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Watch QuickTime movies in the Terminal UNIX
Believe it or not, you can actually view a QuickTime movie in the Terminal, in ascii form. Get the binary from Apple's Developer Pages:ASCII Movie Player. After downloading, just make sure the file is either in a directory on your path, or run it from the download directory (with a "./" in front), and type ASCIIMoviePlayer

Suggestion - use a movie that is not too large, or reduce your terminal font very small. I can watch the Two Towers trailer on my 800x600 screen with 6 pt Courier in the Terminal.

It's all pretty useless, but neat nonetheless.
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Watch QuickTime movies in the Terminal | 19 comments | Create New Account
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The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
G E K K E N H U I S !!!!
Authored by: Anonymous on Oct 21, '02 01:15:30PM

wow ... the most nerdish feature i know!

G E K K E N H U I S !!!!

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Authored by: GaelicWizard on Oct 21, '02 02:52:09PM

This is the koolest geek feature i have found. I LOVE IT!!!!!

Thanx for Posting it!


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So cool
Authored by: semios on Oct 21, '02 05:58:09PM

Now I can watch Invader Zim in ASCII. Here's a screenshot: see at 100%

This is so cool! The code is very understandable and the license allows for modifications and redistributions. I expect there to be a number of derivatives. Some to add color, a terminal controller, and all sorts of cool stuff. This is only the beginning of a very neat app.

Thank you Quicktime Engineering!

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Ask and ye shall receive
Authored by: Halo1 on Oct 22, '02 05:12:12AM
Color version is available here :)

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So cool
Authored by: JohnnyBender on Jul 18, '03 10:12:40AM

Are you using of GLTerm? I found the later to be fastest. Also, what settings are you using? That Zim screenshot you posted looks tight!

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QT 6.0.2 Required?
Authored by: macmike42 on Oct 21, '02 07:15:02PM

Does this require QuickTime 6.0.2? I haven\'t installed it yet, but I will if it is needed for this awesome new codec!

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QT 6.0.2 Required?
Authored by: VEGx on Oct 21, '02 07:26:25PM

Nope, it works fine with QT6, don't need to update to see this :)

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Authored by: treyh2002 on Oct 22, '02 12:43:28AM

Well, I'm just getting started, like today, using the Project Builder, and have NO idea what I'm doing. I was able to build the .pbproj file, but i have no idea where to go from here. My terminal doesn't recognize the ASCIIMoviePlayer command, so I'm assuming i'm missing steps. Please help! Oh, and if I don't have QT Pro, does that matter?

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Authored by: GaelicWizard on Oct 22, '02 01:53:06AM

You don't need QT Pro
when you hit the build button it did some stuff right? ;)
it actually made a file named ASCIIMoviePlayer this file is either inside the folder named "build" in the same place as the PB file, or in the "Build" directory that you specified the 1st time you ran PB. this is the actual exicutable. you goto the dir in the terminal

cd /users/koolguy/desktop/ASCIIQT (or where-ever)

then type " ./ASCIIMoviePlayer /Users/koolguy/Movies/ "
and it will play you movie. to make this more usefull you should move the ASCIIMoviePlayer file to your ~/bin or /usr/local/bin folder so that you don't have to goto it's directory to use it and you don't have to type ./

Have fun!


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Authored by: bignumbers on Oct 22, '02 12:07:14PM

The first file I watched was the 1984 Apple commercial, fitting I think. For large (width/height) movies I had to do some serious reconfig of terminal settings.

Looking through the source there is code to handle color, but I wasn't seeing anything in color in the terminal. So chances are it's pretty close. Although monochrome seems more fitting.

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Authored by: Halo1 on Oct 22, '02 12:36:30PM
There's no code to handle color, it simply calculates the brightness of each character based on the color values of the pixels of the movie. It doesn't try to recreate the colors. If you want a color version, have a look here.

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Authored by: WillyT on Oct 23, '02 09:29:59PM

Works with Flash files! Probably anything that QT will run this will run.

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window settings
Authored by: poultryfarm on Oct 29, '02 06:34:27PM

what window settings are you guys using for best results?
size font, window size, colors, etc.

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Authored by: Mato on Nov 14, '02 09:57:46AM

I tried once it worked. Just dragging the player, then the movie, then hit enter. Now it never function again, dont know why. I have [e026:~] at the start but I thought it was more something like [bin:~] before, but as I'm not very terminal guy :/ Can someone help me around here ? Spent 1 hour on this but cant figure out what to do :/
Here's the message when I try :
[e026:~] mato% /Users/mato/ASCIIMoviePlayerSample/ASCIIMoviePlayer/Users/mato/Documents/Bronx/
/Users/mato/ASCIIMoviePlayerSample/ASCIIMoviePlayer/Users/mato/Documents/Bronx/ Not a directory.

The strange thing, as I said, is that it worked once .... :/

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Authored by: Pronoun on Nov 14, '02 07:09:46PM

I belive you need a space between the app and the movie.

Try this:

[e026:~] mato% /Users/mato/ASCIIMoviePlayerSample/ASCIIMoviePlayer /Users/mato/Documents/Bronx/

Everyone should watch the Balmer video in this thing, it is one of the funniest ones I have tried.

Here is a Pic
Click here to see it bigger Click here for the movie 5 mb

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Authored by: Mato on Nov 15, '02 06:54:58AM

Dmmit, THE SPACE !! I've tried this for 2 hours, mooved the files everywhere, never thought of the damn space !!! Hu !! <---- SPOT THE LOONY !!

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Authored by: meh on Oct 18, '05 02:38:08AM

I am still having a problem.
I created a directory in Applications called "ASCIIMoviePlayer" and CDed into that directory.
I then typed macmini:/Applications/ASCIIMoviePlayer myusername$ ASCIIMoviePlayer /Users/myusername/Desktop/SILLIES/

the response was:
-bash: ASCIIMoviePlayer: command not found

now, my terminal experience is limited, but it seems that i did this properly. can anyone see what is wrong?


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Authored by: meh on Oct 18, '05 02:49:22AM

oh, cancel that.
i tried it the easy way and it works.

open terminal.
make window really big.
drag application into terminal window.
make sure there is a space character at end.
drag movie file in to terminal window.
hit return.
be amazed... this is sooo cool.

is there any way to capture/output this into a new MOV file?

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Watch QuickTime movies in the Terminal
Authored by: bigl00z3 on Mar 16, '03 01:19:09PM

you said useless..... I'm saying a "new" production tool for my videos.
As a vj it's gonna be great to create a quick effect on a video loop..


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