See frame numbers in QuickTime Player

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You know that feeling you get when you find that unexpected $5 bill stuck between the cushions of your sofa? Or when you first found the TiVo 30-second skip hack ? Or when you discovered that holding the Shift key in OS X will cause all those nifty visual effects (minimize to Dock, activate Dashboard, etc.) to happen in super-cool ultra slow motion? Well, today’s tip falls into that same category—a little something unexpected that’s been added to your system, thanks to a recent OS X software update—the QuickTime 7.1.6 Update.

Now, this new feature was documented in the update, sort of. Apple described it like this: “Timecode and closed captioning display in QuickTime Player.” The portion that intrigued me was the bit about timecode display; this is a more accurate way to see where you are in a given movie’s playback, which is important if you’re trying to make precise edits. What Apple didn’t say is that they also enabled the display of the frame number for each frame in the movie. I find this even more useful, as I’m not a pro editor, but I often want to make a cut or splice on a given frame number.

So how do you see these new features? It’s actually quite simple, if not obvious. In the bottom left portion of the QuickTime window, next to the progress bar, there’s a timestamp that shows the position of the playhead in hours, minutes and seconds. If you’ve updated to QuickTime 7.1.6, try clicking on the time display. When you do, you’ll see a drop-down menu like this one:

Depending on the source of your clip, you may or may not see the timecode option, but you should always have the Standard and Frame Number options.

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