Apple, please stop removing pre-existing functionality

I’ve just learned the heavy price we’re paying for the new functionality in the Snow Leopard variant of QuickTime. For all that was added, a lot was removed.

Before I get into it, I’ll acknowledge that for those of us who’d previously paid the Apple Tax for QuickTime Pro luckily still have the previous QuickTime Player application. It’s been moved to the Utilities folder—and thanks to someone at Apple who had the presence of mind to allow it to retain all its functionality.

As for the new QuickTime Player, I have numerous observations of behavior and gotchas. As much as Apple might have you believe that the new version folds in all the features that were available in QuickTime Pro, I most heartily assure you it’s only a half-baked effort:

  1. Definitely the least important of my list, but what purpose does it serve to have jumped the version number of QuickTime Player from 7 to 10, banning versions 8 and 9 to presumably never see the light of day?
  2. No preferences? Anywhere? Both the app preferences and System Preference pane for QuickTime are gone?
  3. JKL editing is gone. This is the function that lets the J, K, and L keys act as the “shuttle” portion of video jog/shuttle control. In QuickTime Player 7 Pro, the L key plays forward and J key plays backward. The K key stops playback. Successive presses of the J or L keys will play increasingly faster in the current direction: 2x, 4x, etc. In addition, If playing forward at 2X and the J key is pressed once, playback slows to 1X.
  4. Command+Left and Right arrows sort of serve as JKL editing now, but using them immediately starts at 2X playback. I find no way to play backward at 1X.
  5. Also, use of Command+Left and Right doesn’t exist in Trim mode where it would be most useful.
  6. I and O keyboard shortcuts to mark In and Out points for trimming are gone.
  7. The playhead in Trim mode has no counter associated with it and you cannot drag it.
  8. It is now impossible to find edit points based on the audio track since JKL editing is gone and Command+Left and Right arrows are mostly useless. In QuickTime Player 7 Pro, I have often swashed forward and backward in a small region of time to find an edit point just ahead of where someone starts talking, for example, hitting the I key to mark that spot as an In point when the playhead is where I want to start.
  9. There was a trick of clicking the counter to switch to frame numbers instead of time. That’s gone in the new QuickTime Player.
  10. The Information window is still the same but the Movie Properties and A/V Controls windows are gone.

There’s probably lots more that I’m not thinking about at this time, but will be sure to turn up soon. All I can say is, it’s clear that QuickTime Player 10 SHOULD NOT be regarded as a replacement for version 7 of QuickTime Player Pro, and those of us who used those features should keep our collective fingers crossed and drink plenty of the Kool-Aid that even if we have to use a different player application, Apple will not drop any possibility of using the features in any way, shape, or form in QuickTime.

3 Responses

  1. ssp says:

    The inability to play backwards at 1× speed does seem odd (but, frankly, for a playback application I never understood the point of playing back at the wrong speed anyway, particularly as modern compression formats make performance when doing so horrible). I found that you can option-click the rewind button to play backwards at ?1.1× which should be close).

    I am not into video editing, so I don’t mind too much in practice. Perhaps this scrapping of features can be seen as a way to make the _Player_ in the application’s name more dominant. In a good case scenario Apple will reinstate the ‘Pro’ tax and start selling a QuickTime app that’s aimed at simple editing and a bit less clumsy than the old QuickTime Player. That could turn in into a ‘win-win’ situation.

  2. Lee Bennett says:

    The deal with playback speed, both forward and backward, was more beneficial to me just for quickly navigating around to find specific points to do editing, especially since this method let me still hear the audio track. No audio scrubbing when simply dragging the playhead around. For general playback, no, I seldom had much use of playing at the wrong speed.

  3. Lee Bennett says:

    I haven’t confirmed this yet, but apparently, people are finding that while the relocation of QuickTime 7 Player to the Utilities folder is automatic if you’d already had a Pro license, but that the Optional Installs on the Snow Leopard disc includes the QT7 player that you can install if you didn’t previously have QuickTime Pro. All that remains to be confirmed is whether this QT7 Player includes all the pro features even if you didn’t previously have QuickTime Pro.

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