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Hack 97. Play "Movies" on an iPod photo
I picked up an iPod photo the other day, and most observers have asked me, "Can that thing play movies?" The short answer is no—only music and photos—but the longer answer is "sorta, but not really anything worth calling a movie."
In this hack, I'll show you how to "play" a movie on an iPod photo by exporting
Figure 8-15. The same movie trailer on two screens
8.9.1. Getting Started
All you'll need for this hack is QuickTime Pro, iTunes, and an iPod photo; the same instructions work on both the Mac and PC. I'll show both the PC and Mac steps in the examples.
8.9.2. Getting a Movie
Just about any QuickTime movie will do; for our example, we're going to use trailer for Star Wars: Episode III. We found one via Waxy.org (http://www.waxy.org). You can right-click (PC) or Control-click (Mac) to download the movie to your local system. Figure 8-16 shows the Episode III trailer as a QuickTime movie.
Figure 8-16. The movie trailer as a QuickTime movie
Figure 8-17. The Episode III trailer, saved to disk
8.9.3. Exporting the Sound
First, we're going to export the sound. Once it's exported, we'll add it to the iPod photo so that we can listen to the soundtrack as we play the movie. Figure 8-18 shows the Sound Settings dialog box when exporting on Windows.
Figure 8-18. The export settings for the audio of the movie
On a PC, with the movie open, choose File Export. Choose Movie to WAV, click Options, and choose 44kHz, 16 bit, and Stereo.
On a Mac, with the movie open, click File Export. Choose Movie to AIFF, click Options, and choose the same settings of 44kHz, 16 bit, and Stereo.
Import the sound into iTunes. You can export them to the iPod now, or later; it doesn't really matter.
If you don't want to export the sound and try to sync it as you play, that's fine too. H. M. Warner said it best: "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"
8.9.4. Exporting the Movie to an Image Sequence
Now that the sound is out of the movie, it's time to export each frame. The frame rate of the movie we downloaded was 15 frames per second, so we'll export the same in QuickTime. Figure 8-19 shows the Image Export settings.
On a PC, with the movie open, choose File Export. Choose JPEG, type 15 for Frames per second, and click Options. I selected Medium for the Quality setting, but feel free to experiment. Figure 8-20 shows the JPEG compression options.
On a Mac, with the movie open, choose File Export. Choose Export Image Sequence and also select the same options as we did in the PC example. Figure 8-21 shows the export dialog box for a Mac.
I exported these to a new folder to keep them all tidy and one spot.
Figure 8-19. Using the JPEG format at 15 frames per second
Figure 8-20. Using Best Depth and Medium Quality for JPEG Options
Figure 8-21. Mac-based image export settings
When you're finished, the 1 minute, 47 second movie exports to 1,616 frames (107 frames x 15.1 frames per second = 1,616). This might take awhile, so set it to export and get
Figure 8-22. Yup, 1,627 frames of Star Wars goodness
On a PC, QuickTime gave us 1,616 frames for the same trailer—not sure why, but there it is, shown in Figure 8-23.
Figure 8-23. Hmm, only 1,616 frames on a PC
8.9.5. Transferring the Photo Sequence to the iPod photo
Now that we have 1,616 photos, we'll use the new features in iTunes to sync the photos over the iPod photo.
On a PC, choose Edit Preferences iPod, choose Photos and click Choose Folder. Select the folder you saved all the images to from QuickTime. Figure 8-24 shows the iTunes options on Windows.
Figure 8-24. Windows options for iPod sync using photos
On a Mac, as with Windows, choose iTunes Preferences iPod. Figure 8-25 shows the iTunes options on Mac.
Once selected, you'll see the total number of photos that will be imported. iTunes will now convert (optimize) the images before they're sent over to the iPod photo. Once completed, they'll then be sent over, again, this might take awhile. Figure 8-26 shows the iPod syncing with the photos.
8.9.6. Playing the "Movie" on the iPod photo
After the photos are synced over to the iPod photo, disconnect the iPod from the dock. To listen to the sound while you play the movie, choose Music Songs Episode_III_Teaser_Trailer and press Play. To start the movie, choose Menu Menu Photos Photo Library. The iPod photo will spin up and display the thumbnails. Depending on where the soundtrack is, or where you want to start playing, click-wheel to a photo and press the center button. As it plays, quickly spin your finger around the wheel to get a "movie-like playback.
With practice, you can play clips of movies and, for the most part, it looks as you'd expect: kinda crummy. So, what does it look like to play "movies" on the iPod photo? Figure 8-27 shows the trailer being
Figure 8-25. Mac options for iPod sync using photos
Figure 8-26. Syncing the photos, which might take a while
Figure 8-27. Playing the trailer on the iPod photo
8.9.7. Hacking the Hack
A simple but very cool version of this is to create virtual reality (VR) objects or 3D views of an object and import them to the iPod. On example is an iPod on an iPod that the folks over at Griffin made and sent along to me. To make your own, just take a few photos of an object at different
Figure 8-28. 3-D in print (it's there… really)
I didn't have time to document the best use of this simple trick, but I'll be working on it shortly. That use, of course, is to export The Wizard of Oz and play it along with the Dark Side of the Moon. If you don't know what we're talking about, follow the yellow brick road at http://www.everwonder.com/david/wizardofoz/.
8.9.8. Okay, Really Playing Movies…
Now that being said, the screens on the iPod are quite nice, and if real movie playback were possible, it wouldn't be that bad at all. We're hoping that Apple considers it, but if they don't, there are tons of alternatives. And, of course, if you'd really like to play movies on a portable device, you can hold off on that $500 iPod photo purchase and pick up an Archos, Creative Zen, or about
— Phillip Torrone
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