Perian 1.0

July 3, 2007

Perian is a pretty neat project. Weird that no-one really thought of this before - to wrap ffmpeg and a few support libs in a QuickTime component, instead of just every format individually. I know I’ve certainly debated with friends about which approach would be better - QT-based or a standalone player. It seems that with Apple TV, the answer has become pretty obvious.

Aniways, version 1.0 had recently come out and one of the coolest features is ofcourse subtitle (SRT) support. Also very nice to see they have a prefpane now which I’m sure will become more and more useful in the future. What interests me the most is ofcourse if this could mean being one day able to actually manage my movie library through iTunes. I have felt the urge for an iTunes look/work-alike for managing movies for a long time but since this really would be iTunes for movies and iTunes kinda already does that, it always seemed weird to start forking on something like this myself.

So I did a small test and so far the results have been pretty consistent:

  • Drop your avi and srt in the same folder make sure they have the same basenames. The SRT file will actually be added to the movie as a separate in-memory QT video track meaning you can discard the original SRT file once the procedure is finished. Cool!

  • Open the AVI in QuickTime Player, save it as a reference movie and important that into iTunes. If you have the “Copy” option on, you can hold down Option to just import a reference or you can import as a copy and delete the original QT reference later. There’s a droplet that allows you to do this in batch. I’m also working on a little script that could also tag the imported movies based on available information (metadata or just filenames). I’ll post it here when it’s done.

Unmounted network volumes are handled even better than I expected. After a (pretty annoyingly long) delay iTunes just remounts the volume and opens the file as if nothing happened.

iTunes still feels quite sticky when dealing with video, so Cmd-R + QT Player is a better approach for playback, but all things considered, it looks as if we might actually have a pretty viable movie catalogueging solution on our heands.