What do we want? Information.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
QuickTime player has long been a staple for playing a wide variety of multimedia content. QuickTime Pro, an extension of QuickTime player, has become a powerful tool for recording, performing basic edits and trans-coding media. To add to the mix of capabilities, Apple recently introduced a hybrid player, specifically for Snow Leopard users, called QuickTime Enhanced.
QuickTime Enhanced, a free upgrade to QuickTime player, features many of the tools that make QuickTime Pro a powerful utility. Among these are:
- Movie Recordings from an attached video device (web-cam, DV camera)
- Audio Recordings from an integrated or attached microphone
- Screen captures with audio
QuickTime Enhanced is only available on Apple computers running Snow Leopard (10.6) so PC and 10.5 users and below do not currently have access to the application. My initial tests of the screen recording capabilities reveal a basic yet capable screen capture utility. The resulting image quality is excellent and the output file (as an .m4v) is directly compatible with iTunes U. The normal preferences pane has been moved to each recording function where you now select recording source devices and other features.
Where QuickTime Enhanced lags a bit is with the new trim feature. The interface is a bit awkward (think iMovie 9) and precise control of the in and out points is difficult to achieve at the frame level. Overall, as a free upgrade, QuickTime Enhanced is a gift from Apple to Snow Leopard users - essentially replacing QuickTime Pro in most aspects.
For users relegated to non-compatible operating systems, QuickTime Pro is still a good buy. The list price is $29 - a worthy investment considering the application's capabilities. On the down side, Windows Media still requires an expensive plug-in for file conversion and the MPEG-2 add-in remains an extra $19. The advantages include the ability to trans-code many media formats, make basic edits and to combine multiple clips into a single file. Video and audio files can be exported to any QuickTime compatible format.
As a side note for those interested in simply playing back an esoteric media file, check out the cross-platform free VLC Player at http://www.videolan.org/
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