OS X Mavericks For Dummies (2014)
Part III. Do Unto Mavericks: Getting Things Done
Chapter 13. The Multimedia Mac
In This Chapter
Playing movies and music with QuickTime Player
Reading books with iBooks
Taking pictures and movies with Photo Booth
Opening, viewing, printing, and converting file formats with Preview
Importing media — photos and videos — to your Mac
“Media content” is more than just music (the topic of Chapter 12), and your Mac is ready, willing, and able to handle almost any type of media (with any type of content) you can throw at it. Which is why, in addition to the aforementioned iTunes, OS X Mavericks includes applications for viewing and working with media such as DVD movie discs and QuickTime movie ‘files, as well as graphics in a variety of file formats such as PDF, TIFF, and JPEG.
In this chapter, you look at some bundled applications you can use to work with such media — namely, DVD Player, QuickTime Player, Preview, Photo Booth, and Image Capture — followed by a brief section about importing your own media (photos and videos) into your Mac.
Playing Movies and Music in QuickTime Player
QuickTime is Apple's technology for digital media creation, delivery, and playback. It's used in a myriad of ways by programs such as Apple's iMovie, by websites such as YouTube (www.youtube.com), and in training videos delivered on CD or DVD.
QuickTime Player is the OS X application that lets you view QuickTime movies as well as streaming audio and video, QuickTime VR (Virtual Reality), and many types of audio files as well. The quickest way to launch it is by clicking its icon in the Dock. It also opens automatically when you open some QuickTime movie document files.
I say “some” QuickTime movies because some will open QuickTime Player and others will open iTunes. To change the app that opens for a particular movie, right-click or Control-click its icon in the Finder and choose the application you prefer from the Open With submenu. This opens the file with that program this one time only. To make the change permanent, press Option, and the Open With command becomes the Always Open With command.
To play a QuickTime movie, merely double-click its icon — and QuickTime Player (or iTunes) launches itself.
Using QuickTime Player couldn’t be easier. All its important controls are available right in the player window, as shown in Figure 13-1.
Figure 13-1: QuickTime Player is simple to use.
Here are a few more QuickTime Player features you might find useful:
The Movie Inspector window (Window⇒Show/Hide Movie Inspector or +I) provides a lot of useful information about the current movie, such as its location on your hard drive, file format, frames per second, file size, and duration.
The Trim control (Edit⇒Trim or +T) lets you delete frames from the beginning and/or end of a movie.
The Share Menu lets you send your movies to others via the Mail or Messages apps; publish them to iTunes so you can watch them on your iPods, iPhones, and AppleTVs; send them to iMovie for additional editing and post-production work; or upload them to YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, or Facebook, and other similar sites.
See Chapter 17 for details about Mavericks’ cool AirPlay Mirroring option, which lets you “mirror” what’s on your Mac screen and view it on an HDTV wirelessly. The only thing you need is an Apple TV ($99) connected to your HDTV.
One last thing: If you want to know about watching movies with Mavericks' DVD Player, it's covered in an online chapter. Check http://www.dummies.com/extras/osxmavericks.
iBooks: Finally on the Mac
Don’t be surprised if you have to answer this question from an inquisitive child someday: “Is it true, Grandpa, that people once read books on paper?”
Don’t get me wrong; I still love physical books as much as anyone and think they’ll be around a lot longer than you or I. But I also recognize the real-world benefits e-books have over paper ones including (but not limited to):
No more weight or bulk constraints: You can cart a whole bunch of e-books around when you travel on your iPad, iPhone, or MacBook Air or Pro without breaking your back. To the avid bookworm, this potentially changes the whole dynamic in the way you read. Because you can carry so many books wherever you go, you can read whatever type of book strikes your fancy at the moment, kind of like listening to a song that fits your current mood. You have no obligation to read a book from start to finish before opening a new bestseller just because that happens to be the one book, maybe two, that you have in your bag. In other words, weight constraints are out the window.
Feel like reading a trashy novel? Go for it. Rather immerse yourself in classic literature? Go for that. You might read a textbook, cookbook, or biography. Or gaze in wonder at an illustrated beauty. What’s more, you can switch among the various titles and styles of books at will before finishing any single title.
Flexible fonts and type sizes: With e-books, or as Apple calls ’em, iBooks, you can change the text size and fonts on the fly — quite useful for people with less than 20/20 vision.
