kneecapping quicktime

Dear Lazyweb,

How do I turn off the bit in a quicktime file that tells Quicktime Pro to gray out the "Save As" menu? (Yes, I already have a Quicktime Pro license; that's not what I'm asking.)

Now that I have dumped a bunch of downloaded videos into iTunes, I've discovered that I can't edit the names of the tracks on some files: things like 'Title' are stored in properties in the Quicktime file, and iTunes won't overwrite the file, so the title just reverts back.

I could just re-encode them with ffmpegX, but that's lossy, so I'd rather avoid it.

Tags: , , ,

19 Responses:

  1. violentbloom says:

    can't you just edit it in a plain text editor?
    though I've had mixed success with those experiments personally.

  2. mattbot says:

    Can you link to a QT file with "save as" greyed as an example? I'm a bit curious about this.

      • kfringe says:

        That file gets renamed succesfully by iTunes on my machine.

      • mattbot says:

        Dumpster is an Apple dev tool which will let you edit Quicktime movie data. Setting the 'nsav' field from '1' to '0' with reenable saving. Unfortunately, the example movie you provided is compressed (meta-data compression beyond the usual compression in the audio/video tracks) and therefore not editable by dumpster. I'm looking throught the QT specs and APIs to see if this is end game or not. Even if it is, it's probably a task beyold my ken.

        Hopefully you can make some headway with Dumpster provided not all your movies have been compressed.

        • porsupah says:

          Around line 210 of this utility suggests that should be surmountable.

        • jwz says:

          So I guess the metadata is just compressed with gzip, so there ought to be some tool to convert it to uncompressed form? How does it get compressed in the first place?

          • mattbot says:

            I imagine a tool like Compressor (part of the Final Cut Studio package) was used to compress the metadata. Maybe it can rewrite the metadata too. I don't have my copy handy so I can't tell you for certain. I'll see if I can dig it out later.

            That php script that porsupah linked to is rewriting compressed metadata. gzuncompress() is even in the php core functions (then again, what isn't). Should be eazy a minor project to hack that file into a standalone script.

            • jwz says:

              All that script is doing is reading the metadata, not writing a quicktime file. That seems like a very small part of the problem, and I'm sure as shit not going to start hacking PHP to write Quicktime...

              I've had zero luck finding a solution to this using mplayer or anything else.

              And I'm also finding that ffmpegX can't even re-encode them: it hates the audio in these files ("qdm2") and craps out at the end, leaving a video file with no audio in it.

  3. omni_ferret says:

    I could just re-encode them with ffmpegX, but that's lossy, so I'd rather avoid it.

    I thought that mencoder and ffmpegx shared some lineage; mencoder at least has the option to copy audio & video streams, without recompressing, into another video container.

    • jwz says:

      If someone would give me the command line for that, it would spare me having to figure it out...

      • omni_ferret says:

        Looking for info on ffmpegx, I stumbled across audio codec: passthrough & ditto on video; these should do the trick, losslessly. (Don't text search for passthrough, though, because it's dropped in as a graphic.)

        I'm not sure whether ffmpegx exposes the command line mojo or not, or if it will deal with stuff like, say, multiple audio tracks, so I wouldn't delete originals until the conversion's verified.

        Mencoder's not behaving as expected, & I'm trying to pin down if the inconsistencies are in my head or on the computer.

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, I just spent 15 minutes reading the ridiculous mencoder man page, and I don't have the slightest clue how to do that.

      • omni_ferret says:

        If memory serves, -oac copy -ovc copy is a start, & I thought -of help would let me select Quicktime as an output format, but I'm not getting Quicktime as an option & the audio on the Bjork video isn't something that it's really comfortable putting into an avi file, apparently.

        I might have another version of mencoder handy, which might behave more like my recollections.

      • omni_ferret says:

        So, apparently mencoder doesn't output in Quicktime. (The other output option, which I misremembered, was apparently "output as mpeg.")

        A couple of encoding GUIs I've seen struck me as shells for mencoder, written for the authors to avoid working with the command line or documentation ever again.

        I tried ffmpeg - not ffmpegx - with "ffmpeg -i -vcodec copy -acodec copy" & it died with a cryptic error message about the output file header. You might try this to see if it works for you.

        Currently, attempting the ffmpegX passthrough looks like the best bet to me.

  4. tjcrowley says:

    Go figure, I start looking for a solution to an ffmpeg conversion problem (it's not encoding the audio) and this thread comes up in a google search.

    Double go-figure: it helped me fix my problem.

  5. danomite55 says:

    Have you seen this project?

    Might be able to help out...