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Before you can start putting QuickTime movies on your Web pages, you need to have some movies to work with. Chances are, you already have some multimedia close at hand in the form of sound files, still images, or digitized video clips.
You can embed these multimedia files in Web pages in their native formats, or you can convert them into QuickTime movies. Converting them to movies has certain advantages. Before you start embedding stuff in your Web pages, you should consider whether you want to use the QuickTime file format.
This chapter explains
Multimedia can be embedded in a Web page in a variety of formats-a Quick- Time movie file (.mov), a MIDI music file (.mid), a WAVE sound file (.wavy, or a Flash animation file (.swf), to name just a few.
The Web server that dishes out these files takes the file type or the three-letter file extension (.mov, for example), looks up the MIME type (such as video/quicktime) in a table, and tells the browser what kind of media to expect.
If your Web page is on a CD or a local drive, there is no Web server, so the browser uses the file type or the file extension and looks up the MIME type in an internal table.
Either way, the browser then loads an appropriate plug-in to handle the MIME type. The QuickTime plug-in happily plays almost any of the common media types.
Unfortunately, the user's browser may be configured to use any one of several different plug-ins tohandle a given media type. Your Web page can only specify the media type; the browser chooses the plug-in.
This creates headaches when you're writing HTML. Different plug-ins typically have controllers of different sizes, often with different controls on them. But you need to allocate a set amount of space on your Web page for the plug-in, and you probably want to give instructions for playing the media that depend on the plug-in. This can get tricky.
For example, suppose you embed an .aif sound file with the parameter HEIGHT="16", and the browser is configured to use the LiveAudio plug-in for AIFF sound files. LiveAudio needs more than 16 pixels to display a controller, so the plug-in shows a gray box instead, and the user is unable to start or stop the sound.
To make matters worse, different plug-ins are controlled by passing different parameters in the <EMBED> tag. One plug-in uses AUTOPLAY to start automatically, for example, while another uses AUTOSTART. Similarly, you can tell the QuickTime plug-in to play a MIDI file at low volume (say, 50%) by setting VOLUME="50". But if the browser is configured to use the Crescendo plug-in for MIDI files, passing VOLUME="50" has no effect (and the sound will be too loud).
This isn't a criticism of LiveAudio or Crescendo. The problem is that you don't know which plug-in is going to be called.
To avoid this problem, you can deliver all your multimedia content as QuickTime movies with the .mov file extension. You can do this with .aif or .wav sound files, .avi movies, .mid music, .mp3 downloads, Flash .swf files, or any of the file types that QuickTime can play.
You can deliver your existing multimedia files through the QuickTime plug-in in two different ways-you can convert the files into QuickTime movies, or you can use the QTSRC parameter to make the QuickTime plug-in play your existing files. Let's look at both methods.
To make a QuickTime movie from an existing multimedia file, open the file with QuickTime Player. If it opens and plays, you can deliver it as a QuickTime movie.
You can open most files in QuickTime Player by choosing Open Movie from the File menu. For text files or PICT images, choose Import instead.
As you highlight files in the dialog box, the confirmation button reads either Open or Convert. If the button reads Open, the file is already a QuickTime movie. If the button reads Convert, QuickTime can create a movie from the file "on the fly." The QuickTime plug-in can play these files over the Internet without converting them first.
If the button reads "Convert..." (with three dots), QuickTime needs to create a new file in order to make a movie from the highlighted file. You'll be prompted to save the converted file with a new name. You must convert these files into QuickTime movies before you can play them over the Internet using the QuickTime plug-in.
To save a file as a QuickTime movie without otherwise changing it, choose Save As from the File menu, click the "Make movie self-contained" radio button, and give it a filename. The dialog box is shown on the next page. (This is the same dialog box that appears if you import a file that QuickTime can't convert on the fly...)
Posted November 12, 2000
The book has insites into multimedia and is comprehensive on the subject of what audio and video compressions to use for CD's or the web. The real plus is getting a hard copy of QuickTime Pro on CD--for both Windows and MacIntosh--as opposed to a download and unlock key. QT Pro offers transitions and Save As features, as well as a full screen playback mode that brings homemade slideshows closer to functioning like Appleworks Presentations or Powerpoint slideshows.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 12, 2000
You know QuickTime plays movies but you'll be shocked to find out the MANY other things it does. This book is the most in-depth of the QuickTime books and will show you just how much you've been missing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.