End of Life – Quicktime for Windows Is About to Vanish

April 21st, 2016
End of Life - Quicktime for Windows Is About to Vanish

It’s official! Quicktime for Windows is no longer supported by Apple. What does this mean for all the filmmakers out there who rely on the ProRes line of codecs?

Security holes in Quicktime for Windows

Nowadays, many cameras are capable of recording to the popular ProRes codec in various flavors. The codec is being used widely throughout the industry due to its robust set of features and its capability of being integrated flawlessly within a wide range of workflows. Every major NLE system can handle the *.mov file containers.

Two weeks ago, the security company Trend Micro published an article in which two major security flaws were uncovered. The article came along with an “urgent call to action” to immediately uninstall QuickTime from Windows machines to maintain data security.

Quicktime for Windows

According to Trend Micro, there are two primary reasons for their vigorous statement, first:

Apple is deprecating QuickTime for Microsoft Windows. They will no longer be issuing security updates for the product on the Windows Platform and recommend users uninstall it. Note that this does not apply to QuickTime on Mac OSX.

More importantly:

Second, our Zero Day Initiative has just released two advisories, ZDI-16-241 and ZDI-16-242, detailing two new, critical vulnerabilities affecting QuickTime for Windows. These advisories are being released in accordance with the Zero Day Initiative’s Disclosure Policy for when a vendor does not issue a security patch for a disclosed vulnerability. And because Apple is no longer providing security updates for QuickTime on Windows, these vulnerabilities are never going to be patched.

Apple’s official statement

And now, Apple have confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that they are not going to support Quicktime for Windows anymore. So what does all this mean for us as filmmakers? Well, it is quite a shock, because as of today you end up having two options as a Windows user:

1) Uninstall Quicktime – the safest option, but you’ll end up having no chance to play back or edit ProRes files anymore

2) keep Quicktime – shouldn’t be an option. Only do this if you have no alternative or if you are finishing a ProRes project as we speak

Solutions and workarounds

If number one is an option for you, then you should switch to a different codec right away, such as DNxHD or DNxHR. The problem lies in the fact that many modern cameras record to ProRes. Not quite as many are capable of recording to DNxHD/HR. So there should be a swift response from the industry, too. Red, for example, offers a free update for their whole lineup of cameras which unlocks recording to DNxHD/HR.

Quicktime for Windows

Red offers DNxHD/HR as a free update

Adobe did make an announcement on that very issue, too. It is a bit confusing, though. They recommend uninstalling Quicktime for Windows. On the other hand, they also admit that some core functions of their Creative Cloud suite may be affected by doing so. Hopefully, they can come up with some solution very soon.

Conclusion

The seemingly small step for Apple to discontinue Quicktime for Windows could turn out to be a significant leap for the camera and filmmaking industry. Hopefully, the manufacturers will come up with—and provide—some solutions quickly. Red is a good example that others should, and will hopefully, follow.

For now, make sure to run an anti-virus scan on your Windows machine and think twice when handling Quicktime movies on Windows machines!

Please Note: The link to Wall Street Journal points to a subscription based article. However, the first paragraph tells you nearly everything that you need to know.

UPDATE

As you can see, there is a vivid discussion going on in the comments on this matter. It seems that only the Quicktime player for Windows as well as the web components such as browser plugins are affected by these security flaws. NOT the ProRes codec itself. So, it should be safe to work with Quicktime encoded files as long as you solely use the codec (within a NLE), not the player or browser plugin. However, you should be cautious when handling Quicktime files on Windows machines.

Thanks to Patrick Zadrobilek, PiDicus Rex and all the others for contributing! Check out Patricks article on this.

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Member
April 26th, 2016

I shoot h.264 .mov video on my nikon dslr. Won’t I be able to edit that? Or is it just prores?

Member
April 27th, 2016
Reply to  Alfred Larsson

Apple should have fixed the flaws first before abandoning windows users. Besides, software companies like adobe and blackmagic should work more to remove their product’s dependencies to quicktime. I wonder if they have contracts or whatever.

Member
April 28th, 2016
Reply to  Lugtu Dave

They license the use of the ProRes CoDec for the external recorders, but the use of the API is separate – same as the use of the Quicktime player is free to end users.

Member
April 28th, 2016
Reply to  Alfred Larsson

It’s not a matter of which CoDec you use to shoot on.

Quicktime is the underlying API that allows the NLE application to playback the video files. Without it, the NLE’s can’t srub through or display the vision.

