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Hint Tracks

Movies that are intended for streaming via QuickTime Streaming Server must be hinted—that is, they need a hint track for every streamable media track. The hint tracks tell the server exactly how to package the media data for the network.

Note: Not all media types can be streamed. QuickTime VR movies and Flash tracks will not stream and must be delivered locally (from a hard disk or LAN), so QuickTime VR and Flash tracks do not need hinting. All other media types do.

It’s easy to add hint tracks to prepare your movie for streaming.

    Step 1
Open the movie in QuickTime Player.


    Step 2
If the movie is not self-contained, choose Save As and save it as a self-contained movie—otherwise, the hinted movie will contain references to the media tracks in the original movie, which would also have to be on the server.


    Step 3
Choose Export from the File menu. Name the movie using the .mov suffix.


    Step 4
Simplest hinting method: If the movie is already compressed and the data rate is set, choose Movie to Hinted Movie from the Export pop-up menu. Choose Default Settings from the Use popup; these usually work fine. Hit OK and you’re done.


    Step 5
If you still need to set video compression and other parameters, first choose Movie to QuickTime Movie. (Note that Movie to QuickTime Movie deletes MIDI music and renders text tracks as video, so if you want to stream MIDI or text add these types of tracks after you compress the movie, then export using Movie to Hinted Movie.)


  Step 6
For audio-only movies, you can set compression and create hint tracks in one step. Choose the proper setting from the Use pop-up, according to the characteristics of the movie you are streaming and the bandwidth of the anticipated connection. For example, choose Streaming 20kbps — Music to compress your audio movie with the QDesign Music compressor and hint it for a dial-up connection.


  Step 7
If the movie contains video, click Options . . . to see the Movie Settings dialog. Choose the video size and compressor settings in the Video section and the audio compressor settings in the Sound section. Check the Prepare for Internet Streaming box and choose Hinted Streaming from the pop-up menu.


  Step 8
While you are still in the Movie Settings dialog, you can tweak the streaming compression and data rate. Click on the Settings.... button to open the Hint Exporter Settings dialog. Check Optimize Hints for Server so that the hint tracks will have the media data embedded in them. That way, the server can read the hint and media track packets all at once, which increases the number of viewers the server can support—at the cost of a file that is almost twice as large.


  Step 9
From the Hint Exporter Settings dialog, click on Track Hinter Settings to change the default compressors and data rates for each streamable track. Generally, don’t do this without specialized knowledge of each compressor’s capabilities and the parameters of your network. For example, if you know the maximum packet size your network allows, you can set that as the streaming packet size. You can also increase the number and frequency of data repetitions for text and music to improve the playback of those tracks; however, this will drive up the data rate.

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