New QuickTime releases are usually accompanied by a rash of bug reports — not necessarily exclusively the fault of Apple’s; maybe it simply reflects the widespread use of the QuickTime APIs and the general fragility of digital video. We’ve heard surprisingly little, though, from the visual community about QuickTime 7.5.

Macfixit does report some major issues with audio performance:

“The problems brought about by QuickTime 7.5 have proven so dire — an issue with choppy or stuttering playback is most common — for some users that downgrading to a prior version of the multimedia architecture has become an attractive option. Fortunately, downgrading to QuickTime 7.4 is a relatively easy process and is proving successful at resolving many previously document. “

QuickTime 7.5 (#4): downgrading to an older version; No sound — fix; more [MacFixIt]

Sounds delightful … to which a chorus of VJs respond, wait, what? You listen to the audio on video clips?

Despite the gloom and doom, in this case it’s unclear whether these problems are largely on PowerPC, how widespread they are, and what other codecs or third-party software may be involved in the issues. So no reason to panic here. What is useful about the MacFixIt article is that it includes a reminder that Pacificist can be used on Mac to downgrade QuickTime. (Windows users can just reinstall.) I think if you’re going to use computers at all, you have to be prepared for a little of this sort of dirty work — and, naturally, not touching anything leading up to a gig. As an aside, I caught a lot of flak for pointing out audio issues on OS X Leopard recently on Create Digital Music. That case was very different, though, in that we had isolated the source of the issue, it was relatively widespread, and caused reproducible problems with hardware and software from a variety of variables, many of whom reported the issues through their support channels. The bottom line for me, though, is that none of us wants to be the person with a problem, whether we’re alone or not — and sometimes collecting anecdotal experience is the only way to find out what’s up.

Let’s get the anecdotal feedback going:

So far, I’m having good luck on both Mac and Windows (XP and Vista). If you gig regularly and have developed a healthy and understandable fear of updating too early, you may have steered clear of this so far, but we’d love to hear from you. How is QT 7.5 working for you? Be sure to be specific about OS version, apps you’re using, the exact circumstances of any problems, and whether you’re on an Intel or PowerPC processor on the MAc side.

  • I have not updated to 7.5 (yet), but can confirm that Motion Jpeg a and b codecs have degraded playback performance under 7.4.5. I've filed a bug with Apple regarding this, hopefully someone will notice, read it, and fix it.

  • Jeremy

    I work with a lot of DVCPro HD material, both 1080 and 720. My system is a Dual 2.7 GHz PowerPC G5 with 8 GB RAM and MacOX 10.4.11. Previous to upgrading to QuickTime 7.5, I could easily play back either of these codecs in QuickTime Player without stuttering of any kind, smooth as glass. Now, with QT 7.5, the larger files choke after a few seconds of playback, freezing the frame while the sound continues. The smaller files (720 HD) usually play, but not always. So QT 7.5 definitely degraded performance for me. Note that this is using 100% Apple software. Also have FCP, Shake, etc. installed, but this happens running QuickTime Player only.

  • Flompter

    I updated to 7.5 and I wish I hadn't.
    Lesson learned.
    I now have no sound when I play movies, specifically AVI files.
    I'm afraid to try any of the fixes and serious damage, the whole codecs thing gets a little lost on me…

  • Big Chief Mojo

    Upgrading to QT 7.5 has been, without a doubt, one of the worst mistakes of my computer life (dating back to the mid-80's). While I thank Apple for their technological innovations that allow me to earn a living as a video editor, I curse them for dumping off a load of garbage like this. It is especially fun when clients are sitting over my shoulder watching jittery, crappy, scan-lined Quicktimes being sent from my office to their higher-ups. It just screams "low-tech" and "amateurish" at every level. The brain-trust at Apple better fix this one and FAST!!!

  • johndoe

    I have had choppy playback of MP4 files that I create. The problem is that 6.04 Final Cut will not run on anything but Quicktime 7.5. I will have to go back to Final Cut 6.03 so I can install a older version of quicktime.

    Rule: Never upgrade quicktime in the middle of a video project. Thanks Apple.

  • Rajat Shetty

    Having issues with my application creating Movie files using QuicktimeSDK when Quicktime 7.5 player is installed. Only upper 10% of the video frames are visible, bottom 90% is just Blank.
    Works perfectly fine when an older version of Quicktime player is installed…..

    Feels stupid to ask people to downgrade their Quicktime player in order to use my application….

  • massta

    Off topic:

    Wouldn't it be great if Quicktime made a VJ player?

    I was very impressed with how well QT worked with the TripleHead device. Now if it could only mix! I can't tell you how much of a relief that would be to me, even if it only meant a simple cross fade.

    As long as I could load and unload movies of any resolution, length and memory size (5 min loops would be nice) without missing a AV frame (no glitch, stutter or slowdown), I'd be very happy.

    Touch software is moving into this direction and with some testing later this year, it may work. If anyone has had some luck with large resolution (1920×480 or 1280×720) mixing with software, please post.

  • My complaint about QT 7 (specifically latest version, 7.5) is that I am running a fleet of copmputers using win 2000. QT 7.5 WILL NOT INSTALL on anything but XP SP2 or vista. I do not have the funds to upgrade ALL my machines to XP (individually licensed copies of OS required) and older versions of QT will NOT play most of the web video content now being posted for viewing on various websites. so – no video here unless it is NON-QT. we have to goto youtube to see most video news items now if they are only served using QT. On the brighter side, we are more p[roductive lately as we are not watching as many videos. Convinces me to never go mac. they hate the idea of backward compatibility. I hope google comes out with a video player – and maybe an OS. Their chrome browser looks well thought out. TCB

  • Rajat Shetty

    I developed my application on Windows XP….still have the same problem as explained below….

  • Caldwell

    Still no fix for QT 7.5 for the Mac??? The suits at Apple should be ashamed of themselves! I’ve used Macs exclusively for 1 1/2 decades, but I’m really getting sick of Apple’s blatantly uncaring attitude.
    I guess the lesson here is:

    1. NEVER UPDATE QT IMMEDIATELY! Wait a couple of weeks, then Google something like this:
    mac "quicktime 7.5" problem OR difficulty OR difficulties OR jerky OR won't-play OR freeze OR choppy

    2. Don’t expect sympathy from Apple.
    (They’re too busy counting their $$$ made from selling iPods and iPhones. <– commentary)

    3. Don’t anticipate prompt update-fixers!

  • well on XP i'm using arkaos, grand vj, and every now and then resolume and sometimes the rare gig with modul8 on a mac.

    my experience:

    no QT has worked well on ANY of these systems since version 6.5.

    – Stuttering, crashing and freezing became the norm on otherwise stable systems.
    – can't full-screen QT player to a second monitor, only to the primary one (QT 7.5 XP+ OsX).
    – my arkaos version 3.6.1 FC5 won't even play QT 7.5 well enough to fake it through a gig.

    i've rolled back to QT 6.5 and will stay there until something changes at apple.