qt_export [options] [source-media-file new-media-file]










--datarate=kilobytes-per-second --keyframerate=frames-per-key-frame


qt_export lets you convert (or ``export'') QuickTime movies (and other file foramts) to new QuickTime movies (and other file formats). In general the file formats are inferred from the file name extensions.

For example, qt_export bar.aiff will extract the audio from a QuickTime movie into an AIFF audio file.

Command line options let you change some of the parameters QuickTime uses to export a movie. Additionally, you can invoke QuickTime's built-in export dialog, and save those settings for reuse.



This switch brings up the standard QuickTime export dialog. The dialog is applied after any loaded settings or command line switches. The kind of dialog will be affected by the kind of destination file (inferred from the file extension) and by the --exporter option.


If you have previously saved some export settings then you can reuse them with this switch. These settings are appled before any command line switches which affect the export settings.


You may save your export settings for reuse. (You may wish to use ``qt_atom export-settings-file'' to see the private contents.)


You can select a particular QuickTime exporter by type. Use ``qt_info --type=spit'' to see a complete list of such exporters.


You may choose to export only a portion of the movie. These times are specified in seconds. These may be decimal fractions.


--video=0 to disable video export.

Comma-separated values are all optional; any omitted value will receive a reasonable default.

compressor is a four-character ID for the image compression component to be used. Use ``qt_info --type=imdc'' to see a complete list of such compressors. (See Appendix A.)

frame-rate is given in frames per second, and may be a fractional number, such as 29.97 (for broadcast video) or 0.1 (for a 10-second per frame slide show).

quality ranges from 0 to 100.

bits-per-pixel is not used by most compressors.

--audio=0 to disable audio export.

compressor is a four-character ID for the audio compression component to be used. (See Appendix B.)

sample-rate is the number of samples per second, and may be a fractional value.

bits-per-sample is ignored by most audio compressors; typically 8 or 16.

channels is 1 for mono or 2 for stereo.


QuickTime will try to limit the data rate of the exported video track to this value.


The video compressor will insert periodic sync frames (sometimes called key frames) at this rate. (Not supported by all compressors.)


If the source name contains digits and a sequence rate is specified, then qt_export will import an image sequence. It will look for any files which are part of the same sequence, and append them all into a movie. It will then export the movie with the video settings specified.


Show abbreviated help.


Show this man page, compiled right into the tool, to keep it tidy and self contained.



Use all default settings to recompress to The default video compressor is Sorenson 3 (SVQ3) at 50% quality, maintaining the source movie's frame rate, and one key frame for every sixty frames. The default audio compressor is raw ('twos') set to 44100 samples per second, stereo.

qt_export video.dv

Convert a QuickTime movie to a digital video stream.

qt_export sourcemovie.dv video.mp4 --dodialog

Convert a digital video stream to an MPEG 4 file, letting you choose the exact settings in an export settings dialog.

qt_export soundfile.aif
qt_export infile.wav outfile.mp3
qt_export infile.mp3

Audio formats can be freely interconverted. If the source is a movie, the audio will be extracted. (Saving to .mp3 is only available if you have installed LAMEEncoder.component into /System/Library/QuickTime.)

qt_export --sequencerate=15 sourcepicture_123.jpg --video=mjpa

Look for files named sourcepicture_000.jpg, sourcepicture_001, ..., sourcepicture_999.jpg, and append any which are found into a new movie named Use ``Motion JPEG A'' compression.

qt_export --dodialog

This will invoke the QuickTime movie export dialog and save the settings to a file. No movie will be exported.

qt_export --dodialog --exporter=BMPf
qt_export --exporter=BMPf foo.jpg foo.pict

Create a settings file for BMPf (Windows .bmp) export, and use those settings to convert a JPEG file.

qt_export --video=cvid download.mpg

Convert an MPEG file to a Cinepak movie, keeping the same frame rate. (As it turns out, QuickTime can not export the audio from an MPEG movie.)

qt_export --video=,10

Start with the settings in and override just the frame rate to 10 frames per second. Use these new settings to convert to

qt_export --duration=2,3.5

Recompress one and a half seconds starting two seconds in of into Use all default reasonable compressions settings.

qt_export mysong.mp3 --audio=aiff mysong.aiff

Convert an MP3 file to an AIFF file.

qt_export --exporter=BMPf,.... a_bmp_file.bmp --duration=20.4,987

Convert the frame of at time 20.4 seconds into a Windows-style bitmap file. (The second part of the duration is ignored.)


