QuickTime movie and audio conversion

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Stephen Hart
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QuickTime movie and audio conversion

Post by Stephen Hart » Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:17 pm

For a long time I've been dreading a job on my web sites: updating from QuickTime video to HTML5.
I knew the day was coming, but Safari in Sierra now has the QuickTime plugin disabled by default.


The process requires changing the files as well as changing the HTML code referencing the files. I had a lot of short video files and audio files in QuickTime .mov wrappers on both The Animal Communication Project and Olympic Natural History.

For simple QuickTime .mov movies, the file fix is easy: just change the suffix to .m4v.
For audio-only QuickTime files, you need to convert the file. I opened each audio-only .mov file in Sound Studio and saved it as .m4a.

I would change the suffix or replace the file, then search in Dreamweaver files for ".mov", copy the file name (and location reference, such as newsfile06/natural1.m4a), then select the old code and use a Keyboard Maestro macro to replace the code, automatically inserting the clipboard contents (the file name). It looks like this:

<embed src="display.mov" width="544" height="424" pluginspage="http://www.apple.com/quicktime" vspace="13" hspace="28" autoplay="false" loop="false" controller="true"></embed>

replaced with
<video src="display.m4v" controls></video>

Finally, I uploaded the changed files and cleaned up the .movs from the server.

That was kind of tedious, but the total number of files wasn't that bad. I did it over a few days. I probably could have taken some more steps to automate the process.


Then I remembered a site my son Robbie made for his undergraduate thesis at Swarthmore College. It was a largish set of words and phrases of a language called Bantawa Rai that he recorded in Nepal.

I began searching for a way to batch convert the .mov files (all audio only) with .m4a files as a first step. I found this great tip:
Convert Video to an Audio Track Directly in Mac OS X
The only change from Lion to Sierra is that the convert command is in Services.
It worked perfectly, and converted dozens of files in a few minutes. It will convert video to video of a different resolution or video to audio only.

I'll now see if I can speed up the HTML changes needed in Dreamweaver.


Just in case anyone's interested, here is the Keyboard Maestro Macro, with some comments in square brackets:

<video... /video> [name of the macro]
No triggers specified. [triggered from a palette that shows up only in Dreamweaver]
Will execute the following actions:
Insert Text by Pasting [this requires Keyboard Maestro to use the system clipboard]
<video src="%CurrentClipboard%.m4v" controls></video> [inserts the contents of the clipboard, the file name into the HTML string]
Pause for 1 Seconds [makes sure the paste is done before the restoring the clipboard]
Notify on failure.
Delete Past Clipboard 0 [macro returns the system clipboard to its previous contents]
Notify on failure.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
Steve Jobs

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