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Preparing Video For The Web With QuickTime And Compressor

More and more we are delivering video for Internet viewing. Some presets work for some situations, some for others, but one preset does not work for all Internet needs. Let’s take a look at how to easily customize a finished QuickTime video for web use easily and without having to be an engineer.

If your video is originally HD we can size it down to 720 safely if it is no more than 3 or 4 minutes long. If it’s longer than that, or if you’re uploading to a situation that doesn’t allow a frame size that large, it’s easy to customize.


Method 1 - OS X 10.7 Finder

Click to highlight a QT movie file in the Finder. Right-click, or Control-click for the pop-up menu. At the bottom of that menu select “Encode Selected Video File”. Set the size to either 720 for short videos up to 3 or so minutes, or 480 for longer videos. Set “Encode For” to Greater Compatibility. Set the Destination as desired, and un-check the “Delete source files after processing” option. Click the Continue button.

OS X 10.7 Finder


Method 2 - QuickTime X

Open your QT movie in QuickTime X player, go to File > Export For Web, and check off which format you plan to be playing out to. 

  • Wi-Fi if it’s only going over a local WiFi network. 
  • Cellular if cell phones and tablets will be playing it. 
  • Broadband if it will be playing to a computer over a wired Internet service provider. 

Checking each box will make a separate file for each.

QuickTime X


Method 3 - QuickTime 7 Pro

Open your QT file in QT 7 Player if you have it left over from a previous installation of itself or Final Cut Studio. If it’s not in your Applications folder, look inside the Utilities sub-folder. Use Command-I to open the Inspector window, grab the bottom right corner and drag. Eye it up or read the “Current Size” value in the Inspector window until you reach the size you want. If this is a process you plan to do often, write down the frame dimensions. 

QuickTime 7 Pro 1


Go to the File menu, to Export and set the “Export:” menu to “Movie to QuickTime Movie”. Click the Options button and the Video Settings button. Then set “Compression Type” to H.264, Frame Rate to Current, Key Frames and Data Rate to Automatic, check Frame Reordering, and set the Quality slider to Medium. Encoding should be set to Best quality (Multi-pass). Finally, click OK. 

QuickTime 7 Pro 2


Click the Settings button for Sound and set the following: Format to AAC, Channels to Stereo if there is music, if not set to Mono, Rate to 24.000, Render Settings Quality to Normal, Encoding Strategy to Average, Target Bit Rate to 40, click OK.  

QuickTime 7 Pro 3


Check Prepare for Internet Streaming, set it to Fast Start, and click OK.


Method 4 - Compressor 4

Open your QT movie in Compressor. In the search field of the Settings window type in H.264 and find the “H.264 Full Res, low audio” preset, drag it onto your video in the jobs window. Highlight the setting in the jobs window, go to the Inspector, in the Encoder section (second button from left), click the Settings buttons for video and audio and set as in Method 3 above. Click on the Geometry section (second button from right), and in the Dimensions section set Frame Size appropriately.  

You can find a custom frame size by opening the file in QuickTime Player (any version) and using the resizing tips in Method 3 above to get specific frame size numbers. Click the Submit button.

If this is a setting you’re going to use over and over, with the inspector still open, click the “Save As” button, give it a name, and highlight it in the Settings window under the Custom folder. Go to the File menu, select “Create Droplet”. This gives you an icon in the Finder you can drag and drop files and folders full of files on to, and will automatically to the transcodes to the current settings you have.

Comrpessor 4


Conclusion

Preparing video for the web is always a balancing act. Depending on the size, duration, if audio is mono or stereo, and how much action is in the video. If you can’t get it down to required file sizes, you’ll need to shrink the frame size smaller.  

Additionally, if you’re adjusting the Quality slider for H.264 video as in Method 3 above, don’t be afraid to bring the slider down a little below the middle. You may have to experiment, but after a couple of tries, one of these methods will work out for you and will become very quick and easy to use over and over.


Ben Balser

Ben Balser | Articles by this author

Ben Balser studied educational psychology at Loyola University, and after retiring from a 20+ year IT career, now produces, consults, teaches, and rents equipment for media production as a full time job. As an Apple Certified Master Trainer, he ran the Louisiana Cajun Cutters FCP user group for 8 years, taught post-production at Louisiana State University and has lead their annual teen filmmaking bootcamp. He teaches currently for AATC facilities across the USA and for The Orchard Solutions. He has consulted for higher education, government, broadcast and private production facilities.

Comments

May 07, 2012
sjc
Thanks for this. There's soooo many choices. I've been liking Both Quicktime exports a LOT. Thanks for helping me understand better the difference between all of them.

It would be REALLY cool if the next version of Logic had some video options for export too.
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