I was recently given a keynote presentation which contained a movie. When I played the presentation the sound worked but the movie was blank. It turned out the movie was not in a format that Quicktime could play. There are many such formats. When I tried to play the movie in Quicktime I got an error saying ‘The document could not be opened. The movie is not in a format that QuickTime Player understands.You may need to install additional software to open this type of file.’
Here’s what to do.
Perian is a handy free program that allows your mac to play almost any movie format, including AVI files from a Windows computer. Perian just sits in the background and allows other programs (like Keynote) to play movies that they wouldn’t normally be able to play. It claims to play all the following movie formats: AVI, DIVX, FLV, MKV, GVI, VP6, and VFW, MS-MPEG4 v1 & v2, DivX, 3ivx, H.264, Sorenson H.263, FLV/Sorenson Spark, FSV1, VP6, H263i, VP3, HuffYUV, FFVHuff, MPEG1 & MPEG2 Video, Fraps, Snow, NuppelVideo, Techsmith Screen Capture and DosBox Capture.
You can download it for free from perian.org. To install it simply click on the icon and it will install itself as a Preference Pane. It sits in the background – you don’t need to do anything. Your normal programs such as Keynote and Quicktime will now be able to play any movie format. You will need to quit and restart Quicktime or Keynote after you install Perian.
Perian won’t play every movie. Perian won’t play wmf files and some kinds of AVI movies. To play all files try out VLC for Mac OS X. VLC is awesome and allows you to watch any movie. The only problem with VLC is that it only allows you to watch the movie in it’s own player, not in Keynote or other programs.