Crimson Son
Crimson Son
Member
April 28th, 2016
Reply to  PiDicus Rex

Again, you are wrong.
Media Composer can play their own QT codecs and even ProRes without QT Player being installed. It can even export those files to MOV too with QT7.
Edius can play its own HQ/HQX without QT7 either.

Member
April 29th, 2016
Reply to  Crimson Son

Then why do you need to install Quicktime before the NLE?
Answer, they use it as the playback engine.

Crimson Son
Crimson Son
Member
April 29th, 2016
Reply to  PiDicus Rex

You are incomplete at the very least, and completely wrong at worst.

MC need QT if you need to process codecs that are strictly Quicktime MOV only. But ProRes and DNXHD/HR are NOT strictly MOV. They can exist in MXF format.

When Avid links to a MOV file, it checks internally if it has the codec support. If it does, it ignores QT playback engine. This is the case of for ProRes and all Avid native codecs (Meridien, DNXHR/HD, JK2, XDCAM, XAVC, DVCPro, AVC-I, etc. etc.).

Like most NLEs, they ASSUME you want to work with some QT media. But it is absolutely not necessary in Avid’s case as well as some NLE. You can edit DNX, Prores and all other native Avid codecs (including those from Sony, Pana, Red and such) without QT at all.

So please stop spreading misinformation. You are assuming so many things and it seems beyond your technical knowledge and understanding.

Patrick Zadrobilek
Member
April 23rd, 2016

The problem is that at the moment in Premiere CC only DNxHD and DNxHR are working natively without Quicktime-Codecs installed. Any other codec within the QT container simply does not work, they appear as offline. So there is no alternative and I think there will be no quickfix for this. So as I mention in my article above, jut keep Quicktime (only the codecs, no player and no web components) installed and just continue the work.
We’ll see if quicktime for windows really dies, or another codec/container replaces Quicktime, like DNxHD or Cineform.
Some time ago I did a test to compare codec playback performance of 4K codecs and even though QT is “only” 32-bit it has the best playback performance in Premiere CC of all codecs I had in my test.

Here is the test:
http://ntown.at/2016/03/15/building-a-4k-video-editing-workstation-for-2016-part-1/

Member
April 26th, 2016

‘best’ in Prem? In my experience, that’s ‘which one sucks less’
Even with mercury playback engine and Cuda cores, I don’t get why Prem freezes the scopes on playback.

Too used to Edius ;)

Member
April 27th, 2016

We already have a container, in the form of MPEG-4. We need a video architecture to replace QuickTime.

Member
April 28th, 2016
Reply to  Oscar Goldman

Mpeg4 isn’t a ‘container’, it’s a set of CoDec’s.
.mov, .avi, .mkv, .mp4 – those are the containers, the latter being the one that is used most often to hold the Mpeg4 (or h.264) CoDec.

Member
April 29th, 2016
Reply to  PiDicus Rex

Wrong, as I mentioned above. MPEG-4 IS A CONTAINER FILE FORMAT, based on QuickTime’s.

Oh here, I’ll just paste the same thing I pasted for your information before. How many times must you be spoon-fed facts?
____________________
No. MPEG-4 is a file standard and it did not come from Microsoft (as I noted above, it’s derived from the QuickTime file format). It’s a container that can hold not only video, but also still images and 3-D models and other documents.

Seriously, do the tiniest bit of research before presenting falsehoods as fact: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPEG-4_Part_14

Member
April 29th, 2016
Reply to  Oscar Goldman

That’s funny,… Because I used the hacked (statute of limits is up ain’t it?) as part of getting files out to people on an NLE from Last Century,… 1998.
And that was prior to Quicktime having mpeg4 support.
(Hadn’t thought about editing on an IOMega Buzz based system in a while, or a Quadrant Q-motion 150 )

Member
April 29th, 2016
Reply to  Oscar Goldman

Oh, look, here’s a Wiki to quote for lulz, you’ll see the info predates Quicktimes version of mpeg4 by three or four years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPEG-4_Part_2

Member
April 29th, 2016
Reply to  PiDicus Rex

You’d be better off reading instead of trying to distract anyone from your incorrect assertions by spewing out bluster and ever more irrelevant “information.”

You’ve been spoon-fed the correct information and clearly didn’t bother to read it. Witness your reference to “Quicktimes [sic] version of mpeg4”; that’s backward. As I noted and is defined at the link I provided, it’s the other way around.

Member
April 29th, 2016
Reply to  Oscar Goldman

Oh/And,… second paragraph,… under ‘History’.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DivX

Now go troll someone else.

