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How to make old QuickTime movies on a modern Mac

JDW

Well-known member
How does one go about converting a video to an older QuickTime format like QuickTime 3 so it will play on vintage Macs, using a modern Mac running something like MacOS High Sierra to do the conversion?

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Quicktime 3 runs on a wide range of hardware. What hardware are you targeting?

Some discussion about this, with re/ IIci and 475 came up a couple days ago: 





You should be able to export to just "QuickTime" format with settings low enough to work in v3, but Cinepak compression would be best for this.

Just looking at QuickTime Player on my 10.6 Mac, which happens to be near me at the moment, you don't get an awful lot of settings there (Apple was still trying to sell $30 QuickTime Pro licenses), but I believe that was all exposed by the time of Sierra/Mountain Sierra.

That said, Apple announced the other day that they're going to start pulling old video formats out of future versions of their apps and the OS, so a 10.12 or 10.13 Mac is probably well positioned to be the newest machine you can do this on, at least using Apple's own tools.

I'll look hopefully a little later today but the settings you need are probably in the QuickTime application under an export or save as command. Compressor, if you have it, would be able to do this in bulk.

(And, the version of Compressor from, say, final cut studio 2 would be an interesting one to look at because it'll almost certainly still have all this legacy stuff, it'll run on ppc/osx in a fairly wide range of OSes, and you can export/re-compress a bunch of files at once into a bunch of different versions. (This was built with the intent that you might make an ipod-video version, a youtube version, and a DVD version of a file, back in the day.)

 

nglevin

Well-known member
I suspect that, armed with Perian and QuickTime 7 Pro or earlier, or some other version of QuickTime that could write media to QT3 compatible codecs and containers, this would be possible.

QuickTime 7 Pro licenses may no longer be for sale, but Mac OS X does silently upgrade QT7 to the Pro features if you have an OS X Final Cut installed. The last update was 7.7 on Leopard and 7.6.something on Snow Leopard.

iMovie 2 had a "QuickTime 3 compatible" checkbox buried away in its settings, which might be the easiest way to do it. Provided you have access to iMovie 2 and an old enough OS X. EDIT: or OS 9, as I forgot that iMovie was around for that long.

 
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JDW

Well-known member
Quicktime 3 runs on a wide range of hardware. What hardware are you targeting?


SE/30, either in the stock configuration or with an accelerator, and/or with a PDS video card like the Micron Xceed MacroColor 30HR with internal grayscale adapter.

 

JDW

Well-known member
It seems that I need the CINEPAK codec on my MacOS High Sierra Mac in order to compress and resize video that will run on 68k machines.  Cinepak apparently will playback well even on 25MHz 68030 CPUs. (I have a 50MHz 68030 accelerator in my SE/30.)  But neither QuickTime 7 nor VLC seem to offer the CINEPAK codec under High Sierra.

This forum post talks about using FFMPEG (a command line tool that runs in the MacOS Terminal) to encode CINEPAK video, and a script is provided; but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get the script to run in the Terminal in conjunction with FFMPEG.  Can any of you?

Surely there must be some way to add the CINEPAK codec in VLC or QuickTime 7, even when running under High Sierra, right?  Any brilliant ideas on that would be welcomed.

Next...

I read that QuickTime 3 (which runs in System 7.5.5 on my SE/30) also includes one of the first versions of the Sorenson codec.  But how to get that codec on my modern Mac is the same problem I have with the Cinepak codec.  Again, I'd love to hear your detailed thoughts on this.

Thanks!

 

agg24

Well-known member
That linked script is a Windows batch script for doing the FFMPEG encoding. The @set calls set environmental variables, that are then consumed in the actual command to FFMPEG with %envvarname%.

