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Metadata Hootenanny Guide

What Does Metadata Hootenanny Do?

It makes it very easy to add divisions to QuickTime movies, just like tracks on a CD or chapters on a DVD.  You can create your own chapter divisions or modify existing ones.

How Do I Add Chapters? It's pretty easy!

  • Add the movie you want to edit to the Editing Window (click the "Add" button in the tool bar or choose "Open Movie(s)..." from the File menu, or drag the file or folder containing the file to the Editing Window, or to the application's icon).
  • Click the "Chapters" button in the lower right corner of the window, or select "Chapters" from the View menu to switch to the Chapters pane.
  • Click the button labeled and name your first chapter  (e.g. "Opening Credits").  The first chapter will always begin at the 0 second in the movie.
  • Begin playing the movie you want to edit and pause it when you get to the next place you'd like a chapter division.  You can use the  and  buttons to move backward and forward, frame by frame, until you've picked the exact frame you at which want to begin the new chapter.  The Left and Right arrow keys also work.
  • Once you've picked the right place for your next chapter, go back to the Chapters pane and click the button again to create another division.  Name the new chapter whatever you want (e.g. "The Plot Thickens").  The chapter beginning time is automatically filled in.
  • Repeat this process until you've created and named all the chapters in your movie.
  • Finally, choose "Save..." from the File menu and save your improved movie file!

How Do I Edit Chapters in a Movie that Already Has Some?

  • Add the movie you want to edit to the Editing Window (click the "Add" button in the tool bar or choose "Open Movie(s)..." from the File menu, or drag the file or folder containing the file to the Editing Window, or to the application's icon).
  • Click the "Chapters" button in the tool bar (or in the lower right corner) to switch to the Chapters pane.
  • Chapter names can be edited simply by double clicking on their name and changing them.
  • Chapter times can be edited by playing the movie to the new time, highlighting the row that needs to have its time changed, and clicking the "Get Time Point" button.

Metadata Hootenanny Sprite Guide

MetaHoot's Sprite Editor - Creating Interactive Menus/Content


Please note: the example that has been used here contains pictures from the film "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

The writers of MetaHoot and the MetaHoot documentation do not condone video piracy. The choice of this film as an example is due to two factors. Firstly, the DVD of this film that I own comes from a region outside of my country. Secondly, I do not have a region free standalone DVD player, and I would still like to be able view this film as if it were the DVD itself.

The solution is this.
I have an old computer with a RPC-1 (region free) DVD drive. Old enough to have shipped with a hard-drive that contained less GB than a dual-layer DVD (which conversely turns out to not be that old really). I chose to rip the DVD and relevant menus, chapters, special scenes, audio tracks etc. and encode them with
3ivx video (of course) and AAC audio.

The idea behind this was to enable me to watch a movie that I bought, more times than I would be allowed to if I had to keep changing my computer's DVD player between regions. However, I wanted my movie experience to be no less than if I were watching the DVD. MetaHoot allows you create menu content and functionality such that it mirrors the content of the DVD itself (or allows you to customise your home-videos with your own menus) - not to mention easily add your own metadata and chapters!.

The Preparation...
This documentation is not an all-in-one guide to converting video*. At this point, (ie. at the point of working in MetaHoot) it is assumed that you have all your content waiting to be arranged. This means the video and audio tracks are converted to a compressed format (and the subtitle track [if there is to be one!] is in a QuickTime text track format).

* There are many other excellent tutorials out there that should get you up to this point. Two such excellent resources are: &

The tools I have used up to this point to convert & prepare my video and audio are:

Reason for use 
 The 3ivx codec 
(an excellent, fast, high quality MPEG-4 codec)
(to convert my MPEG-2 video to a QuickTime format, preserving the dimensions and PAR of my original video)
(to convert both the soundtrack and the commentary track to AAC audio)
(to convert the subtitle file to a QuickTime text track)
(to do various cool things such as add annotations and chapters - if you don't already know, MetaHoot is excellent at looking up information about your video if it is a TV show or movie, and MetaHoot also allows you to add chapters & look up chapter names/times of your movies)

You may need some other tools like picture editing software to create/edit your menu content. Adobe Photoshop is a great tool here (and is what I have used), but there are many freeware tools that allow you to manipulate and create graphics*. As you will see, I have taken and manipulated a lot of content straight from the DVD menus.

