How to rotate video with QuickTime X

This is something that I get asked reasonably often and thought I’d make a quick video to show just how easy it is.

The process is simple; open the video in question in QuickTime, go up to the Edit menu, go down to the Rotate Left or Rotate Right and select it. You’ll see there are also options to flip the video horizontally or vertically as well.

Once done, click to close the window, and save the video. All done!

How to format a hard drive for Mac OS X

This video post was inspired by two conversations I had with (on the subject of Time Machine backups) and (with two video files that wouldn’t copy onto a drive), so be sure to thank them if this helped you!

Here’s the video:

Here are the steps:

  1. Connect the drive to your Mac and power it up.
  2. If there is data on the drive, copy it to another drive. This will erase the data on the drive.
  3. Launch Disk Utility, either by using Spotlight, or by using Finder’s Go menu, selecting Utilities, then double-clicking Disk Utility.
  4. Click on the drive you wish to reformat.
  5. Double-check that the drive is indeed not a Mac OS formatted drive.
  6. Click the Erase tab up at the top
  7. Select either Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled) if you will want to use case-sensitive file names. (Eg: AwesomeVideo.mp4  and awesomevideo.mp4 would be considered the same under Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
  8. Give the drive a new name.
  9. Click Erase, then a warning will appear to remind you of possible dataloss. Click Erase.
  10. The drive will be re-formatted and should be available quite quickly (usually less than twenty seconds)

That’s it! If you have any other things you’d like demoed, let me know!

Converting the Firefly (the series) into an audiobook

Firefly: The complete series I am a huge Firefly fan to the point of being the platinum sponsor of the Ottawa Serenity Charity Showing for the past few years which has been held at the Mayfair Theatre on Bank Street.

Before we left for our vacation I didn’t have time to find any new audiobooks from Audible but it occurred to me that given that there are 14 episodes of Firefly that I could conceivably convert the whole thing into an audiobook and listen to that. I’ve done this to a few movies – the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Exorcist, and others. This really shines when the movies have a good audio team.

Before you ask if I’ll give you copies, no, I won’t.

But I will explain how I’ve done it (teach a person to fish and all that jazz).

This isn’t by far the only way to do this – this is the way I’ve done it, using the tools I’m most familiar with. Someone clever could probably write an app to do this very thing (or maybe already has).

1) I took my Firefly DVD box set and used Handbreak to transfer video from the DVDs into my computer as MPEG-4 files. This was actually done some time ago, but doesn’t take very long.

2) Open each episode in QuickTime to extract the audio for each episode and saving out as an AIF file.

3) Then I opened up Final Cut Pro 7, dragged all of the episodes in, and arranged them in order of the episodes into one rather long sequence.

Note: there is a limit of around twelve hours for a audio/video file in Quicktime.  So if you’re converting a longer series, you’ll have to be mindful of this, which is also why audio books form Audible are in less than twelve-ish hour chunks.

Yes, I know FCP is a video editing software. But it works really well for chopping up audio too.

4) Next, I did a bit of trimming. I removed the intro music, then the audio for the credits on all the episodes with the exception of the first episode and let the credit music roll one the last episode.

In reality, this part could have been done in Quicktime 7 pretty easily (Quicktime X, I don’t know), but I figured I’d be faster at it in FCP.

5) Next I added chapter markers for each episode, labelling each marker with the episode’s name, then exported the whole thing as an AAC file.

6) Then, I dropped the file onto iTunes, and then I used Doug’s Make Bookmarkable script to make audiobook save its place when played.

7) Edited metadata in iTunes for the file so the attributes were correct.

8) Dropped the new audiobook into my iPhone and done!
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So, what was it like, listening to all the episodes of Firefly as an audio book?

Actually, it’s pretty amazing. Supervising sound editor Cindy Rabideau, production sound mixer / production sound designer David Yaffe, and their team did a fantastic job.

When I finished listening to it, I began to wonder how hard it would be to get the cast together to record a series of audio-episodes – certainly less than another TV series – and possibly easier to schedule the cast.

How to back up your iPhone

With iOS 7 coming out tomorrow (September 18th, 2013), I thought it might be handy to take a minute and make a video on how to back up an iPhone. As readers of this blog (should) know by now, I’m uncomfortable doing anything without a backup (you should be too).

Backing up an iPhone is pretty simple – connect the iPhone to your computer, open iTunes, click the phone, and select back up.

You’ll notice that my iPhone backups are encrypted – if someone got their hands on my MacPro, I don’t need them getting all the info from my iPhone as well. Additionally, selecting an encrypted backup includes nearly all of your passwords, so you won’t have to spend a tonne of time re-entering them all.

If you’re wondering why I don’t just back up to iCloud, it’s easy; my iPhone is 64GB, and iCloud doesn’t remotely cover that.