Slo-Mo Video: El Capitan’s Neglected Stepchild

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by getrealbro, Nov 27, 2015.

  1. getrealbro macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2015
    In El Capitan (OS X 10.11.1), Photos, Quicktime Player and iMovie are a GUI mess of missing/inconsistent capabilities and keyboard shortcuts for handling videos.

    For example Quicktime Player and iMovie provide keyboard shortcuts for playing/pausing and single frame stepping though a video using the space bar and right/left arrows keys. But Photos does not. In Photos you have to use the pop-up controller that obscures at least some part of the video. Worse yet, in Photos the space bar shortcut doesn’t play/pause the video, it opens/closes it.

    These video playback inconsistencies are simply annoying. Where the missing capabilities get to be a serious PITA is the Photos app’s inability to correct the orientation of videos. And Photos regularly imports photos and videos in the wrong orientation from our iPhones running iOS 9.1. This is not a issue with simple photos since they can be easily rotated within the Photos app. But correcting this orientation error for videos is a lot more involved.

    Correcting the orientation of a video requires exporting the video, opening it in QuickTime Player, rotating it, then saving it. After importing the rotated video back into Photos it appears in chronological order at the end of the photos list (i.e. based on when it was edited) unless the date is adjusted back to when the original video was taken. Simple right? Now try that with a slo-mo video.

    If the video is slo-mo the procedure is even less obvious. Because it really matters exactly HOW you export the slo-mo video from Photos and HOW you save the rotated video out of Quicktime Player. In Photos, you have to “Export the unmodified original…” to keep the slo-mo portion of the video adjustable. Simply exporting the video (the default if you drag the video into a Finder window) will freeze the portion of the video that is slo-mo and remove the ability to change it. Similarly in Quicktime Player, if you use the File menu to “Export” the video, it will be saved with whatever portion of the video that had been set for slo-mo frozen. In other words, you will lose the ability to change the part of the video that is slow motion. So if you want to retain the ability to adjust the slo-mo portion later, you have to simply Close the window of the rotated video and then give it a new name using that save dialog. This changes the portion of the video that is set for slo-mo but it remains adjustable.

  2. getrealbro thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2015
    Further testing shows that saving a fully editable slo-mo video requires a little more care. Specifically, if you use Quicktime Player to edit (e.g. trim, rotate, etc.) a slo-mo video you need to adjust the slow motion controls so that the whole video is “full speed” BEFORE you close/save it.

    Based on my testing….
    When QTP saved an edited slo-mo MOV, the portion of the video between the slow motion controls was saved as slow motion. AND if I left any part of a 120FPS slo-mo video as slow motion, the saved MOV was NOT 120 FPS. It was more like 40 FPS. Now here’s the fun/weird part. If I opened this saved MOV in QTP I could adjust the slow motion portion again. As a result, each time I adjusted the slow motion controls and closed/saved the MOV, parts of it became progressively slower.

    You can see this Quicktime Player quirk/feature by opening a slo-mo video with QTP. Adjust the slow motion controls so that the whole video is slow motion. Then close/save it. When you open the resulting MOV, adjust the slow motion controls so that the whole video is slow motion and close/save it again. Now open all three MOVs. Display the Movie inspector and compare their FPS specs. Then play each one to see the progressive slow down. In my testing the original was 120FPS, #2 was 40FPS and #3 was 20FPS.

    Tip: If you get a sidecar file (xxxx.AAE) when you close/save a slo-mo video out of Quicktime Player, the xxxx.MOV file is probably no longer a fully editable 120FPS slo-mo video.

  3. getrealbro thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2015
    Enough about Quicktime Player’s weaknesses. Here’s the main reason that videos are El Capitan’s neglected stepchildren….

    In iOS 9.x you can edit (e.g. rotate) videos directly in Photos, because it uses iMovie as an extension to edit the videos “in place”. Here is how it works on an iPhone/iPad.

    1 - Select the video in Photos and then select Edit.
    2 - Select the icon with a circle with 3 dots.
    3 - Select iMovie
    4 - Edit the video in iMovie (e.g. use two fingers to rotate the video)
    5 - Select Done.
    iMovie will “replace” the original video in Photos with the one you edited (e.g. rotated). And you can “revert” these edits later!

    Apple could have made editing (e.g. rotating) videos in Photos (OS X 10.11) just as easy as in Photos (iOS 9) if they had made QuickTime Player act as a extension to Photos. But they didn’t :(

  4. getrealbro, Dec 2, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015

    getrealbro thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2015
    And then there’s iMovie 10.1, the poster app for Apple’s penchant for sacrificing functionality in an attempt to achieve ease of use ….. but ending up with with a seriously dumbed down app that isn’t all that much easier to use anyway.

    For example, when you save (excuse me, “share”) a video in iMovie (OS X), you are offered the unalterable choices of: Theater, Email, iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, CNN iReport, Image and finally File. Each of these choices offer different size/format export options, which are nicely tailored for sharing your video using that service. BUT… none of them (even saving to a File) offer all of the export size/format options. And curiously AirDrop is MIA from the share options.

    So if you’ve been working on a video and want to save anything smaller than a 540P version to your hard drive (e.g. to share it via AirDrop), all you have to do is….
    1 - share it via email,
    2 - extract the video from the email draft before sending it,
    3 - save the video to your hard drive,
    4 - and then (optionally) share the video file via AirDrop.
    Piece of cake!

    Unlike iMovie (iOS), iMovie (OS X) can”t be used to simply rotate a slo-mo video and save it back into Photos. iMovie OS X can import, rotate and adjust the slow motion portion of a slo-mo video BUT…. AFAIK there is no way to export that edited, rotated slo-mo video and retain the ability adjust the slow motion portion.

    Maybe novice iMovie users find this all very “intuitive”.

  5. getrealbro, Dec 3, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015

    getrealbro thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 25, 2015
    Executive summary of the slo-mo video rotate and save capabilities of Apple’s consumer grade video apps in El Capitan….

    Photos (OS X ) can not rotate any video, whether or not it is slo-mo. And to-date, Apple has not provided an “extension” to handle this like iMovie (iOS ) does with Photos (iOS).

    iMovie (OS X) can rotate slo-mo videos, but AFAIK there is no way to export/share them with the slow motion part still adjustable.

    QuickTime Player (OS X) can rotate slo-mo videos and maintain the ability to adjust the slow motion part, but you have to be careful how you close/save the rotated video (see the 2nd post in this thread for details).

    If you want a video that you have rotated with QuickTime Player (OS X) to replace the original video in Photos (OS X), you have to re-import the rotated video into Photos, manually adjust the time stamp and (optionally) delete the original.

    So while slo-mo video is arguably El Capitan’s neglected stepchild, the much bigger issue is that OS X is iOS’s neglected step-parent. And given the revenues/profit generated by iOS vs OS X devices, I guessing this won’t change anytime soon.

    Of course we always have the option to believe, like Voltaire’s Candide, that as long as we are using the latest Mac(s) and iToy(s) and keep our OS and apps set to auto-update, we are in fact living in the best of all possible computing worlds. And anyone who suggests that anything should/could be improved is a heretic :)


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