Monday, March 5, 2012

QuickTime X on the Mac

by Blake , Studio Assistant

Have you ever needed to capture what's happening on your Mac's desktop? What about recording the sound from an interview or even the video? Mac OS X Snow Leopard gives us an app just for these purposes. In addition to playing various formats of digital media, QuickTime X also allows you to record audio, record video from the iSight, and record the actions on the screen.

Recording a Movie from the iSight
            To record using your Mac's iSight camera, go to the Applications folder and launch QuickTime Player. This application does not have a main window that pops up, therefore to do anything, you will have to use the menu bar (across the top). To start a recording session, go to File >> New Movie Recording (or keyboard shortcut Option + Command + N).

Click the big red record button in the window that appears when you are ready to begin recording. The graphical user interface (GUI) gives you a few other options to play with as well. The slider on the right controls input volume. The double, diagonally opposing arrows set the capture window to full screen mode, and the little down arrowhead contains even more options.

These options include changing the camera capturing the video (if you have more than one), changing the microphone capturing the audio (again, if you have more than one), changing the quality of the recording (Medium, High, Maximum), and choosing where to save the video file to.

Once you record some video (and stop recording), only one icon on the interface will change. Instead of the little down arrowhead (extra options) there will be a small box icon with an arrow coming out of it.

This new icon gives you the option to trim the movie or export it to either iTunes, a MobileMe Gallery, or send it directly to YouTube (if you choose this last service, you will be prompted for your username & password).

NOTE: Once you record a video, you must save it (File >> Save As… ) or you will loose your content! You also have the option to "Save for the Web" which supports mobile device formats (iPhone, Cellular Phones, & Computers)

Recording Audio Only
            To record audio using your Mac's internal or connected microphones, follow the same steps as described above to start QuickTime Player but this time, select File >> New Audio Recording (keyboard shortcut:  Control + Option + Command + N). A small, black window will pop up.

The controls and options work exactly the same as recording a video except that you will not have any options dealing with video content.

NOTE: As before, it is extremely important to save your recording or you will loose it! It should also be noted that QuickTime saves the audio recording as a .mp4 file, which is actually a movie file. This is normal and is done this way to simplify the process for the application… if not the user.

Recording Your Screen
            To record what's on your screen, again do everything as before but this time choose File >> New Screen Recording (keyboard shortcut: Control + Command + N). A small, black window will appear onscreen.

The screen recording option also lets you record audio along with the screen (perhaps you are doing an instructional video for a computer project).  The extra options drop down arrowhead gives you access to your Mac's microphone and video quality.

When you hit the record button, you will be prompted with a new option screen:

This pop down informs you that the recording interface will be hidden so it will not obstruct your project and how to stop the recording (keyboard shortcut: Command + Control + Escape).

NOTE: Save your work as soon as you are done or you will loose your recording!

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