Many compact point-and-shoot digital cameras can now shoot high-quality video, with some approaching the quality of a DV video camera. This is great, but there are a few snags that can arise. In particular, people who are using to shooting stills may mistakenly rotate the camera and shoot the video in portrait orientation. They’ll get the shot, but the resulting video file will be sideways.

If you have one of these files and want to use it in a project, you’ll have to download some software; iMovie can’t rotate. Google found me some tips on using QuickTime Pro, but who wants to pay $30 just for this one function? Not me!

Short answer: use BitPlayer.

Long answer:

  1. Open the video in BitPlayer.
  2. Open the “Info” window by either:
    • In the “Window” menu, choose “Show Info”
    • Press ⌘I (command-I)
    • Ctrl-Click or Right-Click on the video in the playlist and choose “Show Info”
    • Open the “View” tab
    • Click one of the arrow buttons next to “Orientation”. This will rotate the video, but only in BitPlayer.
    • Play the video for a few seconds to make sure it looks right.
    • In the “File” menu, choose “Export Movie”
    • Choose a location for the new movie and options for the export.
      • The format options can be crazy-deep, so I can’t really help you there, except: if you’re planning to use the video in iMovie, and/or don’t want to take much time for compression, choose “DV Stream” as the format. If you want to export for distribution (web, etc), choose “QuickTime Movie”.</ol>