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AnPoCODEC/QuickMotion- by Ryan Dill
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Because of the varied platforms in existence, when one creates multimedia video it's often more efficient to use a format optimized for one's own operating system. Unfortunately, if you do so, you run the risk of that multimedia being unreadable by someone with another operating system.

There are a few ways to get around this problem -- you can use a full animation package, like MainActor/2 (see its review in this month's issue), which can convert animations in addition to creating, editing and playing them. Or you can simply create a plug-in which allows your OS's own programs to read such movies normally. Such plug-ins, since they CODe and DECode multimedia formats, are simply called CODECs. With CODECs, you don't need to spend resources creating a whole program to work with the media (complete with user interface, help files, VCR buttons and so-forth), since the OS's own multimedia players handle that already.

AnPoCODEC and QuickMotion are two packages for OS/2 which add to the number of video CODECs that OS/2's multimedia subsystem (MMPM/2) understands. Specifically, AnPoCODEC allows OS/2 to read certain Windows-specific forms of AVI video, while QuickMotion provides the ability to view Apples's QuickTime 1.0 format (files with the extension .MOV or .QT). Although the two are separate products, they deserve mention in a common review because they are often bundled together -- in fact, purchasing QuickMotion grants you a free registration of AnPoCODEC.

Installation

Both packages use OS/2's own Multimedia Application Install (GIF, 12.5k) program to integrate themselves into the operating system; just run the install program (located in your System Setup folder in Warp 3, or System Setup's 'Install/Remove' folder in Warp 4), choose the directory where you have the QuickMotion and/or AnPoCODEC files, and with a few clicks, the package is installed. (Note that if you are running NPS WPS, you should close it before running the Multimedia installation program, or problems may result.)

After a reboot to load the new multimedia libraries, all of OS/2's own video applications (MPPM.EXE, VB.EXE or SWVR.EXE from Warp's VideoIN) will be able to play videos of the type you just installed CODECs for.

AnPoCODEC, by Andreas Portele (hence the 'AnPo'), is currently at version 6. This version includes five CODECs, allowing you to play Windows-style videos of the types:

AnPoCODEC is nagware -- it can be downloaded and used immediately, but until it's registered it will continue to display an 'Unregistered' message every time you use MMOS/2 to play a video encoded in one of its formats. Registration costs around US$20 (or again, it's free, if you register QuickMotion first), for which the author will then send you, via e-mail, a registration key that banishes the 'Unregistered' notice.

AnPoCODEC doesn't play all the formats of Windows video currently available, but it allows OS/2 to read many more of the common videos out there than Base OS/2 alone does. The documentation states that more CODECs may be developed and added to the package as demand requires.

QuickMotion, developed by Practice Corporation, is currently in version 1.3. The package can either be purchased and direct-downloaded on-line, or shipped on CD from a licensed vendor. Each purchase method has its advantages: I opted for the CD version -- with it you receive the earlier v1.1 rather than the latest 1.3 (a downloadable upgrade to v1.3 is free to owners of v1.1 though), but you also receive a collection of over 50 QuickTime movies for testing and perusal. On the other hand, the on-line version is automatically the most up-to-date; and you receive it over the Internet, eliminating any shipping costs, and getting it into your hands faster than waiting for the CD to come by postal mail. Note that the on-line direct download version requires WIN-OS/2 support to be installed, as it uses the Windows-based ZipLock software for secure transactions. (See Practice's site for more info about ZipLock.) Possible use of a Java-based transaction package to replace ZipLock is being investigated by Practice.

QuickMotion is a commercial product, but a downloadable demo (of v1.1) is available from the OS/2 Supersite (ZIP, 413k), which will allow you to test out the package and see if it's to your liking. (The demo halts playback of QuickTime videos after the first 15 seconds.) The on-line version costs US$25 direct from Practice, but vendors will no doubt charge more for the CD version -- possibly upwards of US$30-$35.

QuickMotion includes CODECs for the playback of all QuickTime 1.0 video formats and the IMA 4:1 audio format, but unfortunately does not currently have saving capabilities. This and other features like MIDI and QuickTime Virtual Reality support are said to be in development for upcoming versions of QuickMotion (in the words of Practice's Tom Harding, "We want to take OS/2 users to Mars!").

QuickMotion registration also entitles you to a free copy of Practice's QuickFlick software.

What's QuickFlick?

QuickFlick is a QuickTime plug-in for OS/2's Netscape Navigator. IBM's Netscape Plug-in Pack includes its own QuickTime plug-in, but it only works if MMPM/2 is already set up to understand QuickTime movies, meaning you'll still need a copy of QuickMotion anyway. (Actually you don't really need a plug-in at all, a helper application like MainView/2 -- included in MainActor/2 -- works fine for viewing QuickTime movies in your browser; however, it doesn't allow for all the browser integration that a true plug-in does.)

If you have basic QuickMotion installed, then IBM's plug-in will play QuickTime movies in your browser fine. So why would you want QuickFlick? Well, QuickFlick has more features than IBM's plug-in, adding the ability to play streamed video (play a MOV as it's downloading, instead of waiting for the download to finish), support for QuickTime sound and music files, a better-looking interface and less bugs.

For more information on QuickFlick, check out Practice's QuickFlick FAQ. QuickFlick is currently at v1.4, and it can even be used outside of Netscape (GIF, 19.4k) if you dislike using the other video players that come with OS/2.

Conclusion

If all you want is the ability to play animations like QuickTime and AVI Video, the QuickMotion/AnPoCODEC package can't be beaten for its price. The addition of the QuickFlick plug-in component makes them an extremely useful set of software to have for anyone who wants to get the most out of the Worldwide Web. If you're planning on doing any editing of video at all, you'd be better matched with a package like MainActor/2, but if playback and enhancement of your Web experience is what you're looking, for, these two pieces of software are a must.

* * *

AnPoCODEC VI

by Andreas Portele
download from the OS/2 Supersite (ZIP, 261k)
Registration: US$20.00

QuickMotion 1.3

by Practice Corporation
download demo from the OS/2 Supersite (ZIP, 2M)
MSRP: US$25.00 (electronic); US$30.00-$35.00 (CD)

Ryan Dill is a student in Computer Science at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS and e-Zine! 's technical editor. He is reported to be relieved that, with the advent of Warp 4, talking to your computer is no longer considered a sign of mental instability.


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