Lion: What's New

What's new in Lion: QuickTime and Preview

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Lion: What's New

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QuickTime Player X, the version of the application that shipped With Snow Leopard, stripped out the many editing features found in its predecessor (QuickTime Player Pro 7). With the version of QuickTime Player that comes with Lion, Apple has restored some of those editing and exporting tools—and made them easier to use, too.

Specifically, the new version of QuickTime Player (10.1) provides two new export commands in the File menu: Export and Export for Web. But if you were hoping for the wealth of export options available in QuickTime Player Pro 7, you’ll be disappointed. QuickTime provides just a handful of templated options: 420p; 720p; iPod touch & iPhone 3GS; and iPad, iPhone 4 & Apple TV. The Export for Web command provides three options: Wi-Fi (H.264, 1-mbps maximum data rate), Cellular (H.264, 220-kbps max) and Broadband (H.264, 5-mbps).

Export options in the Share menu have been expanded. Not only can you export to iTunes, MobileMe Galleries, and YouTube (as you could with the previous version of QuickTime Player X), but now also to Vimeo, Flickr, Facebook, and Mail. When you choose one of these options (except for Mail) you’ll be asked to enter your login information and password for the service you’ve chosen.

When it comes to editing, Lion’s QuickTime Player is very clip-centric, much like Apple’s iMovie app for iOS. For instance, choose View -> Show Clips (Command-E) and a clip viewer appears at the bottom of the movie window. Here you can drag the playhead to wherever you like in the movie. Once you’ve planted your playhead, you can then choose Edit -> Split Clip (Command-Y) to create two clips in the clip viewer. You can then select one clip and drag it to a new location (other clips will move aside to make room for a dragged clip).

You can also trim a selected clip by choosing Edit -> Trim (Command-T) or by double-clicking on a clip. When you do so, a very iOS-like trim bar appears. You drag one end of it or the other to wherever you want, then click the Trim button to shorten the clip. You can also add clips to an existing movie, either by choosing Edit -> Insert Clip After Selection or by selecting a movie in the Finder and dragging it into an open QuickTime movie. Drag it into the viewing portion of the movie window, and the dragged movie will be appended to the end of the QuickTime movie as an additional clip. Drag it instead into the clip viewer, and you can place it at the beginning, end, or between clips. If you drag an audio file into a movie window, that file will be added as a separate audio clip. Regrettably, there appears to be no way to adjust the volume of the audio clip or the movie clip. You can, however, select audio clips and trim them just as you can video clips.

Select View -> Show Clips, and a clip viewer appears at the bottom of the window.


Lion’s QuickTime Player also adds more flexible screen recording. When you choose File -> New Screen Recording and click the Record button in the resulting window, you can choose to record either the entire screen or just a portion of it (by dragging a selection rectangle over the Desktop). You can also choose to show mouse-clicks—which appear as a circle surrounding the cursor as long as the mouse button or track pad is held down. Regrettably, by default, QuickTime Player doesn’t allow you to capture the Mac’s internal audio.

Finally, like much of the rest of Lion, QuickTime Player now supports touch gestures. When a movie isn’t playing, you can drag two fingers right or left to scrub forward or back. When a movie is playing, you use these same gestures to fast-forward and rewind, respectively.


At first blush, the Lion version of Apple’s PDF and graphics viewing and annotation application doesn’t seem significantly different from the previous version. Some menu commands have been shuffled and toolbars rejiggered, but the interface is similar. The most significant new feature is Signatures. Within Preview you have the option to capture and append a picture of your written signature to a PDF file.

Signatures in Preview
Scan your signature into Preview, and you can then embed it into digital forms.

To do this, you open an unlocked PDF file, choose View -> Show Annotations Toolbar, and from the Signature menu that appears in this toolbar, choose Create Signature from Built-in iSight. A Signature Capture window appears. You then scrawl your signature on a piece of white paper (black ink, please) and hold that up to your Mac’s camera, aligning it with the blue line that appears on screen. A preview of your signature will appear to the right of the camera screen. When you’re ready, click Accept to capture your signature.

The next time you click on the Signature menu, you’ll see the signature you captured. To add it to a PDF, you select it and drag it into the PDF window. You can then resize and move the signature where you want it. While this is not as secure (or acceptable, in some jurisdictions) as a true digital signature, it’s helpful when you need to affix your John Hancock to an electronic form before returning it.

Preview adds a couple of less notable features. You now have a wider variety of annotation styles available to you, including outlined text, boxed text, speech bubble, and thought bubble. You can also call up a magnifier (Tools -> Show Magnifier) to impose a rectangular magnifying glass over a document. This is a useful way to zoom in on a particular bit of text without having to zoom the entire document. Also, this version of Preview includes an Annotations list that details every annotation that’s been added to a file.

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At a Glance
  • At $30 for all of your Macs, the only reason not to upgrade to Lion is because you rely on old PowerPC-based apps that won’t run on it. Otherwise, it’s a great price for a major upgrade.

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