non-scripting animator in quicktime hell....

dear scripters

I was wondering if anyone could help me with a quicktime script. I’m a stop motion animator and I use a dslr to record my frames. Every few frames (about every second or so… or 24 frames) I like to open up a quicktime image sequence and put it into final cut pro to check my timing against the dialogue and generally see a slightly higher res than the one my video split throws out. Now my jpegs are straight from the camera and pretty large (never mind the RAWs I’m using for the final thing… huge, and once you start getting a thousand or so of them together I can’t even bear thinking about it) so i have to export and compress the image sequence to replay it at all. Now I’ve found that asking quicktime to export it to a certain size takes forever but if i just grab the window and shrink it on the desktop and then ask quicktime to export it at the current size it’s much quicker (if anyone can tell me why that is, I’d be curious to find out)… anyway this whole process is driving me crazy and also leads to a kind of animator’s torpor where i lose track of what i’m doing while i perform this rather mechanical task. i’ve found ikey which helps a bit but it doesn’t account for the time it takes for the frames to actually render in quicktime… as you can imagine for a 10 second shot i’ve checked it about 6-8 times and each time the sequence is getting longer and then ikey misses its cues (but how cool when the cursor moves by itself!). i’m also working from a g4 powerbook so my screen is jam packed with windows… the image capture software, final cut, quicktime… just finding the right window is becoming a nightmare as well.

I’m an animator not a scripter. i’ve looked through the forums but i can’t find anything a noob could alter or even close to this workflow. If anyone would find working this one out a gentle and entertaining challenge than I’d be more than grateful… or even any suggestions on how to make it more streamlined in its current state… or point me to a script i could have a bash at modifying.

my current manual work-flow is…

  1. switch to quicktime
  2. open image sequence
  3. whoooo the image is 4 times bigger than my screen (camera defaults - I can’t change it to a smaller jpeg and still get the RAWs)
  4. press apple 3… now its screen size
  5. grab window and drag to postcard size (size isn’t all that critical as it’s just a reference movie)… it’s still too big to play smoothly though
  6. export as quicktime at current size using H.thingamy compression
  7. open the new exported movie - yee ha it plays…
  8. play it again and again - perhaps weep or shout at this point.
  9. drag it into final cut pro and check it against my sound track.
  10. play it again and again - either to confirm the miracle of lip-synch or to wail at the lack of the former. shuffle it around a bit… it’s amazing what you can get away with.
  11. think about next step re puppet actors.
  12. notice dog is on couch
  13. shout at dog to get off the couch
  14. oh yeah maybe a cup of tea would be good at this point.
  15. get tea
  16. oh yeah i’ve got this movie to shoot. i completely forgot.

anyway no matter how much you write end tell you’re never going to get my dog from sleeping on the couch and the cups of tea are a sure fire distraction but if there is any way i could just start a script that just pops out a movie (oh and absolute joy… would name each exported .mov sequentially … i get so many of them and i keep the final one from each sequence for the editor so he can see what my addled thought processes were when i shot it and then we discard those ideas and make it better with the sooper dooper hi-res version later, so i need to name them according to the folder they are in)

any help absolutely appreciated. I can post a picture of the dog not responding to applescript at all if that helps any.


Hey… I genuinely liked your post, except that (to me) it reads more like a ‘Personals’ ad than a request for scripting help.

Ditch the dog… I’m at least trainable.

Hoot hoot.

Peter B.

Hi Jane,

welcome to MacScripter

I don’t use FCP so I can’t help with this part,
but the QuickTime part might be not very difficult.

First, you need a script to save the export settings of the current open movie.
Make your adjustments and save the settings with the following (it’s a part of Apple’s QuickTime scripts).
QuickTime Pro is required:

tell application "QuickTime Player"
		if not (exists movie 1) then error "No movies are open."
		stop every movie
		set the target_file to choose file name with prompt "name & location for the QT settings file:"
		save export settings movie 1 for QuickTime movie to target_file with replacing
	on error error_message number error_number
		if the error_number is not -128 then
			display dialog error_message buttons {"Cancel"} default button 1
		end if
	end try
end tell

the second script is a simple example how to open an image sequence, scale the screen size and export the movie
as a QuickTime movie. In the first line you have to change the literal string to the colon separated path to the settings file
you’ve created with the first script. The open image sequence command expects consecutive named images.
With the commented out frames per second you can change the fps value of the pictures.

property mySettings : "path:to:QTsettings"

set Imagepath to choose folder
tell application "Finder" to tell (get 1st file of Imagepath) to set {firstPicture, fPName} to {it, its name}
tell application "QuickTime Player"
	open image sequence (firstPicture as alias) -- frames per second 15
	tell movie 1
		set scale to half
		export to file ((Imagepath as Unicode text) & fPName & ".mov") as QuickTime movie replacing yes using settings (mySettings as alias)
		close saving no
	end tell
	open ((Imagepath as Unicode text) & fPName & ".mov")
end tell

Greetings to your dog, my Bernese Montain Dog doesn’t speak AppleScript either :wink:

Hey thank you Stefan. I really appreciate it AND I can see what you’ve done. A ha! I get it! I can imagine scripting has a sort of “doing a crossword” sort of satisfaction to it.

BUT I’m having problems getting the correct file path for the second script. I’ve tried it with colons and then with backslashes but the second script can’t find the file. Am I missing something really obvious in how you specify this? Am I right in assuming it’s just the path to that newly created file? ie /Users/spudster/Desktop/QTsettings (since my computer is indeed called spudster and I just saved the settings file to the desktop) and I guessed (wrongly) you meant Users:spudster:Desktop:QTsettings… I tried a few fancy variations but couldn’t get any to work.

could you advise where I’m going wrong?

Greetings to your noble alpine working beast as well. I’m not sure what mine is, I think she is a sea-level Sydney Couch Terrier. Also noble but in a different sort of way.

and peter, i’m glad you enjoyed my post! and no it wasn’t a personal ad! I really could do with something that would simplify my workflow a little but once I started writing out what I needed to do and saw the dog and thought about how she is in her own small brown furry way a part of the workflow too, I just couldn’t help myself. And anyway I’m all for a few jokes in a post, makes for more entertaining reading:D

If the file is on desktop, use

((path to desktop) as Unicode text) & "QTsettings"

in this case I recommend, to change the property line to

set mySettings to ((path to desktop) as Unicode text) & "QTsettings"

The full path would be Macintosh HD:Users:spudster:Desktop:QTsettings, it starts always with the name of the volume


I was all set to edit (out) my silly reply this morning, thinking you might have taken it wrong.

Glad I haven’t offended… and glad to welcome a new member with a sense of humor.

There is (often) EXCELLENT scripting advice at this forum. Sadly, I am not (often) the one offering it.

Pleased to know I didn’t run you off directly.

Apologies (if appropriate)…

Peter B.

whoo hooo it works! thanks stefan… and doh! on the file name (I knew it would be something vaguely embarrassing like that). this has been something that has been bugging me for weeks and I’ve got another few weeks to go on this thing so it’s a great help.

this scripting thing is FANTASTIC… i’ve never really touched it before. I might even become a convert once I emerge from self-imposed exile from my shed/studio. are there any good sources for beginners info? everything i’ve seen seems to have a fair bit of assumed knowlege. I don’t really understand the vocabulary of it all.

and peter, no apologies neccessary as no offence taken… thank you for the welcome to the board!



Take a look at and search for tutorial, there are lots of comprehensive articles.
I also recommend AppleScript for Absolute Starters, a PDF file with the basics