Apple choosing iTunes Movie Rentals over its Professional customers - Macenstein

Apple choosing iTunes Movie Rentals over its Professional customers

Is QuickTime 7.4 the worst QuickTime update Apple has ever released? That’s a tough question. It certainly has produced the most problems for me personally. I have mentioned before that I am an Adobe After Effects user. It’s how I feed my family, and pay for my house. Having a working copy of After Effects is a close third behind food and water on my short list of things I need to survive.

Unfortunately for me, and many other professional users, Apple’s newly announced iTunes Movies Rentals (and its 24 hour viewing limit) are apparently at the root of a problem which is crippling After Effects, and many other professional applications which rely on QuickTime.

From what I can piece together from various Adobe forums I may or may not be a member of, the newly released iTunes 7.6 and the accompanying QuickTime 7.4 download (required to use it) do a check every 10 minutes or so to verify that QuickTime is not being messed with. This is apparently to protect the new DRM scheme Apple is using for the iTunes movie rentals. The problem is, if you are rendering out an animation that takes longer than 10 minutes to render (which most of mine do, even on our 8-core system) you will get this error:

Apparently incomplete QuickTime files are viewed as an attempt by you to do something bad to QuickTime, and Apple assumes that thing is break its latest DRM. The problem is, when rendering out a .mov, After Effects does not write the final .mov specification until the end of the render, which is causing QuickTime to scream “rape!”.

Adobe has filed the “bug” report with Apple, and is recommending no one upgrade to QuickTime 7.4 until Apple figures out a way around this and releases QT 7.4.1. Apparently, since Apple didn’t want “official” word to get out about the new DRM schemes (thus blowing the “big surprise” of the iTunes Movie Rentals announcement which everyone and their grandmother knew about for months before the keynote), they did not give Adobe a copy of QT 7.4 to test. So basically, consumer video rentals have become a higher priority to Apple than making sure their pro customers are able to make money.

Professionals are not the only ones affected by 7.4’s seemingly hasty release. There are all sorts of reports of “no video, only audio in movies, incompatibility with third-party applications, inability to playback some file formats” with regards to QT 7.4 that are causing all sorts of problems for anyone not simply using QT to play back iTunes content.

There are of course workarounds. You can downgrade to QuickTime 7.3, and apparently everything works fine. The problem is, that isn’t easy, and of course opens you up to any security patches 7.4 brought. MacFixIt says you can do an Archive and Install, which takes forever to get back to where you were. Or, you can take the faster route, and use Pacifist to get you back to QT 7.3.1. The problem there is, Pacifist often leads to “system instability”, and there are not two scarier words when you have looming deadlines.

As for After Effects users, it is suggested if you do not want to downgrade, you render out Targa sequences, then turn that into a .mov in QuickTime Pro. That adds unnecessary steps (and time) to a workflow, and isn’t all that great if your project had audio in it (which mine do), but I guess that’s what I will be doing right now.

When QuickTime 7.4 was released, it said:

QuickTime 7.4 addresses security issues and delivers:
– Numerous bug fixes
– Support for iTunes

This release is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users.

Great. Well, I can think of a couple hundred thousand people that I would NOT recommend it for, me among them. At least it is nice to see Adobe is on top of this, and has had the report “escalated” to the top of Apple’s support system, for whatever that means. Hopefully we are not more than a couple days away from QuickTime 7.4.1, an update I hope will be more aware of the fact that Motion is not yet After Effects, and 3rd party support is still extremely important to Apple’s customers, pro and consumer alike.

10 Responses to “Apple choosing iTunes Movie Rentals over its Professional customers”
  1. ericole says:

    You meant to say, I think, “Adobe has filed the “bug” report with Apple, and is recommending no one upgrade to QuickTime 7.4 until Apple figures out a way around this and releases QT 7.4.1.” You only had “7.1” which confused the heck out of me until I got lower in the article.

  2. Thanks ericole for the catch. Sorry for the confusion.
    -The Doc

  3. The Cos says:

    Well, maybe if it were a “bigger” 3rd party company Apple would have bothered to test it out. Adobe is pretty small.

  4. lapep says:

    Apple needs to replace their iTunes music sales because eventually all music will be free on the Internet. So, they seem to be banking on iTunes movie rentals and attempting to control the DRM right from the start. Unfortunately, they likely expect to make more money from movie rentals and really are not concerned with messing up After Effects.

  5. richie says:

    Premiere Pro is also fucked up.

  6. dbr says:

    Hm, does Motion suffer the same problem?
    And I hardly think this is an attack on After Effects users, new versions of stuff is often incompatible with less new software (For example, Nuke wouldn’t start on OS X Leopard)

    Upgrading stuff on work-related machines should really be done a few months after the upgrade, unless it fixes something you really need (I.e, the new version of Nuke that actually runs on Leopard)

    It’s pretty crappy if you use your laptop for AE work, and want to use the film-rental stuff on it too, how ever.. I’m surprised Adobe haven’t released an update yet, and more so that Apple’s testers didn’t notice this..

  7. mrmikey says:

    Well, maybe if Adboe hadn’t “abandoned” the Mac platform, they would have a better line into Apple. Adobe’s embrace of the Windows environment as “platform of choice” (check out the CS3 windoids for proof) may have just led Apple to “accidentally neglect” letting them in on things. Yah, it sucks for some, I’m sure, but Adobe built it’s business on the backs of loyal Mac users, then virtually abandomed them for more than 18 months when they knew they had to do a serious upgrade between CS2 and CS3.

    I for one can’t help but wonder if this is just a tad of a little bit of “payback.” Hopefully, this will make Adobe take the Mac platform more seriously in the future, as they used to. As a loyal Adobe user since Illustrator 88 and Photoshop 1.0, I have oft felt like an orphan at times as I’ve watched the Adobe products become more and more “Windows-like” to my complete frustration.

    And let’s not even start on the “bloat” that recent Adobe products have been showing, much like products from that company in Redmond, as opposed to that company from Cupertino.

  8. Talking about “bloatware”??? I’m downloading 100MB of updates for Motion and Compressor every few weeks!
    It’s plain ridiculous that your professional workflow gets disturbed because apple wants to be able to rent out “lost” and “desperate housewives”…

  9. Doug McIntosh says:

    So, if you all want to bitch so much, why don’tcha just move to Visturd(tm) and see how your media editing goes…

    Thought so.

  10. Glenn says:

    Adobe didn’t exactly abandon Apple — it was a larger version of what’s going on with After Effects — Apple’s desire for secrecy. They released the Intel powered machines a year before they were expected by the world at large, and didn’t bother to tell Adobe (or anyone else). To expect Adobe to put off development of CS3 for a while in order to move resources to make CS2 a universal binary is pretty unrealistic.

    If any company deserves payback, it’s Apple — and they got it. How many sales of Mac Pro towers do you think they lost because the only choices many pro-users could make were between now obsolete G5 towers and PCs, all because they had to make a grand statement?

    I also work with Adobe products professionally. Recently attended the Adobe AIR tour and every speaker — and these were pretty high up in the Adobe ranks — was using a Mac. Well, except for Lee Brimelow (and he was at Frog Design at that point).

    It looks to me that Apple is forgetting who stuck by them. Still, I think your wish has been granted. I’ve had more problems with CS3 on Vista (for instance, clicking “use Adobe dialog” on the save window causes Photoshop to crash every time) than with CS3 on OS X.

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