Get the meaning of a word on the spot: No more searching for a physical dictionary. You can look up an unfamiliar word on the spot.
Search with ease: Need to do research on a particular subject? Enter a search term to find each and every mention of the subject in the book you’re reading.
Read in the dark: Your Mac has a high-resolution backlit display so that you can read without a lamp nearby, which is useful in bed when your partner is trying to sleep.
See all the artwork in color: Indeed, you’re making no real visual sacrifices anymore, as unlike early releases of iBooks, this one lets you experience (within certain limits of your hardware) stunning artwork that was once the exclusive province of big, expensive coffee-table books. (It’s also awesome for reading colorful children’s books.)
Believe it or not, prior to Mavericks there was no way for you to read an iBook on your Mac. While the iBooks app has been available on iDevices for years, Mavericks marks its first release on the Mac. Prior to Mavericks, you could shop for iBooks with iTunes on your Mac (or the iBooks app on your iDevice), but you could only read iBooks on an iDevice!
Now I have to say that a Mac usually isn’t my first choice for reading an iBook (or anything else for that matter); that honor goes to my iPad mini, which is the perfect size and weight for extended reading. That said, I recall many times I wished I could read an iBook on my MacBook Pro or even, occasionally, on the huge Mac Pro at my desk.
Everything that follows will make more sense if you’ve got at least one iBook in your library. So the first thing we’ll do is stock your virtual library with an iBook from the app’s built-in iBooks Store. Don’t worry. This won’t cost you a penny unless you want it to — the store is chock-full of free books!
So without further ado, here’s how to acquire some iBooks:
First things first — the iBooks app needs to be running, so launch it by either:
Single-clicking its Dock icon
Double-clicking its icon in the Applications folder
Single-clicking its icon in LaunchPad
Now click the Store button in the upper-left corner of the iBooks window, which is the button that says Library in Figure 13-2 because I’ve already clicked it.
If you think the iBooks Store looks suspiciously like the iTunes Store (see Chapter 12), you’re right. Until Mavericks was released, Mac users had to shop for iBooks in the iTunes Store using iTunes. You couldn’t use iTunes to read iBooks, mind you, but you could buy them like crazy with iTunes.
Now, in Mavericks, you can buy and read iBooks using the iBooks app on your Mac!
If you have purchased iBooks with iTunes, they should automatically appear in your iBooks Library. If you don’t see them in iBooks, choose File⇒Migrate from iTunes (+Shift+M), and in a minute or two you will (see them).
There are many ways to look for iBooks. At the top of the iBooks window are four tabs that represent different ways of browsing for iBooks. Click a tab — Featured, Top Charts, New York Times, or Top Authors — to browse its iBooks.
Figure 13-2: The iBooks Store’s Featured tab.
Of course you can also search for a book or author; just type a word or two into the search field near the upper right corner of the iBooks window and press Enter or Return.
When you see a book or ad that interests you, click it and details will fill the screen, as shown in Figure 13-3 for a book called Gingerbread Man, which topped the free books list the day these screen shots were captured (as shown in Figure 13-2).
Most books offer a free sample, a chapter or chapters you can download for free. Click the Sample button and a sample will appear in your iBooks Library within a few minutes.
One last thing: The little arrows to the right of the Library button are forward and back buttons (shortcuts: +[ and +]), which work like the forward and back buttons in the Finder and Safari. Click the one on the left to return to the previous screen; click the one on the right to move to the next screen (just like the iTunes Store).
Figure 13-3: Click the Free button to “buy” this book and add it to your iBooks Library.
When you’ve finished shopping, click the Library button in the upper-left corner of the iBooks window to return to your iBooks Library.
Shopping for books without Apple
iBooks can also handle books you acquire elsewhere, and it supports a technical standard called ePub, a format that offers hundreds of thousands of free and public domain books on the Web (see below). You can import such files into iBooks, so you don’t really ever have to shop in the iBook Store. The only possible gotcha is that the ePub titles must be DRM-free, which means free of any digital rights restrictions.
You can find ePub titles at numerous cyberspace destinations, among them
Google Play: Not all the books here are free, and Google has a downloadable app. http://play.google.com/store/books
Project Gutenberg: www.gutenberg.us
To import an ePub title, download the file to your Mac, fire up iBooks and either:
Choose File⇒Add to Library and then select the ePub file and click Add.
