QuickTime 7: Preparing movies for Internet delivery

With QuickTime Pro, you can create movies that can be delivered over the Internet. You can deliver a movie as an HTTP download or as a real-time stream.

  • HTTP download—This type of delivery allows website visitors to download the movie to their hard disk. Fast Start is a QuickTime feature that enables users to watch the movie as it's being downloaded (long before the whole movie has been downloaded) from a standard web server. Fast Start works well for short-form movies where file size is limited. It ensures high-quality playback regardless of the users' Internet connection speeds, though those with slower connections will wait longer before media starts to play.

  • Real-time stream—This type of delivery is provided by QuickTime Streaming Server, and delivers media in real time over the Internet, from modem rates to broadband. The file is not downloaded to a viewer's hard disk. Instead, the media is played, but not stored, by the client software as it's delivered. Choose real-time streaming (instead of Fast Start) for webcasts of live events in real time, delivery of long-form video, 24/7 Internet radio and TV channels, and other cases in which you don't want viewers to store the file on their hard disk. QuickTime Streaming Server uses the RTSP protocol.
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Preparing a movie for Fast Start

With QuickTime Pro, you can set up a movie to start playing from a web server before the movie has completely downloaded to the user's hard disk. This is called a "Fast Start" movie. Set the Fast Start setting using the steps below just before you distribute your movie; making other changes and resaving may undo the Fast Start setting.

Converting a movie for Fast Start

  1. Open your movie in QuickTime Player.
  2. From the File menu, choose Export.
  3. From the Export pop-up menu, choose Movie to QuickTime Movie.
  4. Click Options and select any video and sound compression options appropriate for web delivery.
  5. Make sure the "Prepare for Internet Streaming" checkbox is selected and that Fast Start appears in the pop-up menu.
  6. Click OK, then click Save.

Preparing a movie for real-time streaming

To set up a movie for streaming over the Internet, compress the movie so that its data rate is appropriate for the bandwidth at which your users will connect. You can use the hinted streaming format with QuickTime Streaming Server or Darwin Streaming Server. The hint tracks, which are stored in the movie along with the video, audio, and other tracks, provide QuickTime Streaming Server software with information about the server, the transmission packet size, and the protocol to be used--in short, how to send the movie data over the network.

When you choose hinted streaming, "hint tracks" (information needed to stream the movie) are added to the movie. If the movie is already in the desired format, you can prepare a movie for streaming by opening the movie in QuickTime Player and choosing Export from the File menu, then Movie to Hinted Movie. If you want to change the movie's format, follow the steps below.

Converting a movie for real-time streaming

  1. Open your movie in QuickTime Player.
  2. From the File menu, choose Export.
  3. From the Export pop-up menu, choose Movie to QuickTime Movie.
  4. Choose a streaming option from the Use pop-up menu.
  5. Click Options and select the "Prepare for Internet Streaming" checkbox.
  6. Choose Hinted Streaming from the pop-up menu and click OK.
  7. Click Save.

If you want to stream a QuickTime movie using QuickTime Streaming Server, you should use a web-optimized video or audio compressor to compress the movie file. All QuickTime compressors are compatible with QuickTime Streaming Server, but the compressors listed below are optimized to give the best results for delivery over the Internet.

For a complete list of QuickTime-supported compressors, see the Products area on the QuickTime website.

Video compressors
H.264, MPEG-4, Sorenson Video (any version), H.263, H.261

Audio compressors
AAC, QUALCOMM PureVoice, AMR, QDesign

Creating reference movies to optimize web playback

You can use reference movies to provide a movie that's been optimized for different users' connection speeds. For example, you can have a smaller movie streamed to users who are connected over a standard modem, and a larger version of the movie streamed to users who are connected over a broadband connection. Apple provides a free tool, MakeRefMovie X, that greatly simplifies the process of creating reference movies.

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