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How To: Rotate Videos in OS X With Free Software

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”
  3. Open the “View” tab
  4. Click one of the arrow buttons next to “Orientation”. This will rotate the video, but only in BitPlayer.
  5. Play the video for a few seconds to make sure it looks right.
  6. In the “File” menu, choose “Export Movie”
  7. 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”.
Comment Feed

11 Responses

  1. I’ve been looking for something quick and easy like this for some time — Thanks!

    DavidMay 26, 2007 @ 01:35
  2. I did what you advised but when I open the clip in iMovie it was distorted and stretched– even though I had checked the box that said to keep it proportional! Help!

    AnnieOctober 12, 2007 @ 19:25
  3. Thanks found this really helpful but I to am also having trouble exporting and keeping the clip in portrait. Haven’t found the help option not very helpful on the different types of exports etc. I’m very new to all of this and really have no idea what the differences are. I mistakenly videoed a very short clip on my camera of my baby and am trying to include it in an IDVD project that I want to send to my Parents overseas. Any help would be much appreciated thanks.

    DeborahOctober 28, 2007 @ 22:27
  4. For those who are having trouble with this technique: I’m sorry, I can’t help you troubleshoot it. All I can say is that it continues to work well for me, using Mac OS X 10.4.10 with a MacBook Pro Core Duo 2.0, 2GB RAM, all the latest software updates, using BitPlayer version 1.2 (34) (the current version), and iMovie 6.0.3. (iLife 2006). Good luck!

  5. thank you so so so much

  6. BitPlayer just crashes when I try this. Every single time. (macosx 10.5.6). Oh well, back to trying to rotate a fricking movie. Somehow.

    MarcMay 3, 2009 @ 23:09
  7. Sorry to hear that, Marc. This post is a few years old now, so I’m not surprised if it no longer works. Thankfully, it’s now possible to rotate video from directly within iMovie ’09. If you don’t have iLife ’09 yet, it’s a great upgrade!

  8. It appears BitPlayer does not work in 10.5.6.

    I rebooted my G5 in 10.4.11 and the software works fine.

    I have two drives in my G5, one with each operating system for just such problems.

    JeffMay 27, 2011 @ 20:09



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Continuing the Discussion

  1. [...] Short answer: use BitPlayer instead. Read on for the longer answer… Here’s a more detailed walkthrough, as I originally posted on my blog: [...]

  2. [...] Esto es sólo una traducción de Rotate video clips using a free program, en MacOsX hints. Publicado originalmente en Aviflax.com. [...]