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Step 2: Create the Poster Frame Movie

A poster frame movie is a QuickTime movie with only one frame in it. It’s used to offer viewers a preview of the movie so they can decide whether they want to download and view it. With my movie weighing in at 17.8 MB (according to the Info window shown in Figure 1), it wouldn’t be user-friendly to simply load the movie into visitors’ Web browsers. Instead, I’ll display the poster frame with a note to click the movie to download and view it.

I use two tools to create my poster frame movie:

  • QuickTime Pro. No, not the standard QuickTime Player. This is the registered version of QuickTime Player, which enables you to save and edit movies. If you work with QuickTime movies and you haven’t invested the extra $30 to upgrade it to QuickTime Pro, you’re missing out on a great, easy-to-use QuickTime editing tool. Go to Apple’s Web site and get the upgrade code now. (Learn more at If you don’t want QuickTime Pro and you use another QuickTime editing tool, you’ll have to research that program’s features for performing the tasks I cover here.
  • An image-editing program. I use Photoshop, but that’s only because I already have it. You certainly don’t need something so feature-laden for this task. As you’ll see, all you’ll do is edit an image to include a message on it. Any image-editing tool should do the job.

Got your tools? Okay, let’s do it.

  1. Open the movie file in QuickTime Pro.
  2. Use the controller’s slider at the bottom of the window to advance to the frame you want to use in your poster frame movie (see Figure 2).
    Figure 2

    Figure 2 Advance to the frame you want to use in your poster frame movie.

  3. Choose File > Export.
  4. 4. In the dialog that appears (shown in Figure 3), choose Movie to Picture from the Export pop-up menu. Then set the name and location in which QuickTime should save the file. Click Save.
    Figure 3

    Figure 3 Use the Save exported file as dialog to save a single frame of a movie as a picture.

  5. Open the picture file you just created in your image editing software (see Figure 4).
    Figure 4

    Figure 4 Here’s my poster frame image opened in Photoshop.

  6. Start by increasing the image’s height by 16 pixels. In Photoshop, you’d use the Image > Canvas Size command. As shown in Figure 5, I’ve added 16 pixels to the 230-pixel height of my image for a total of 246 pixels. With these settings, the new blank space will be added at the bottom of the image as a black bar (see Figure 6).
    Figure 5

    Figure 5 Photoshop’s Canvas Size dialog offers one way to increase the dimensions of an image file.

    Figure 6

    Figure 6 When you’re finished, there should be a 16-pixel high black or colored bar under the image.

  7. Use the image-editing program’s text tool to type some instructions in the bar. In my example, I typed click to view movie (17.8 MB), shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7

Figure 7 Type some instructions for your movie.

  • If necessary, flatten the movie’s layers and save it in its original file format. Close the file.
  • Open the modified file with QuickTime (see Figure 8). (Dragging its icon onto the QuickTime application icon does the trick nicely.)
    Figure 8

    Figure 8 Use QuickTime to reopen the file you created.

  • Choose File > Export.
  • In the dialog that appears (see Figure 9), choose Movie to QuickTime Movie from the Export pop-up menu. Then set the name and location in which QuickTime should save the file. I usually include the word poster in the file name to distinguish it from the original file. Click Save.
    Figure 9

    Figure 9 Use the Save exported file as dialog to save the one-frame movie as a QuickTime movie file.

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