), the exported movie dimensions are changed to 320 x 180 (16:9) and the exported sequence is scaled to these dimensions. When the “Preserve aspect ratio using” checkbox is not selected, the sequence or clip video is stretched to fit the export movie size.
      Figure. QuickTime Player window showing a 16:9 frame within a 320 x 180 frame size.
  • Deinterlace Source Video: Select this checkbox to avoid artifacts when scaling interlaced video formats such as standard definition NTSC (480i), PAL (576i), or 1080i video.

QuickTime Movie Sound Settings

Click Settings in the Sound area of the Movie Settings dialog to choose an audio format, number of channels, sample rate, and additional settings. Depending on the format you choose from the Format pop-up menu, additional settings may be available.

Figure. Movie Settings dialog showing the Sound area.

Important: If there is no audio in your clip or sequence, deselect the Sound checkbox in the Movie Settings dialog. Otherwise, blank audio tracks are created in your QuickTime movie file, which require additional space.

Figure. Sound Settings dialog.
  • Format: To reduce file size and download bandwidth, choose a codec to compress the audio tracks. If you’re outputting full-resolution audio, choose Linear PCM.
  • Channels: Select Mono, Stereo (L R), or 2 Discrete Channels. If you’re delivering material for the Internet, you may want to choose Mono because it cuts your audio file size in half. Some formats support additional channel configurations.
  • Rate: Choose a standard sample rate from the pop-up menu or enter a value to specify the output rate for the audio. Lower sample rates take less bandwidth but have lower quality.
    • 8–22.225 kHz: These lower sample rates are used mainly for multimedia and web movies to reduce file size.
    • 32 kHz: A lower-quality sample rate often used on consumer DV camcorders. This option isn’t particularly useful for exporting unless you specifically need to make a file that is compatible with a 32 kHz device.
    • 44.1 kHz: This is the sample rate of music CDs.
    • 48 kHz: Most digital video formats use this sample rate.
    • 96 kHz: This sample rate is common in professional audio and music production.
    • 192 kHz: This sample rate is typically used by high-end audio mastering facilities.
  • Show Advanced Settings: Select this checkbox to set additional options, if the selected audio format supports this.
  • Render Settings—Quality: If your sequence or clip sample rate doesn’t match your export sample rate, this pop-up menu appears. You can choose from several quality options.
  • Linear PCM Settings: These options are only available when you choose Linear PCM from the Format pop-up menu.
    • Sample size: Choose a bit depth for your audio samples. For most situations, 16-bit audio is the minimum bit depth you should choose, but sometimes 8-bit audio is useful when creating small, low-quality movies for the web. If you choose 32-bit, you have the option of using integer or floating-point values. You can also choose 64-bit, but only if the Floating Point checkbox is selected.
    • Little Endian: This refers to the way audio data bytes are ordered. Little endian byte ordering is used when creating Windows-compatible WAVE files. Big endian order is used when creating AIFF files.
    • Floating Point: This option affects how the bits of each sample are used to represent audio amplitudes. Floating point is available with 32-bit audio, and required when using 64-bit audio.
    • Unsigned: This option is automatically turned on when exporting 8-bit WAVE files.

Internet Streaming Settings

If you’re outputting QuickTime files for streaming over the Internet, there are three format options in the Movie Settings dialog.

Important: If you are not exporting a QuickTime movie for web distribution, make sure you deselect the Prepare for Internet Streaming checkbox in the Movie Settings dialog.

Figure. Movie Settings dialog showing the Prepare for Internet Streaming area.
  • Fast Start: The QuickTime movie is downloaded the same way as any other graphics or media file. Once enough of the movie has downloaded, the movie begins to play automatically.
  • Fast Start—Compressed Header: This works the same way as Fast Start, except that the header information is compressed, so the movie takes up less disk space. The person downloading the file must have QuickTime 3.0 or later.
  • Hinted Streaming: If the movie will be hosted with QuickTime Streaming Server software, it begins playing within a few seconds after access. “Hinting” a QuickTime movie is the process of defining how it’s divided into streamable pieces and storing that information as a special track within your QuickTime file.

    If you’re not sure you want this option or don’t want to do this now, you can do this later by importing your QuickTime file into QuickTime Player Pro and applying hinting there.

    If you choose Hinted Streaming, click Settings to specify additional export settings.

    • Make Movie Self-Contained: Select this checkbox to export a QuickTime movie with all video, audio, and render material contained in one file. Leave this checkbox unselected to export a reference movie, which is a small movie that contains pointers to audio and render files located elsewhere. For more information, see Choosing the Type of QuickTime Movie to Export.
    • Optimize Hints For Server: Select this checkbox to analyze your movie and create hinting information that can be used to stream your movie on the Internet using QuickTime Streaming Server.
  • Track Hinter Settings: Click this to specify options for encoding and packets.
    • RTP Payload Encodings: Choose the type of encoding to use.
    • Packet Size Limit: Enter a value or choose an option from the pop-up menu to specify the largest file size for a packet.
    • Packet Duration Limit: Enter a value or choose an option from the pop-up menu to specify the longest duration for a packet.
    • Options: Click here to specify the sample description. In the QuickTime Settings dialog, enter a value in the Interval field to specify the time interval for the sample. Then specify the number of packets to send and how often to send them.