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5 QuickTime Player Secrets

It's easy to overlook the power of the steady and dependable QuickTime Player. Built right into OS X, many users don't necessarily think of it as a sophisticated app. Despite that, Apple has engineered some great features for it. Here are five of our faves.

Change the playback rate. When you're watching a lecture or presentation, sometimes you want to help speed things up so you can move through material a little faster. QuickTime Player supports this. Just click and hold on the play-pause button for about 5 seconds to access the rate change menu. It enables you to speed up or slow down the video playback rate with fine granularity.

Edit the video. Press Command-E or choose View > Show Clips to enter QuickTime Player's edit mode. Here, you can split your video into clips, trim away sections you want gone, adjust clip order, and more. You don't need to track down an old copy of QuickTime Pro or fire up iMovie for simple edits.

Scrub. QuickTime Player offers several ways to scrub your video. First, you can drag the play head along the scrub bar to set a rough position. You can also use the arrow keys to move frame-by-frame. With playback stopped, if you press and hold the play head for about 2-3 seconds, the scrub bar converts to a manageable 20-second range instead.

Play Video Backwards. QuickTime Player offers a number of arrow key functions that go beyond simple scrubbing. For example, holding the Option key lets you jump to the start or end of your video. What's really cool is when you press Command-Left-Arrow. Your video starts playing in reverse. Repeat that key sequence to change the rate at which your movie plays backwards. (The same trick holds for normal playback. Command-Right-Arrow goes from normal play to accelerated options.)

Float Your Video. A lot of people try to get some work done as they watch their favorite videos. But having Safari or Mail cover parts of the video can get really annoying. To ensure that your video gets the priority it needs to stay on top of all other windows, choose View > Float on Top. This option pushes the video to the front of the windowing system, ensuring that it won't be obscured.

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