Drag the ePub file onto your iBooks Library.
Before we move on to reading iBooks, I feel obliged to mention that between the free books in the iBooks store and ePub books available from the sites above and elsewhere, there are tons of great books out there that are free and tons more that are good, pretty good, or okay (and free). The point is that you can read a lot without spending a dime if you so desire.
To start reading a book, double-click it and it leaps off the shelf, and at the same time, it opens to either the beginning of the book or the place where you left off, even if you left off reading on another device — an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or another Mac. That’s because iBooks uses your Apple ID to save your virtual place in your virtual book and syncs it among your devices (as long as the devices have Internet access).
Figure 13-4 shows two pages of text from a typical iBook.
Here’s how to actually read an iBook: To go to the next page, click in the right margin or press the right arrow key. To go to the previous page, click in the left margin or press the left arrow key. Click the Table of Contents button to jump to a specific chapter.
To jump to a specific page, move the cursor to the bottom of the iBooks window to make the scroll bar appear; then drag the scroll indicator left or right to move forward or back in your book. The current page number appears in a balloon below the scroll bar, as shown at the bottom ofFigure 13-4.
Though iBooks kindly returns you to the last page you were reading when you closed a book (on any device), you may want to bookmark a specific page so you can easily return to it. To do so, just click the Bookmarks button near the upper-right corner of the iBooks window. A red ribbon appears, signifying that a bookmark is in place. Click the red ribbon to remove the bookmark.
After setting a bookmark, you can return to it later by clicking the little triangle next to the Bookmarks button and selecting the desired bookmark from the drop-down menu.
To make the text bigger or smaller, click the Adjust Appearance button near the upper-right corner of the screen, and then click the uppercase A to make the type larger or the lowercase a to make it smaller.
Figure 13-4: This is what a book chapter looks like in iBooks.
If you want to change the font typeface, click the Adjust Appearance button and select the font style you want to switch to.
Your choices at this time are Original (the default), Athelas, Charter, Georgia, Iowan, Palatino, Seravek, and Times New Roman. I don’t necessarily expect you to know what these look like just by the font names — fortunately you get to examine the change right before your eyes. A check mark indicates the currently selected font style.
To change the page color, click White (the default), Sepia, or Night.
You can even use your Mac’s VoiceOver feature to have the book read to you aloud. It may not be quite like having Mom or Dad read you to sleep, but it can be a potential godsend for people with impaired vision. To listen instead of reading, click at the spot you want to begin from or select the text you want to hear. Now, choose Edit⇒Speech⇒Start Speaking and in a few seconds a robotic voice will begin reading you the story. To stop, simply choose Edit⇒Speech⇒Stop Speaking.
You’re the Star with Photo Booth
The Photo Booth application provides all the fun of an old-time (or new-time) photo booth like the ones you sometimes see in malls or stores. It lets you shoot one photo, shoot a burst of four photos in a row, or shoot a movie using your Mac’s built-in camera. If yours is one of the rare Macs with no built-in camera (such as the Mac Mini) or you own a USB or FireWire webcam better than the built-in model, you’ll be pleased to hear that most USB and FireWire webcams work with Photo Booth right out of the box with no drivers or other software necessary. Just launch Photo Booth and look in the Camera menu, where all compatible cameras appear.
If you have only one camera available — mine’s called FaceTime HD Camera (Built-in) — it’s selected automatically so you shouldn’t have to even bother with the Camera menu.
Photo Booth couldn’t be easier to use. Start by clicking one of the three buttons in the lower-left corner of the Photo Booth window: Burst (of four photos), Single Photo, or Movie, and then click the big, red camera button to take a picture, as shown in Figure 13-5.
Figure 13-5: Photo Booth about to take a picture of yours truly.
Before you shoot, you may want to explore the five pages of special effects — Sepia Tone, Color Pencil, Pop Art, and dozens more — by clicking the Effects button (lower right) and then clicking the particular effect you want to try. If you like it, click the big, red camera button and shoot a picture, pictures, or video; if you don’t, click the Effects button again and click another effect. Or, if you prefer to shoot with no effects, click the Normal effect in the center of all the Effects pages.