To run in macOS, you first need to install FFMPEG (Homebrew is probably the easiest method). Then if you copy the arguments in to the script like so, it should work:

Code:
ffmpeg -hide_banner -v 32 -stats -y -i [PUT FILEPATH HERE] -vf "pp=ac,pp=ac,pp=ac,hqdn3d=5,eq=contrast=256/220:brightness=1/512:saturation=256/224:gamma=16/16,scale=320:-4:sws_flags=spline+accurate_rnd+full_chroma_int+full_chroma_inp,minterpolate=fps=15/1:mi_mode=mci:me_mode=bidir:me=ntss:vsbmc=1,xbr=2,scale=320:-4:sws_flags=spline+accurate_rnd+full_chroma_int+full_chroma_inp:sws_dither=2:in_range=0:out_range=2,format=pix_fmts=rgb24,pad=320:240:(ow-iw)/2:(oh-ih)/2" -c:v cinepak -q:v 16 -af "pan=mono|FC < 1.414FC+FR+FL+0.5BL+0.5SL+0.25LFE+0.125BR,firequalizer=gain='if(gte(f,25),0,-INF)+if(lte(f,11024),0,-INF)',dynaudnorm=p=1/sqrt(2):m=100:s=20,firequalizer=gain='if(gte(f,25),0,-INF)+if(lte(f,11024),0,-INF)',aresample=resampler=soxr:osr=22050:cutoff=0.990:dither_method=shibata" -c:a pcm_s8 -f mov [PUT OUTPUT FILEPATH HERE]

 

nglevin

Well-known member
fwiw, the once popular Perian plugin for QT7 was largely based on ffmpeg, as you can see in its source code. It's solid.

Otherwise agg24 beat me to it.  :)  The script you posted was written for Windows, easiest tell is that it's looking for an "ffmpeg.exe".

Only thing I'd add is fairly stock advice that you should make a copy of your movies before processing them, just in case you get something in the arguments wrong and accidentally overwrite the original.

 

JDW

Well-known member
Not being a command line fan, I took the advice of @nglevin and downloaded Perian 1.2.3 and then installed it on my late 2015 5K iMac running MacOS High Sierra.  I double-clicked the *.prefPane to install it, verified it was in fact installed, then I opened QuickTime 7.6.x (PRO version), opened a movie, chose Export > Movie to Quicktime Movie > Video Settings... > Compression Type and checked the contents of that popup menu, but I don't see any new codecs at all (i.e., no Cinepak or Sorenson codecs in that popup at all).  So I guess I don't understand how it works, or maybe it isn't compatible with High Sierra (which is odd because QuickTime 7.6.x works fine).

@agg24 Thank you for the code which works with FFMPEG, but how do I use it?  I am assuming I need to save it to a text file, right?  If so, what is the filename extension I should use?  And although FFMPEG is installed and can be used in the Terminal, what specifically do I do to use that script?

Thanks.

 

nglevin

Well-known member
Perian is for playback and import of more media types beyond the stock ones in QuickTime. It was more attacking the problem from the standpoint of getting media into QuickTime (the framework, far beyond the player) and then finding some way through QuickTime's aging Carbon/Mac-Toolbox interiors to spit that out into a QT3 compatible format in a GUI.

...also, based on your inquiries to agg24, you seem to have no prior experience with the command prompt on Mac OS X, so I'll direct you towards a great Bash crash course. Then there's this bit that teaches you how to write scripts with Bash on macOS.

Start there before you try to diagnose what might go wrong with running ffmpeg*. Because there's a small learning curve to Bash, and the skills there apply to a number of Unix-likes.

I think you'll find that rewarding, though. The Mac OS X chess program is really just a nice, GUI wrapper around an open source, command liney chess engine called sjeng. If you can run software from a command line, that will open up some real opportunities locked away behind shiny GUIs that rail road you into a small number of tasks.

* - I'm marginally aware of a few things that are funny with ffmpeg from Homebrew. I'd like to help out next weekend when I've got some time, this week and today have been pretty travel-heavy.

 

JDW

Well-known member
I've fiddled with Terminal for years and I've never found it rewarding.  It takes a certain mindset that I don't have.  

So what you are saying is that I should uninstall Perian because it's impossible to add CINEPAK to QT7.6 using it?  (I'd much prefer using the GUI of QT7.6 to compress videos for my old Macs than use scripts in the Terminal, which is why I ask.)

Thank you.

