Monday 31 August 2009

Reviewing Videos on Apple TV with Automator

The new Services support in Snow Leopard has got me interested in "really smoothing my Mac workflows", a term used by the demonstrator with the crazy hair at the last Apple keynote.

I take a lot of home movies with a Kodak Zi6; it's a cheap, but cheerful, HD handheld video camera that produces great looking images with not so hot audio.  I want to use my Apple TV to quickly review the home movies I produce on the camera - but that can be awkward.  The Quicktime wrapped files produced aren't quite compatible with Apple TV directly and so I've had to use a manual workflow of opening the files in iMovie, exporting to Apple TV, importing to iTunes and then syncing to finally get them onto the Apple TV.

With Quicktime 10, and the new Services support in Snow Leopard it is now possible to build a simple Automator workflow that allows me to -

  1. Select any number of Zi6 movies in the Finder.

  2. Right click, and select the "Review on Apple TV" service that i've built using Automator and some Applescript.

  3. The service will pick up all the selected files and send them to Quicktime for output in "Apple TV" format.

  4. It then uses some Applescript to import the converted files into iTunes, ready for syncing with my Apple TV.

The workflow is attached to the article for download.  Unzip the file and place it in your ~/Library/Services folder and then you can immediately right click any movie file and select the option to "Review on Apple TV".  It can also be opened in Automator and freely modified.

I still haven't perfected the workflow.  I want to add some metadata (specifically genre = "For Review") to the converted files so that I can quickly find them on the Apple TV.  I also want to trigger a sync on the Apple TV automatically but I can't see how that is possible in Applescript.  For now though, it works pretty well as a simple first start.

Download the Service here

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