Photo Booth includes a feature called Screen Flash, which uses your computer display as a camera flash by turning the screen all-white as it shoots the photo. If your screen isn’t flashing when you shoot, look in the Camera menu for the Enable Screen Flash command. If there’s not a check mark before its name, select Enable Screen Flash, and there will be. Finally, Screen Flash is (understandably) disabled when you’re shooting movies.
After you shoot, your pictures or movies drop into the tray at the bottom of the window (there is only one in Figure 13-5). You can then select one or more photos in the tray and then do any of the following:
Delete them by pressing the Delete or Backspace key.
Share them by clicking the Share button (shown in the margin), which replaces the Effects button when one or more photos are selected in the tray.
Export them as JPEG files by choosing File⇒Export.
Print them by choosing File⇒Print or pressing +P.
Drag them from the tray to the Desktop, a folder, an e-mail, or iMessage, where they appear as JPEG files, or drag them onto the icon (Dock or Applications folder) of an image editor such as iPhoto.
So that’s the scoop on Photo Booth. It’s fun and easy, and if you’ve got a camera (as most of you do), you should definitely launch Photo Booth and give it a try.
If you have kids who are old enough to trust with a Mac, Photo Booth and its effects will entertain them for hours (or, more likely, for a few minutes). It’s guaranteed to entertain and delight kids of all ages the first time they play with it.
Photo Booth opens in a window by default. In Figure 13-5, it’s running full screen. There’s no reason I can think of to limit this application to a window, so I always go full screen when I use it by clicking the double-headed arrow in the top-right corner of the window, choosing View⇒Enter Full Screen or pressing +Ctrl+F.
Isn’t that better?
Viewing and Converting Images and PDFs in Preview
You use Preview to open, view, and print PDFs as well as most graphics files (TIFF, JPEG, PICT, and so on). PDF files are formatted documents that can include text and images. User manuals, books, and the like are often distributed as PDF files. You can’t edit the existing text in a PDF file with Preview, but you can leaf through its pages, annotate and mark it up, and print it. You can often select text and graphics in a PDF file, copy them to the Clipboard (+C), and paste (+V) them into documents in other applications. It’s also the application that pops open when you click the Preview button in the Print dialog, as I describe in Chapter 15.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. You can edit one certain type of PDF file: a form that has blank fields. Preview allows you to fill in the blanks and then resave the document. And although it’s technically not editing, you can annotate a PDF document by using the Annotate tools on the toolbar.
One of the most useful things Preview can do is change a graphic file in one file format into one with a different file format. For example, say you’re signing up for a website and want to add a picture to your profile. The website requires pictures in the JPEG file format, but the picture file on your hard drive that you’d like to use is in the TIFF file format. Preview can handle the conversion for you:
1. Open the TIFF file with Preview by double-clicking the file.
If another program (such as Adobe Photoshop) opens instead of Preview, drag the TIFF document onto the Preview icon or launch Preview and choose File⇒Open (shortcut: +O) to open the TIFF file.
2. Choose File⇒Export.
3. Choose the appropriate file format — such as JPEG — from the Format pop-up menu, as shown in Figure 13-6.
4. (Optional): If you want to make sure you don’t confuse your original image with the one in the new format, change the name of your file in the Export As field, too.
5. (Optional): Add a tag or tags if you like.
6. Click Save.
As you can see in Figure 13-6, Preview lets you convert any file it can open to any of the following file formats: JPEG, JPEG-2000, OpenEXR, PDF, PNG, and TIFF.
Chances are good that you’ll never need to convert a file to most of these formats, but it’s nice to know that you can if you need to.
Figure 13-6: Preview makes it easy to convert a TIFF graphic file into a JPEG graphic file.
Almost every OS X program with a Print command lets you save your document as a PDF file. Just click and hold the PDF button (found in all Print dialogs) and choose Save As PDF. Then, should you ever need to convert that PDF file to a different file format, you can do so by using the preceding steps.
Chances are good that you’ll want to import pictures or video from your digital camera or DV camcorder someday. It’s a piece of cake. So in the following sections, I show you how easy it is to get your digital photos into your Mac and help you get started with digital video (which is a bit more complex).
