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Tests and tutorials by Hans Nyberg

16 bit screen color is according to statistics from various sites used by between 30 and 50 % of the visitors.
Even at a site like my own the number is about 30 %. My experience (which I can see at the statistics) is that they are PC users and as I have about 25 % Mac users at my site it means that about 40 % of the PC users looks at my QTVR with 16 bit color. This corresponds very well with other sites who have less Mac viewers.

And it will take several years before the 16 bit viewers Disappears. It does not only depend on newer computers with better videocards, but there are unfortunately many people who does not even know how to change Resolution or Color Depth.
Some games changes it to 16 bit without telling you.

Statistics from The Counter

Color Depth Oct 01 Jan 02 Apr 02 Jul 02 Oct 02
32 bit (max color power) 28% 31% 34% 36% 39%
24 bit (16 million colors) 11% 10% 10% 10% 10%
16 bit (65000 colors) 55% 53% 50% 48% 46%
  8 bit (256 colors) 4% 4% 4% 3% 3%
Other or Unknown 2% 2% 2% 3% 2%

Quicktime has as default a very bad color rendering at 16 bit. It shows up in all large areas and makes the Quicktime VR´s impossible to enjoy. As a photographer I have felt very bad at displaying images this way. And the problem increases as you produce better and more clean VR with high resolution. The worst at 16 bit are those from scanning cameras which have no noise at all. The natural grain helps a lot in a VR with a blue sky or other large areas. Actually I have added noise to many of my panoramas because of this. This can however increase the compressed size with up to 50%.

However there is an option which almost completely solves the problem.

Quicktime pro has a function called High Quality Enabled and you only need to open the movie and enable this.

Once it has been enabled in QuickTime Pro all can see the movie in High Quality on a 16 bit screen.

You need QuickTime Pro to enable this function. The viewer does not need QuickTime Pro.

Below is a screen shot of the same movie made at 16 bit color. The left is the standard movie and this is how almost all QTVR movies look like.

The right has got High Quality Enabled. Read below how to do it.

You can click on the images to see the 2 movies. Change your colors to 16 bit (thousands on Mac) first.

To enable High Quality just open the movie in QuickTime Pro and choose Get movie properties from the movie menu.
Choose the panorama track and enable High Quality.

Export the movie as Fast Start if you need Fast start
If you save the movie as self contained fast start previews (if you have them) will not be available any more.
They are moved behind each face of the cubic. At least in QuickTime 6 Pro this happens for Cubics.

:::::::::just SAVE only gives you a reference file.::::::::

Below is an update of how you do it in Quicktime 7

Apple Script for fast converting to HQ

Landis Bennett has made a script you can download and use for converting movies fast.
You can just drop single movies or a whole Directory on it.

It will make a temporary directory on your desktop and convert the original.
If you want to keep a non HQ you have to duplicate it first.

This version only works on English systems but it is very easy to change it for your language.

Open it in Script editor and change the text "VR Panorama Track" to your language.

It is exactly the text you can see in the dialog above when you choose the "movie properties"

The original resource from Apple about High Quality is here
It is from 1998 but according to Ken Turkowski from the Apple QuickTime team the effect it has on QTVR was first introduced in QuickTime 5.0 in Feb 2001 or 5.0.2 in June 2001

However it seems that almost no photographers know about it.
It is not in any tutorials about QTVR
And It has not been implimented in any QuickTime VR software for Mac besides QuickTime Pro.

PanoCube for Windows is the only software which has it included .

I would like to thank Ken Turkowski from Apple who pointed this option out for me. copyright hans nyberg -

View the Full Screen of the week at
Featuring the worlds best VR Photographers.