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QuickTime and Other Plug-ins

QuickTime and Other Plug-ins

One of the more surprising features of GoLive is its built-in QuickTime Editor. The Editor works almost as a mini-Premiere, allowing you to add effects, transitions, animated sprites, extra audio tracks, and text to your QuickTime movies. Admittedly, you’re limited to how much you can do, and GoLive’s editor is no replacement for one of the bigger video-editing programs, but it’s effective enough if you’re looking to spruce up your stuff before putting it online.

The QuickTime Editor came in handy for me, since I felt Orifex deserved a video. (Unfortunately, the sole member of the band died before making one of his own.) I had some random footage from my aborted film projects and I had the band’s CDs. These components turned out to be all I needed to make a really excellent video. I knew any true Orifex fan would find it well worth the monstrous download time.

So here’s how it’s done: First, open your QuickTime movie in GoLive as you would any other file. It will appear in the Movie Viewer, which is a little window with VCR-like controls, similar to any QT player.

Movie Viewer

The Inspector has now become, as if by dark magic, the QuickTime Inspector. It displays some basic info about the clip (duration, file size, picture size, etc.) and allows you to add annotations if so desired (the director’s name or copyright information or whatever).

Back over in the Movie Viewer, in the top left corner, is that little multicolored film icon. Clicking on that will bring up the Track Editor. This is a simple control panel that’ll look hauntingly familiar to anyone who’s used a video or audio editor before. Your movie file is broken down into audio and video tracks, each with its own Inspector window.

Track Editor

To start tweaking, you need to return to the Palette and click on the QuickTime tab. I didn’t even know this tab existed until I stretched out the Palette and discovered there were some extra tabs there – make sure you see all nine or you might be missing out on some cute gimmicks. Inside the QuickTime tab are a number of draggable icons used for adding stuff to your clip: another video track, another sound track, special effects, transitions, text. You can even add an HREF track so people can click in your video and be taken to another page. Each track will have its accompanying Inspector, where you can tweak the size and shape or modify how it will interact with other tracks.

Let’s take a look at an example. I want a little credit at the beginning, so I select the Text Track icon in the QuickTime Palette and drag it over to the Track Editor. A new track appears underneath the video and audio tracks, and the Inspector becomes the Text Track Inspector. I use the Left, Top, Width, and Height fields in this window to set exactly where the text will appear on the screen and how big it will be. Then I set the Graphics Mode to Blend, which makes the titles slightly transparent so the movie can still be seen behind it. Finally, I press the Text tab and enter what I want the titles to say in the Text blank.

Text Track

Then I hit the New button, which adds the text to the Text Track. By default, that track will run for the entire duration of the movie, but it can be adjusted by fiddling with the arrows next to the Start and Duration readouts. I only want the title to appear for the first 10 seconds of the movie, so I make sure that it starts at 00:00:00:00 and remains until 00:00:10:00.

This is essentially how editing your video works. For my video, I add an audio track by pulling the data from an AIFF file and replacing the existing soundtrack with the data. Then I add two more video tracks and some special effects, blending everything together with some interesting and egregious results. I use some of QuickTime’s built-in effects to further screw things up: The whole video wobbles like it’s underwater, and there are some grainy scratches that make it resemble old film footage.

Once my monstrosity is complete, I add it to my page and preview it right there. GoLive supports most of the major plug-ins out there today (RealPlayer, Flash, Shockwave). Just take the plug-in from your browser folder and drop a copy into GoLive’s plug-in folder, and it’ll be ready to go.

I want to put my QuickTime movie and a handful of RealAudio clips on my Media page, so I add those plug-ins to my GoLive folder. Then I drag the Plug-in icon from the Palette over to the Document Window, adding it to my layout. GoLive creates a generic place holder for a plug-in and brings up the Plug-in Inspector. Using the Inspector, I can specify which media file I want to use.

As long as GoLive has the necessary plug-in installed, it should automatically figure out what format I’m inserting and be able to preview the results. So when I choose my QuickTime movie, the Plug-in Inspector identifies the MIME type as “video/quicktime” and adds a QuickTime tab to the window, where I can adjust QuickTime-specific characteristics like autoplay, loop, and background color.

Plugin Inspector

After doing all of this, though, I realize the QuickTime file is too huge to force people to load it automatically, so instead of embedding it and the RealAudio files right into the page, I make them all downloadable (along with my MP3s) and list the file size alongside so people will know what they’re getting into.