In the sections that follow, I focus on applications that are a part of OS X. Technically, that doesn’t include the iLife applications. What I mean is that when you bought your OS X Mavericks upgrade from the Mac App Store, it didn’t include iLife applications, such as iMovie and iPhoto. Your Mac almost certainly came with the iLife suite preinstalled, but depending upon how old your Mac is, you might not have the current versions, and the various versions all work slightly differently. See the nearby sidebar “Living the iLife” for more details about iLife.
Downloading photos from a camera
This is the Mac I’m talking about, so of course, getting pictures from your digital camera onto your hard drive is a pretty simple task. Here’s how to do it step by step using Image Capture:
1. Turn on the camera, and set it to review or playback mode.
This step may not be necessary for some cameras. It was for my old Olympus, but isn’t for my Nikon Coolpix P1.
2. Connect the camera to your Mac with its USB cable.
At this point, Image Capture may launch automatically, or if you have iPhoto, it may launch instead.
If you have both programs on your hard drive and the wrong one opens when you connect your camera, you can change that behavior in Image Capture’s Device Settings pane. Launch Image Capture (it’s in your Applications folder) if it didn’t launch when you connected your camera. Now choose the application you prefer for photo management from the Connecting This Camera Opens pop-up menu. (It says Image Capture in Figure 13-7; other options could include iPhoto, Aperture, Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Adobe Bridge, or whatever photo-management app you happen to have installed on your hard disk.)
3. From the Image Capture window, you can either click Import All to download all the photos in your camera or click Import to import only the selected photos, as shown in Figure 13-7.
• To choose contiguous photos, click the first photo you want to download, press Shift, and then click the last photo you want to download.
• To choose noncontiguous photos, press and click each photo you want to download. Either way, an orange highlight shows you which photos are going to be downloaded when you click the Download button (such as the first, third, fourth, and sixth photos in Figure 13-7).
In Figure 13-5, the Download To pop-up menu is set to the Pictures folder, which is the default setting. If you were to click the Download or Download All button now, Image Capture would download the photos in your camera to the Pictures folder inside your Home folder.
If you want to delete the photos from your camera after they’re downloaded to your hard drive, select the photos you want to delete, and click the Delete button. To delete all photos after you’ve imported them, check the Delete After Import check box.
Figure 13-7: I’ve told my Mac to open Image Capture when I connect this camera.
If a disk icon, often named No Name (refer to Figure 13-5), appears in the Devices section of the Sidebar when you plug in your camera, you have to eject that disk by clicking the Eject Disk icon next to its name in the Image Capture window (or by ejecting it in the Finder in the usual way) before you disconnect your camera; otherwise, you could lose or damage files in your camera. So try to remember. If you don’t, Image Capture scolds you with the scary warning dialog shown in Figure 13-8.
Figure 13-8: This warning means you forgot to eject your camera’s disk.
Downloading DV video from a camcorder
Getting video from a DV camcorder to your hard drive is almost as easy as importing photos from your digital camera. Although it’s beyond the scope of this book to explain how you download video, the following tips can help you get started.
iMovie works well for downloading video from miniDV and HD camcorders that include output via FireWire or USB 2.
If you do plan to use iMovie, don’t forget about the built-in Help system (+Shift+?). Here, you find extensive assistance, as shown in Figure 13-9, which is the main Help page for iMovie.
Figure 13-9: Don’t forget that help is just a click (or a keystroke) away.
Never insert a mini-DVD into a slot-loading optical drive like the ones in all Macs (except the Mac Pro) shipped before 2013. If your camcorder records on mini-DVDs, you’ll need to spring for a tray-loading optical drive.
Living the iLife
In previous editions of this book, I called iLife “one of the fantastic bargains in software” and said, “If you had to buy all these programs from other vendors (or for a Windows PC), you’d pay a whole lot more.” And that was when the only way to get iLife was on a DVD for $79.
You may still be able to find a copy of iLife ’11 (still the latest version as of this writing) on DVD; it listed for $79 but has been discontinued. A better bet is to buy iMovie, iPhoto, or GarageBand a la carte in the Mac App Store for $14.99 each. At present, you can’t buy iWeb or iDVD a la carte, but both are included if you can find the suite on DVD.
So, if you don't have the latest version of iLife on your hard drive, take a look at the features and programs it includes (www.apple.com/ilife) and consider whether you'd benefit from all the new goodies you don't currently have.