10 essential tips for QuickTime Player X

QuickTime Player X may look like it was merely designed to play video clips and audio files but it also has a few tricks up its sleeve which its previous incarnation, QuickTime 7 couldn’t offer, and which, depending on your needs, you may find highly useful. We’ll take a look at all these features along with what you could do if you need to go beyond the basics.

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  • Open in QuickTime
  • Using controls
  • The playhead
  • Show Clips
  • Subtitles
  • Record video
  • Audio Recording
  • Share video clips
  • QuickTime & iMovie
  • More stories
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Open in the right app

Double-click on a video clip and it may not even open up in QuickTime Player.

Depending on its file extension, it might be set to launch iTunes instead for instance, but there’s a couple of ways to circumvent this unexpected rerouting: control-click on the file, then choose Open With > QuickTime Player. This will override the default behaviour and open the file in QuickTime.

Alternatively, you can drag the file’s icon over the QuickTime Player app to achieve the same results.

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Next Prev slideshow image

Double-click on a video clip and it may not even open up in QuickTime Player.

Depending on its file extension, it might be set to launch iTunes instead for instance, but there’s a couple of ways to circumvent this unexpected rerouting: control-click on the file, then choose Open With > QuickTime Player. This will override the default behaviour and open the file in QuickTime.

Alternatively, you can drag the file’s icon over the QuickTime Player app to achieve the same results.

 

Using the controls in QuickTime

The app looks incredibly sparse: it seems as if only the video is visible (which may well be just a black frame since playback isn’t automatic) with the usual traffic light controls top left of the window.

Move the cursor over the image however to reveal some basic playback controls.

You can alter the volume thanks to a slider, start and stop playback, and reverse or fast forward. Those last two go faster in the selected direction the more you click on them.

 

Using the Playhead controls in QuickTime

Beneath those controls is a grey diamond shape. This is your playhead. It tells you where along the movie you currently are.

You can also drag it left or right to move faster to a desired location. The values on either side of it tell you how much time has elapsed since the start of the film (on the left) and how much is left before you reach the end (on the right).

Aside from the ‘Share’ button on the right, there may be additional controls there too which we’ll look at shortly.

 

Looking for a specific scene? Use Show Clips

Head over to the View menu and select ‘Show Clips’. This replaces the control overlay we just explored with an even more simplified one, offering you a handful of thumbnails along the bottom of the screen.

It can be useful if you’re looking for a specific scene but can’t find it, even with chapter markers (should the file you’re viewing have those).

Unlike the other controls, this band doesn’t disappear when the cursor moves off the video, so it’s only ever useful to find something, not as a standard means of playback control.

Click on ‘Done’ to get rid of it.

 

Select subtitles

The View control also allows you to turn on and select Subtitles or choose the video’s Language, if the file contains those features.

When they’re available, you’ll also be able to see icons to the right of the video playback controls.

Navigating via chapter markers can also be done through that menu, with the help of keyboard shortcuts (displayed as expected in the menu) or through an icon in the Playback Control, on the right.

 

Record video using your Mac’s iSight camera

But playing clips back is but one of QuickTime’s features. They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and this app lets you record video using your Mac’s iSight (aka FaceTime) camera.

Go to File > New Movie Recording and you’ll be graced with a moving shot of yourself and a big red record button at the bottom.

It can be a little disconcerting since what you see is not a mirror image but what the recording will actually look like: move your head to the left and the video will show you moving it to the right!

As you record your video, you’ll also see a handy approximation of how big the final file will be lower right of the control bar.

This can be particularly useful if you plan on emailing that clip since most servers limit the size of what you send.

 

New Audio Recording

If video feels too stressful an idea, you can choose File > New Audio Recording.

A much smaller window will open up, bearing solely the controls you need. Hit the same Record button as before and talk away.

Bear is mind that you have no editing capabilities.

 

The final option is particularly interesting.

File > New Screen Recording offers you a feature that is usually provided by third party developers: being able to record what is being displayed on your computer screen.

You can choose between recording the entire screen or merely a portion of it (by clicking and dragging on the part that interests you). The recording works flawlessly, but be aware that it isn’t possible to record the computer’s audio nor any voice over on your part, and as with the slide above, you cannot edit the final product.

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Sharing video clips

You can share your clip, either one you created yourself or a file you opened, straight from within QuickTime.

As discussed previously, there’s a Share button to the right of the playback controls. You can also access it from the File menu, but whichever section you use, you can’t edit what you share.

It has to be the whole clip or nothing at all. Furthermore, some clips may be much too big to share via email, ruling that option out despite it being available in the list.

 

QuickTIme 7 or iMovie

There is however another, older, version of QuickTime - QuickTime 7 - which allows you to do exactly that, although with less finesse. You can still download QuickTime 7 from Apple here.

Those tools necessary for editing were viewed as a ‘pro’ feature and required an additional purchase to activate. So instead of downloading an app that’s past its time, why not take a gander at iMovie?

You can import whatever you can play in QuickTime Player into it and edit it to your heart’s content. It comes free with your Mac and any version you have on your computer will offer you the basic editing capabilities you need.

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