Recording multiple camera angles, full-size, simultaneously, on a Mac

I've been doing a lot of video production work for the past few months, both for my YouTube channel, and in helping people with their live streams, and one thing that I miss by not having dedicated (and expensive!) video production system like a NewTek TriCaster is being able to record multiple camera angles at their full resolution simultaneously on my Mac.

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There are a lot of little conveniences you get used to if you do professional live video production with high-end equipment that you often can't replicate in a budget studio... like my desk here at my house.

Grab a Single Frame from a Video in QuickTime X

Update: More recent versions of QuickTime Player have the ability to copy frames of the video by using 'Command + C'. In recent versions, to grab a frame, do the following:

  1. In QuickTime Player: Pause on the frame you want to capture (use arrow keys to go forward/backward by 1 frame).
  2. Press 'Command-C' (or select Edit > 'Copy').
  3. In Preview: Press 'Command-N' (or select File > 'New from Clipboard')
  4. Save the new file where you'd like.

There are many things to like about QuickTime X, and many improvements were included over QuickTime Pro 7... but there were also a ton of features removed (like being able to set advanced export options, save a movie as images, and do some other more advanced edits/exports.

However, I'm glad I finally figured out how I can grab one frame from a movie in QuickTime Player X. The problem I was having is this: If you pause the video and use the left/right arrow keys to move the playhead exactly to the frame you want, the player controls are still showing over the video (in addition to the video title bar/window chrome.

Convert .MTS file to .MOV or .MP4 on a Mac (for iMovie, etc.)

I recently received a few .mts files from a friend. These files are AVCHD high-definition video files from consumer-grade HD video cameras, and they've traditionally been a pain to work with.

If you have the files on your camcorder or an SD card from your camcorder, you can just open up iMovie '08 or iMovie '09 and click 'import from camera.' It'll take forever to transcode the files into something iMovie can use, but it will work. If, however, you're like me and you just have the files (no camcorder), you'll need to transcode the files before you can edit them or compress them further.

The easiest way to do this, in my experience, is to use Handbrake, the best/simplest transcoding software you can get on the Mac... and it's free! Don't pay any money for fancy GUI wrappers like the ones you'll find on mtsconverter.com, applemacvideo.com, mtsconvertermac.biz, etc... these are all ripoffs of ffmpeg, a free and open source video transcoding library.