 

nglevin

Well-known member
No, it doesn’t get in the way of export. It is more for importing video that QuickTime cannot normally handle.

Cinepak was a QuickTime export option up until Snow Leopard; https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2302725

Have I mentioned that I like 10.5 far more than 10.6? Little things like this that add up, many of which directly relate to classic Mac comforts.

 
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JDW

Well-known member
Cinepak was a QuickTime export option up until Snow Leopard; https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2302725
I have my G4 Cube running MacOS 10.4 Tiger sitting next to me.  I just fired it up and opened QuickTime Player 7.6.x.  I opened a movie, then chose File > Export > Movie to Quicktime Movie > Video Settings > Compression Type, but in that popup I don't see anything that says "CINEPAK" and instead just see:

Animation

Apple Intermediate Codec

Apple ProRes 422

Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)

Apple VC H.263

DV - PAL

and so on...

What should I be looking for, specifically, in that popup menu of Codecs.  (I can only assume "CINEPAK" is not in the name.)

 

nglevin

Well-known member
 Well, I don’t have any retro Macs to check with me, as I’d indicated before that i am traveling. 

Although looking at the link from the Apple support forums, it appears that the Cinepak option might be buried behind a contextual export preference in 10.6, maybe even 10.4. I have definitely seen it recently while going through QuickTime Pro on 10.5, while in the middle of setting up ESXi again.

EDIT: Look for “enable legacy encoders”, from https://discussions.apple.com/thread/1537866

 
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JDW

Well-known member
Well, I found this Apple forum discussion which says to enable CINEPAK via the following Terminal command:

qtdefaults write LegacyVideoCodecs AppleCinepak enabled


That command does not work at all in the Terminal on my MacOS 10.4 Tiger G4 Cube (tells me "qtdefaults: command not found").  But I just tried it on my late 2015 5K iMac in the Terminal and it worked.  Meaning, I can now open QuickTime 7.6.x on my High Sierra iMac, do a File > Export > Movie to QuickTime Move > Video Settings > Compression Type, and then I can find "Cinepak" in that popup!  Hurrah!

HOWEVER...

The problem is AUDIO.

I have an old Cinepak video of the 1984 commercial and when I Get Info on that movie in QuickTime 7.6 on my iMac, I see this:

1984_Movie_Info.png

I assume that "8-bit Unsigned Integer" is referring to the Mono 22.320kHz Audio?  If so, it's a problem because the only Audio choices I get in QT7.6 on my High Sierra iMac are these:

AUDIOsettings.png

Any thoughts on what I should do about the audio?

Thanks.

 

nglevin

Well-known member
Linear PCM, most likely. It's just raw audio, uncompressed.

There's an audio codec (Linear PCM or w/e), there's a video codec (Cinepak), and they both share space in a container (QuickTime .mov). This relationship holds for all video file formats that I'm aware of since the 90s.

 

JDW

Well-known member
Thanks.  Here are the Linear PCM settings I intend to use:

QT7.6_AudioSettings.png

Not sure if Little Endian is important or not, but I will leave it off for my first test.

By the way, on my MacOS 10.4 Tiger G4 Cube, I found the solution to enable CINEPAK is via System Preferences and the "Show legacy encoders" checkbox:

MacOSTiger_SysPrefs.png

 

nglevin

Well-known member
In addition, have a look at...

man qtdefaults


...in modern macOS, there's several options in there discussed around enabling legacy video and audio codecs.

Use arrow keys to go up and down to read the documentation, "q" key to quit.

Lots of great stuff buried away in the UNIX style man page documentation of macOS.  :smiley:

 
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JDW

Well-known member
I've not tested on my SE/30 yet, but after re-saving that 1984 CinePak video in CinePak format using QT7.6.x on my High Sierra iMac, I see the blacks aren't as dark as the original, and even though I restrict the Data Rate to 1839kbits/sec, the resulting video is still close to 2900kbits/sec, for reasons I cannot understand.

ORIGINAL MOVIE:

Apple1984_Original_CinePak.jpg

MY CONVERTED MOVIE:

Apple1984_QTconverted_CinePak.jpg

Hmmm....

 
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