Multimedia Mac Guide

Multimedia Mac Guide
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Video Editing and Authoring

One of the most popular uses for Mac OS X is the editing and authoring of videos. Whether you’re taking advantage of the iMovie software that ships as part of the iLife suite or you’re using third-party software such as Final Cut, your Mac will be able to deliver quality processing of normal and high-definition video content.

Various video editing software is available for iMacs, MacBooks and Mac Minis, and the best of these will allow you to edit together files, add soundtracks, compress and burn your production to optical disc or share it online!

Media File Compatibility and Codecs

To truly enjoy multimedia on Mac OS X you will need to have full compatibility with different types of media files, such as those used on other platforms (such as Windows). This is often achieved by way of codecs, system files that enable the Mac OS X media players to playback media files that aren’t natively supported.

There is one way of making sure you have all of the codecs you will need for watching all types of popular movie files in QuickTime in Mac OS X, but there is an alternative option. Instead of using QuickTime, VLC Player is available for OS X and this open source media player comes with its own codecs built-in!

TV & Video

You can’t describe your Mac as providing a true multimedia experience if you haven’t tried playing DVDs or Blu-ray discs, but did you know that you can also use it to watch TV?

There are different ways of doing this, from Internet TV to connecting a TV receiver to your Mac, and you can even view content played back on your Mac through TV! Don’t forget that your Mac has a hard disk drive, and with the right software this can be used to record TV, allowing you to enjoy your Mac as a digital video recorder or DVR and all of the recording and delayed viewing options that this brings!

Media Players for Mac

By default you will probably use iTunes for listening to music and QuickTime for viewing video clips, but did you know that there are many other media players available for Mac OS X? Among the most popular is VLC Player, a useful open source option that can be used to play back virtually any media file that is in use. You should also check JahPlayer, however.

If you’re planning on enjoy audio and video on your Mac and you have it in your main living area or within easy reach, you might consider the Boxee media center software. This is capable of organizing your audio and video clips and playing them back either on your Mac or on a connected TV!

Organizing iTunes

Managing music on your Mac is best achieved with iTunes, the popular audio player and syncing software so beloved by MP3 player and iPhone owners. Keeping track of what files are where in iTunes can be difficult with long-term use, particularly if you have been lucky enough not to have had to move or migrate your data following a hard disk failure.

Being aware of the basics of file organization and the tools that you can use to fix any issues with duplicate files is a great advantage to have in the event of a hardware failure.

Using iTunes

Actually using iTunes is another matter entirely, particularly if you are taking advantage of online access to receive album art and full data about your audio files. This usually works quite well but from time to time you may experience issues.

You might also come across problems playing back MP3s. This shouldn’t be anything that cannot be fixed, however, as iTunes can playback many audio formats such as AAC (also known as M4A), Apple Lossless, WAV and others.

Problems with iTunes can usually be resolved by reinstalling the software, but if you’re having real problems you might consider removing it…

Audio Editing and Authoring

As well as enjoying music and podcasts with iTunes, you might use your multimedia Mac OS X machine for recording audio and editing the results. Thanks to the iLife digital music studio suite GarageBand you can enjoy the experience of being a desktop music producer, but this is only the tip of the iceberg of options. You might also use Logic or Fission to record and edit your tracks, for instance.

There is more to editing audio than simply mixing tracks, of course. You might wish to save your finished tracks to CD and share them, or export MIDI data to another application or computer.

Photos and Image Editing

No multimedia operating system is complete without tools to edit and organize photos, and Mac OS X is no exception. There is a wide selection of apps that you might choose from on your Mac, from iPhoto (available with iLife) to third-party solutions such as Pixelmator or Seashore. These tools offer different types of image editing for your Mac, but are all great for getting the best out of your digital photographs.