Current versions of DVD Studio Pro will automatically convert your source assets into appropriate formats. But if you wish, you can batch them with qt_export.

qt_export dvdmovie.mp2

To convert multiple files, first use --dodialog without a source or destination file to save your desired settings, then use the saved settings as many times as needed.

qt_export --video=mpg2 --dodialog qt_export dvdmovie_1.mp2 qt_export dvdmovie_2.mp2 ... (more files)

The MPEG2 exporter will write a .aif file next to the .mp2 file, and will halt with a confirmation dialog if the file already exists. This just what you DONT want for a batch job! So delete the .aif first.

APPENDIX A: Video Compressors

On my Mac, I see the following video compressors. (qt_thing --type='imco'.)

        8BPS "Apple Planar RGB"
        SVQ1 "Sorenson Video Compressor"
        SVQ3 "Sorenson Video 3 Compressor"
        WRLE "Apple BMP"
        cvid "Apple Cinepak"
        dvc  "Apple DV/DVCPRO - NTSC"
        dvcp "Apple DV - PAL"
        dvpp "Apple DVCPRO - PAL"
        h261 "Apple H.261"
        h263 "Apple H.263"
        jpeg "Apple Photo - JPEG"
        mjp2 "JPEG 2000 Encoder"
        mjpa "Apple Motion JPEG A"
        mjpb "Apple Motion JPEG B"
        mp4v "Apple MPEG4 Compressor"
        png  "Apple PNG"
        raw  "Apple None"
        rle  "Apple Animation"
        rpza "Apple Video"
        smc  "Apple Graphics"
        tga  "Apple TGA"
        tiff "Apple TIFF"
        yuv2 "Apple Component Video - YUV422"

APPENDIX B: Audio Compressors

On my Mac, I see the following audio compressors. (qt_thing --type='scom'.)

        MAC3 "MACE 3:1"
        MAC6 "MACE 6:1"
        QDM2 "QDesign Music 2"
        Qclp "Qualcomm PureVoice"
        alaw "ALaw 2:1"
        fl32 "32-bit Floating Point"
        fl64 "64-bit Floating Point"
        ima4 "IMA 4:1"
        in24 "24-bit Integer"
        in32 "32-bit Integer"
        mp4a "MPEG-4 Audio"
        sowt "16-bit Little Endian"
        twos "16-bit Big Endian"
        ulaw "mu-Law 2:1"

APPENDIX C: QuickTime Exporters

On my Mac, I see the following exporters. (qt_thing --type='spit'.)

    3gpp:appl     "3G"
    AIFF:musi     "AIFF"
    AIFF:soun     "AIFF"
    BMPf:....     "BMP"
    FLC :appl     "FLC"
    MPEG:....     "MPEG2"
    MPG :Roxi     "Toast Video CD"
    Midi:musi     "Standard MIDI"
    MooV:appl     "QuickTime Movie"
    MooV:hint     "Hinted Movie"
    MooV:vrob     "Interframe Compressed VR Object Movie"
    MooV:vrsp     "Separate Single-Node Movies"
    MooV:vrwe     "Fast Start QuickTime VR Movie"
    PICT:....     "Picture"
    TEXT:text     "Text"
    TEXT:tx3g     "QuickTime TeXML"
    ULAW:soun     "?Law"
    VfW :appl     "AVI"
    WAVE:soun     "Wave"
    dvc!:appl     "DV Stream"
    embd:....     "QuickTime Media Link"
    grex:appl     "Image Sequence"
    mpg4:appl     "MPEG-4"
    sfil:soun     "System 7 Sound"
    snd :soun     "Sound"


qt_tools(1), qt_atom(1), qt_info(1), qt_thing(1)


For some codecs or exporter types, you MUST use the --dodialog option. Combined with the --savesettings and --loadsettings options you can then set up a batch process. But you have to use the --dodialog once to get the export configured just right. Tragically, not all exporters properly export their configurability in an API-accessible fashion.

Cannot be used in remote contexts -- such as via PHP on a web page -- because QuickTime apparently requires an existing display, even if not drawing to the screen.


David Van Brink, email , subject line must begin with ``quicktime''.

This software is provided as-is, &c.

This software is FREEWARE. There is no compensation expected. In return, I'll try to fix bugs if you find them. Hope that's ok with you.