QuickTime (Part I)

Note: This is just a quick braindump, so probably is inconclusive, and makes no sense


A few days ago LIVE8 concerts were held in major cities around the world. Most interesting (to me, YMMV, of course) was the reunion of Pink Floyd after over 10 years of not being around, with Roger Waters being on stage with the rest of the classic lineup for the first time in 24 years. Wow.

AOL has the license for the internet distribution of the videos, and has a reasonably nice site from which the clips can be streamed using QuckTime.

Clips are really good quality, where quality of the video was not sacrifised in favor of bandwidth. Thank you, AOL, you rock.

If one clicks on the little tab by the song name, a window pops up in which clip plays. One can view source, search for “mov”, and eventually find http URL to the actual file. So I grabbed the 4 Pink Floyd songs.


When I proceeded to play them in QuickTime, they played great. But every silver lining has a cloud – I wanted to build a playlist, where the songs would be played in sequence.

iTunes kind of helped – I am not a big iTunes user, but I imported .mov files into it, made a playlist, arranged them in sequence, and it kind of worked. There were two snags, however – there were ~2 second gaps between songs, and it was audio only. Grumble. I wanted something that could just play them all.

I could have used VLC.app, I guess. I just verified that it plays these tracks, and it has the concept of playlist down pat. But instead I fired up QT Pro 6.5.2, selected whole video, and wanted to paste it together with the next song, etc, to merge 4 songs into one 20 minute long video.

Of course nothing happened. QT had the copy and paste controls grayed out.

So I attempted to export it. It popped up a window telling me Couldn’t export “‘Breathe’ (LIVE 8)” because this movie doesn’t allow saving. Aaaarrrgggh!

Aimless wandering in the dark, searching for solution

So fater about half an hour of googling I learned that many others run into this problem. Seems like this “feature” of QuickTime got noticed when certain movie trailers (ST: Nemesis is one, apparently) were exported to QT with “do not allow modification” bit set. This had the added benefit of forbidding QT Pro to save the file to HD, and irked some folks to no end.

Hacker’s Guide to QuickTime (Which actually has lots of rather useless pointers, such as “open web page with QT component in browser, and then find the cached file in browser’s cache to save file to HD”, which doesn’t work as most of the time now browser just loads a small file (example) that in turn loads the rest of the content, if it feels like it, or folks actually deploy QuickTime Streaming Server, and browsers generally don’timplement RTSP protocol) mentions that:

Video editing programs like Cleaner allow authors to save movies in such a way that further changes to the movie are disallowed. When the author saves the movie, he simply enables the “disallow saving” check box. Some filmmakers chose to do this to prevent others from altering their work. Others chose this option to discourage users from making local copies of movies viewed online.

So this had a glimmer of hope: If I were to obtain the right software, I could make a small (2 – 3 seconds) source file, import it into video editing package, tell it to save once without disallowing saving, and once with, hexdump both files, and diff them. My stipulation is that it’s just a byte or two in the header, that QuickTime happily follows. If I were to know which ones, I potentially could just hexedit the restriction out, and solve my problem.

At this point for some reason I got diverted, and instead of investigating “Cleaner”, went and grabbed Sorenson Squeeze 4.1. Site e-mailed me confirmation and the above URL to the download package.

Sorensen Squeeze is VISE X packaged blob of data that has 30 day free trial, and that will watermark generated files (until you license it). I didn’t care about watermarking, as as long as it generates both protected and unprotected file identically, it’s not a big deal. I know save restriction doesn’t encrypt the file, as VLC.app happily plays them back.

After playing with Sorensen for a while, I realized that a) It does a rather poor job converting other QT files to requested form at(frame dropping. Gave it an 80K/sec mpeg4 inside QT container file (La Tortura from one of my earlier articles), and told it to generate 750K/sec result. Result had 8 frame/sec output, and was choppy as heck (source was 16 frames/sec). Maybe it’s another restriction of the 30 day demo) and b) I couldn’t find the menu to disable save in Squeeze’s features nor in documentation.

At this point I gave up in disgust, and uninstalled Sorensen Squeeze 4.1.

Another complaint about VISE X. Why the F*&^ does it demand that all other applications must be closed during uninstall of software? It demanded none such thing during install. I am not about to close Safari with 35 windows, nor X11 with 8 xterms. Aaargh, what a piece of crap. MS Media Player for Mac is also packaged with it, and in that case it actually demands admin password just to install an application into /Applications. WHY?

So this is as far I made it.


  • Is there a way to extract files from VISE installers, specifically out of Install.data, without running the installer? I always fear that it will spew files all over my system, and I’ll never find them.
  • Any advice about “Cleaner”? Admitedly I am reluctant to put this here, as I’m yet to google it.
  • Anyone has any experience dealing with QT restrictions?