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QuickTime Player Basics

What is QuickTime Player?

QuickTime Player, also known as QuickTime X (pronounced QuickTime Ten) is a digital media playback and editing application. It is capable of both streaming media from the internet and playing locally available media files. You can also host your own video stream, capture audio and video or make screencasts using QuickTime X. In this tutorial, you will learn how to make a screen recording or screencast, capture video and audio, edit and export your finished product. You can find QuickTime Player by going to the Applications folder located on the dock of the Mac you are using. Please note that the Scratch Disk is the default location where the files you create with QuickTime X are stored on Hamilton lab computers. The default for personal computers is the Movies folder.

Importing a file

If you desire to carry out limited editing on an already existing media file on your computer or removable media in QuickTime X, simply double-click the file in the Finder. Since QuickTime is the default media application for Macs, it will automatically open. Alternatively, you may drag the file into an already open QuickTime window. You can also go to the File menu and select Open File.


This will bring up the Open dialog box.

Using the Open dialog box that comes up, navigate to the location of your file, select it and press the Open button.


Making a Screen Recording

To make a screen recording, click on File menu and select New Screen Recording in QuickTime. This will bring up the window below with a red Record button which you can click on to begin the process.

Clicking on the Record button will show you the following message:

Clicking on any part of the screen will begin the full screen capture process. However, if you wish to capture only a portion of your screen, simply hold down and drag your left mouse button and a placeholder will appear.

Resize the placeholder as you deem necessary to capture the portion of the screen you want. When you are done, click on Start Recording to begin capturing.


Capturing Video

To capture video using the iMac camera, such as for a video blog or vlog, simply go to the File menu and select New Movie Recording.


A window displaying a preview of the recording will appear, this way you can set the camera angle to where you want it.

To start recording, click on the Record button.


Editing Video

QuickTime X can function as a basic video editor. It can combine, split, trim and rotate clips. It can also alter the orientation of clips. Below is an overview of some of these functions.

Combining Clips

If you have two clips you would like to combine simply open the first clip with QuickTime X. After opening the clip, go to the Edit menu and select Add Clip to End. QuickTime will now display a timeline at the bottom of your screen.

It will also open a window where you can browse for the clip you wish to add. When you have located the second clip, click on Choose Media.


The clip will be added to your timeline. If you wish to rearrange the clip, for example you may have wanted the new clip to come before the original, simply click and drag the clip to your desired position on the timeline.


Trimming Clips

To trim a clip into a shorter piece of itself, open the clip in Quicktime X. Then go to the View menu and select Show Clips.

This action will bring up the Timeline. Double click the Timeline and a yellow outline will appear as well as sliders at both ends. Simply drag the sliders to the locations you want them and click Trim. The area you trimmed off will disappear from the timeline.


Splitting Clips

To split a clip into sections, open the clip in QuickTime X. Then go to the View menu and select Show Clips, just as with trimming clips.

This action will bring up the Timeline. Click on the Timeline and a yellow outline will appear. Then simply drag the playhead to the position on the video where you will be making the split.

NOTE: Double clicking the timeline will enter the trim mode. However, it's easy to return from trim mode by simply pressing the Cancel button.

Now go to the Edit Menu and select Split Clip.


Exporting Video

When you are done editing your video, QuickTime X gives you several options for exporting your finished product. You can choose to upload it onto an online video hosting service or you can save to your hard drive or removable media. To export to a local file, click on the File menu and select Export.

The Export dialog box allows you to specify the file name and format you would like your finished video to have. The default format is Mac and PC which will save your movie as a .mov at the original size of the video. However, you can choose different sizes from the options if you would like to. The iPod touch & iPhone 3GS or iPad, iPhone 4 & Apple TV formats will export as .m4v files.


To export your video to a different application or video hosting site using QuickTime X, click on the File Menu and then Share to select the application or website of your choice.


For instructions on streaming your video from the Web or Blackboard, please refer to the Streaming Video documentation.

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Last updated: September 26, 2018


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