Rotate Movie Clips with QuickTime Pro

Have you ever taken some video clips with your point-and-shoot digital camera, downloaded them to iPhoto, and found them playing sideways? This is a common occurrence in our house. We’ll get some great footage of our kids doing something cute or funny, only to find that it was shot in a portrait orientation instead of the landscape orientation that it ultimately should play in. Luckily QuickTime Pro comes in very handy in situations such as these.

While this isn’t a new trick by any means, I’ve found that it’s not well-known (As I grabbed the link, I noticed it states right on the product page that you can rotate video – so there you go, I’m not making this stuff up!), and figured sharing it here would help a few of you stuck in the same boat. I’ve had QuickTime Pro for years, so I couldn’t tell you if the functionality is now available in the free version (though I suspect not – feel free to comment if you know differently). So understand that for this exercise, I’m using the Pro version of QuickTime, which costs $29.99 in the Apple Store.

Step 1: Once you’ve got QuickTime Pro, go ahead and open the sideways movie you want to fix. Here’s mine.

Better put some spin on that ball

Better put some spin on that ball

Step 2: Now go up to the Window menu and choose Show Movie Properties. You can also use the shortcut, CMD+J. For the reading impaired:

Show Movie Properties

Show Movie Properties

Step 3: With the Movie Properties window open, make sure you first select the Video Track. Once that’s been selected, click on the tab just below it, labeled Visual Settings. At this point you have plenty of options to play around with (adding a mask to the movie, changing the size, quality, and so on), but we’re here to focus on rotating the movie into the proper orientation. So look down to the circular arrows. I’ll be rotating mine to the right.

Click here, here, and here or here

Click here, here, and here or here

Step 4: Congratulations! You’ve salvaged another video that your wife – er, whoever – recorded the wrong way. Go ahead and watch your movie the way it was intended to be seen.

Roll 'em Baby!

Roll 'em Baby!

So that was pretty easy, yeah? If you want to do more, go ahead and poke around the Movie Properties window a bit. Clicking through the tabs, you’ll find the ability to Annotate the movie file as well as some other goodies that may fill a void you’ve had for so long.

So maybe it’s not the most secret trick out there (as it once was), but likely for many, it’s a powerful tool that you never realized you had.

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