* is your friend.

There are two ways of adding a movie file and its associated files (ie. audio files, subtitle text tracks etc.) to MetaHoot.

The first way is to place all your movie related content in the same directory. This includes your movie track, audio track(s), chapter track* [please see the * asterisk below, and the note regarding when to add your text/subtitle track(s)]. Launch MetaHoot and drag your video track into the main window in the Main View pane (you can find it under the View menu if you're not sure). When you do this, MetaHoot will take all the various tracks (video/audio/chapter/text) in that folder and 'multiplex' them for you (ie. combine them together). To see all the tracks that are now combined with the video track, switch to Tracks View. MetaHoot will list them as the following (or similar depending on what you have in the same directory as the movie file you added):

1 Video Track
2 Sound Track
3 Sound Track
4 Chapter Track

Otherwise, if all your movie content is not in the same directory (or you want to add more/other tracks to your movie) drag your video into MetaHoot's library, switch to Tracks View, and add your other media files (subtitles, audio etc) by dragging and dropping them into the main window. If by accident you have added a track that shouldn't be in your movie (such as a subtitle track or duplicate audio track) it is very easy to remove - click on the track that needs to be removed and click Delete Track at the bottom of the Tracks View pane.

In Tracks View, you can choose to enable/disable a particular track by default, ie. you might want a particular audio track to be the 'standard' track that will play or you might not want a subtitle track to be 'on'.

* You may include your chapter track in this folder, but you most probably do not already have a chapter track (which doesn't matter, because MetaHoot can make one for you). Note: You cannot add a text/subtitle track before you add a chapter track. If you do, it will be seen by MetaHoot as a chapter track.

If you want to add chapters to your movie file, switch to Chapter View and add them. If your video source was from a DVD, MetaHoot can read the chapter times from your disc, and can lookup the chapter names (and times) from the web. This is a very cool feature and is fairly self-explanatory in MetaHoot.

Once your movie is set up, switch back to your movie library (ie. Main View).

Now, onto the sprites....

Preface: It's always a good idea to have an idea of how you are going to layout your interactive menu content before you begin. This means, think of how many Sprite Pages you will need (such as if the selection of chapters are organised over separate pages, or if there are separate pages to select audio/subtitle settings etc.) Before you start adding sprites, make sure that you have created all the graphics needed - this will make the adding sprites in the Sprite Editor a breeze.

This tutorial is organised as follows...

There is probably too much information to take in at once. So first time through, read as much as you can. There are a lot of sidetracks that will explain why/how certain things must be done. Once you are familiar with the process but still want to refer to this guide, you don't to read all of the text over again, so you can just follow the steps in bold blue.

Select the movie in MetaHoot's library.

Click on the Sprite Editor logo in the upper right hand corner of the MetaHoot main window (pictured right).

The Sprite Editor window will launch and float over MetaHoot's main window.

MetaHoot's Sprite Editor.

The tools available to us in the Sprite Editor allow us to quickly create and manage our sprites.

Sprite 101:

A Sprite is a hotspot, or interactive area that accepts some form of control (such as a mouse click) in our QuickTime movie. With a Sprite, we can set a range of properties that change how our movie is viewed (such as if we want to start playing from a particular chapter, whether subtitles are displayed, or whether we play the movie back with a different language audio track/commentary etc.)

A Sprite (or many Sprites) must be contained within a 'Page'. This means that you will need to create (or decide on) a background before you can add your hotspot areas. A 'Page' put simply, is a single frame that acts as a still. Sprites not only can allow us to change a movie's settings, but they can also allow us to navigate between 'Pages'.

Adding Sprite Pages:
By default, MetaHoot will automatically have a Page (or blank frame) created for you in the Sprite Editor. If you need to create a new Page (that will hold another Page of Sprites), click 'New Page' in the Sprite Editor (a new Page will appear in the lower half of the Sprite Editor window).

