QuickTime versus Video for Windows Flash

Because QuickTime has the powerful capability to store a combination of multimedia tracks, Flash supports the QuickTime format with its Export and Publish commands. Although PC Flashers can also export Video for Windows files, these files don’t support a Flash track. The differences between these two formats are intricate. But before we talk about the intricacies, how do you recognize one from the other? The QuickTime file extension is .MOV (from the Macintosh File Type MooV), while the Video for Windows’ file extension is .AVI (Audio-Video Interleaved format).

Video content is usually delivered in wrapper formats for distribution. Two primary system-level container formats or wrappers exist for video content on computer systems today: QuickTime and Video for Windows. Although both can be considered architectures for multimedia content, QuickTime has the most advanced architecture of the two. (Technically, RealSystems’ RealPlayer is also a container format for multimedia, but it’s only used for delivery it cannot be used for editing and reediting material.) Before Windows 95, multimedia developers relied on the QuickTime architecture on the Macintosh to make their multimedia components work together harmoniously. That’s because QuickTime for Windows lacked many of the Mac’s QuickTime features until its 3.0 release, which finally delivered to Windows the same multitrack interactivity that Mac users had enjoyed from the start. With QuickTime 4, both Windows and Mac versions can play Flash 3 content Flash 4 and 5 features are not supported by QuickTime 4. Flash 3 content can be embedded as an interface to control another QuickTime video or audio track, or even as an enhancement to Sprite animation.

The only difference between QuickTime files on the Mac and the PC is that movies made on the Macintosh can internally reference media content from either a resource or data fork, whereas movies made on the PC cannot. Because the two operating systems have different file and directory structures, this referencing system can’t be carried over to the PC. Consequently, most Mac movies need to be flattened in order to work properly on the PC flattening means that all material referenced in the resource fork of the Mac QuickTime is compiled into one data fork, which is then accessible by all operating systems. Usually, when you are rendering video content on the Mac, you are given an option to flatten (or not flatten) the final movie. A movie can also be flattened with QuickTime Player by selecting Make Movie Self-Contained when you save (or resave) the movie.

The major limitation of Video for Windows is that it only supports two tracks of multimedia content: video and audio. QuickTime, however, supports multiple media tracks: video, audio, Flash, text, Sprite, and time code tracks. Furthermore, using QuickTime Player, you can set up many options for each movie’s track, such as preloading into memory and enabling high quality. QuickTime 4, which is the latest version, also enables you to create reference movies specifically designed for the varying speeds of Internet connections. Using the free Apple utility, MakeRefMovie, you can create different versions of the same movie with a range of file sizes.

Depending on the visitor’s QuickTime plug-in settings, the proper movie downloads to the computer. For example, if the connection speed setting of the plug-in is set to ISDN, the visitor receives the ISDN-version of the movie, which is of better quality and as you’ve learned in this introduction also bigger in file size.

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