How Pages and Sprites appear in MetaHoot's Sprite Editor.

Open up your Sprite Inspector by clicking on the Inspector Icon at the top of the Sprite Editor.

The Inspector will launch and also act as a floating window over MetaHoot.

The Sprite property Inspector.

Since we have a Page created to hold our sprites, we need to set a background. You can either choose to set a background from a separate graphics file, or from a frame in our movie. (Note: Select either of these options before clicking 'Set Background'. If you want to set a movie frame as your background, use the playhead at the bottom of the Inspector window to find a suitable frame, then click 'Set Background' to make that frame your background.)

Now that we've create a Page to hold our Sprites, we can go ahead and begin adding our Sprites.

Note: This next step (all the text over the next few lines written in pale grey) is completely optional. I have left it in for those who are interested.

Before we begin adding Sprites, the first thing we should do is add a little code to our first Page. This following instruction should be added to most (if not all) Pages, as it will stop the movie playing when it reaches that Page of Sprites and wait for your input.

Type this into the Action text area.



Remember: onFrameLoad.StopPlaying; is actually done automatically for all still sprite backgrounds when you hit "add to movie" - so this step is not necessarily needed.

(If you leave your mouse over the action text area, a tooltip will pop up with the contents shown above - don't let this be daunting, as you can pretty much get MetaHoot to do all the action scripting for you!)

Add Your Sprites:
Now you can add your Sprites. You can add as many or as few sprites as you like. Remember though that Sprites are not active across Pages/frames. This means that any Sprite you add to this first Page will not be available to us if we create another Page. Adding Sprites is incredibly easy, just click the 'New Sprite' icon in the top left of the Sprite Editor.

After clicking New Sprite in MetaHoot's Sprite Editor, a little box will appear in the top-left corner (floating over the background picture) of the Sprite Editor's window. This Sprite can be moved and resized. (Note: When the Sprite Editor is open, you can enable options in the Sprite Menu such as Quick Sprite Mode which, while active, allows you to draw Sprite quickly and easily by clicking and dragging in the Sprite Editor window).

A Sprite can either be an invisible hotspot, or it can be a series of graphics that show a different picture for each mouse state, ie. how the Sprite looks normally (ie. the upstate, or 'Main' state), how the Sprite looks when we put our mouse over it (ie. the 'Rollover' state), and how the Sprite looks when we are clicking on it (ie. the down or 'Clicked' state). Depending on what kind of effect you would like to have, either will work nicely.

If you have an image in the background act as the button you can easily add an invisible hotspot to give the effect that the graphic is a button). If you have a simple background and have created separate graphics for buttons, then you can make a Sprite out of those images using each one as a different state. (Note: Transparency in your Sprite Graphics is a tricky issue as QuickTime tends to treat transparent areas as flat colours upon import. There are ways around this, such as creating the Rollover state as the background with a graphic on top of it, instead of the graphic on a transparent background).

We'll look at a combination of both 'hotspot' Sprites and 'graphic' Sprites.

In this example, our first page will allow us to move to other Sprite Pages that will either allow us to navigate through our movie (such as which chapter to skip to), or to change settings such as language/subtitle tracks and audio/commentary settings.

So, we will need to create a separate Page for each page we want to skip to. We'll return to this in a minute.

On our first Page, add a Sprite by clicking on the New Sprite icon.

Information about the Sprite we just added will appear at the bottom of the Sprite Editor window (such as its location and dimension).

Information about our Sprite.

As mentioned above, Sprites can either be invisible areas that we place over content contained within our background image, or we can choose to add a Sprite that is an image (and create mouse-over and mouse-down images that change as we interact with the Sprite - somewhat similar to Macromedia's Flash)

Note: You can rename your individual Pages and Sprites so that it is easier to remember what button does what, & which page contains which section of our 'menu' etc.

The main menu of the movie was created in Photoshop, merging content from the DVD main menu with some better quality images from the Eternal Sunshine website & DVD cover.

Adding Commands to Control our Sprites:
Control-clicking (or right-clicking) on a Sprite brings up a contextual menu, showing the available functions we can assign to a particular Sprite (such as go to a particular scene, or another Sprite frame/Page). The following image shows that clicking on the 'scenes' button takes us to the first page of the 'scenes' Sprite Pages.

Assigning the 'destination' of a button.

After control-clicking on the Sprite, the following image shows that we are assigning a 'Go To Chapter 2' command to this particular Sprite. Remember to assign actions to all your Sprites on each page.

All the Sprites up until now have been 'invisible hotspots' over images in the background. The Setup Page we'll approach a little differently. Below is a picture of the background before adding Sprites. Note: there are currently no Sprite buttons to the left/right of the forward slashes.

Adding changing-graphical Sprites to the 'movie setup' menu.

What we will do is create Rollover Sprites using the following images ('On & Off' up and over states). The white-text graphics will be the Upstate (or 'Main' state), and the yellow/orange text will be the 'Rollover' state. Note that in order to set an image as your Sprite, you must choose "Set Image" in the Inspector, after selecting the 'State' you wish to set.

Up and Over states for the On/Off buttons.

Setting the Rollover and Main button states.

If you wish, you can also place an additional image on the 'Clicked' State of the Sprite.

Now that we are creating Sprites that control how our movie is viewed (as opposed to navigated) the below picture shows the various media tracks we can enable/disabled with our Sprites.

Our movie tracks listed in Tracks View.

This picture shows the above Sprites as images (as opposed to hotspot areas in our previous example).

Control+clicking on the 'On' Sprite and selecting the above value generates the following script in MetaHoot's Inspector.


// set audio track

By default the English audiotrack will play (as that is how we have set it up in Tracks View pictured above - 'English YES, Commentary NO'). However we have set it up so that the 'On' button under 'Feature Commentary' will change the audiotrack to be the Commentary track instead. Setting the audio track back to English is very simple. Simply Control-click the 'Off' Sprite and set it to 'English'. MetaHoot will do the reverse action to the script above - turn the English Track on and the Commentary off.

Enabling Subtitles on Movie Playback.

Pictured above are some Sprites that will turn our Subtitles on and off. The 'On' Sprite will enable the Subtitle Text Track and generate the following script in the Inspector.


// set text track

When you enable a particular track in MetaHoot, it by default disables the rest of the tracks of that type. You can also edit MetaHoot's script yourself to fine-tune what you are after. In this case, I don't want to change 'Chapters' to be enabled if I disable the 'Subtitles' (as the Chapters always remain present even when disabled).

So I would alter the script to say (when I click 'On'):


// set text track

...and when I click 'Off':


// set text track

There is no need to worry about including the line that enables/disables the Chapters track.

Once you have assigned Sprite actions to all of your Sprites, you are 99% ready. The last thing you need to do is click the "Update Movie" button at the top of the Sprite Editor. MetaHoot will take all your Sprites, Sprite Pages and Commands and embed them in the beginning of your movie file.

Clicking 'Update Movie' embeds your Sprites into your movie file so that they will work in QuickTime.

Once the movie has completed updating, you can export it as a Self-Contained QuickTime movie, fire up QuickTime (or MetaHoot!) and sit back and enjoy navigating around your movie's content and options. Don't forget that you need to have a Sprite on the main page that actually plays the movie (or skips straight to Chapter 1 after you have set up the movie to play to your choice).

Remember, the steps towards creating a movie file with Sprites using MetaHoot is to prepare your media (ie. have your video and audio files ready, as well as images for use as your Sprites/menu backgrounds), set up your movie to play back with default language/subtitle settings (in Tracks View), select your movie in MetaHoot's main library, launch the Sprite Editor, create a Sprite Page, fill it with Sprites (and optionally give them names so you remember which Sprite refers to which button), give those Sprites some Actions, update your movie, and export as self contained.

We hope you find Metadata Hootenanny useful and user-friendly.  If you have any bug reports or suggestions for improvements, please e-mail the author at:

Updates and Information can be found at:

MetaHoot Guide Documentation written by: Jeff Stevenson
MetaHoot Sprite Guide Documentation written by: SEN

© 2005