Crimson Son
Crimson Son
Member
April 29th, 2016
Reply to  PiDicus Rex

Both of you are off.
MPEG-4 (without any qualifier) are just bunch of standards. This include compression standard, container, deliverable, formats, metadata, etc. etc.

.mp4 (NOT to be confused as just “MPEG-4”) is the container format of the standard MPEG-4 Part 14. This is the one based on Quicktime and H.264 developments from Apple.

There are other standards and formats that falls under the big umbrella of “MPEG-4” including MS’ ASF format, MPEG 1 and 2, etc.

Member
April 29th, 2016
Reply to  Crimson Son

I wasn’t off. I already stated MPEG-4 file container, and linked to its definition.

It was going to be the next big thing in authoring and content delivery in the early 2000s, but physical media were still popular at the time and MPEG-4s capabilities weren’t fully explored at the time.

Member
April 29th, 2016
Reply to  PiDicus Rex

Why are you posting links about a codec? We’re talking about container files. You don’t seem to be able to absorb that.

Member
April 23rd, 2016
Reply to  Olaf von Voss

It’s one we all need to know about.
Very much doubt there’s any other API ready to replace Quicktime, although, there’s a hack that lets ffmpeg export ProRes on PC :D

Member
April 23rd, 2016

So,… lotsa people commenting, nobody noticing two little things.

1., This is a security issue in the Browser Plug-In.

That Plug-in is no longer installed by default when you install Quicktime.

2., The announcement all came via Trend Micro and US Government sources, before the copy-n-paste-press knee jerked it in to the public space – And the cynics among us may question why the US Gov wants everyone to delete Apple products after the whole “we’re not going to backdoor our phones for you” story.

I’m not aware of a single NLE that Doesn’t require the Quicktime CoDecs and core engine for the NLE to function. ( Function ‘fully’ is something else – it would be nice to be able to export ProRes from Windows based platforms.)

Iff this E.O.L. statement does include the standalone program incorporated in to NLE’s, it will also affect the use of ProRes on the external recorders.

Member
April 23rd, 2016
Reply to  PiDicus Rex

Quicktime was not supported since Windows 8.1. There is no question that all camera/external recorder/NLE manufacturers should have an alternative by now.
But this is a wake-up call for them to force things forward and away from QT. There is no “Government against Apple” conspiracy theory behind it, just large companies playing their monopoly game against consumers.

P.S. Premiere is working fine without QT other than not supporting Prores.

Member
April 26th, 2016
Reply to  Kotlos Kotlos

“P.S. Premiere is working fine without QT other than not supporting Prores. ”

So, not working at all with any import of footage shot on ProRes?
Or do you just mean the lack of export.
Because not being able to import ProRes files to Premiere would kill off one huge slab of the customer base, and Adobe aren’t that stupid, yet.

James Manson
James Manson
Member
April 26th, 2016
Reply to  PiDicus Rex

Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?

Crimson Son
Crimson Son
Member
April 26th, 2016
Reply to  James Manson

Actually, the vulnerability seems to be with the APIs and not just browser based files.

While the US CERT is a gov agency and under the Homeland department, it is a little conspiracy theorist to argue that they have some big agenda. Lets be honest QT Player 7 is so low in the Apple own’s agenda. Obviously demonstrated by the lack of development on it for years. Not sure what this achieves even if you believe this conspiracy.

This does not explain Trend Micro’s own announcement.

And he is also wrong about QT codec and core engine being required. MEdia Composer, even old Vegas and current Edius does not require it. They can ingest, edit and output without QT just fine.

Member
April 26th, 2016
Reply to  Crimson Son

Then why does Edius require it to install?

Member
April 23rd, 2016

QuickTime is a mess on every platform. The only container file we need is MPEG-4 (which was based on Quictime’s antway), and unencumbered codecs.

Apple’s failure to update QuicTime for Windows in what, 10 years, tells you they don’t care about their “creative” customers anymore.

Apple is done with application software and its components. They sell a million iPhones a day and skim 30% off everyone else’s work.

Member
April 23rd, 2016
Reply to  Oscar Goldman

Mpeg4 came from Microsoft, then was hacked for Div-X and Xvid, and then supported by Apple.
This was in the late 90’s, before most people even knew what an NLE system was, and before Mpeg4 supported anything larger then Q-sif – Div-X was the hack that supported Std Def.

Member
April 24th, 2016
Reply to  PiDicus Rex

No. MPEG-4 is a file standard and it did not come from Microsoft (as I noted above, it’s derived from the QuickTime file format). It’s a container that can hold not only video, but also still images and 3-D models and other documents.

Seriously, do the tiniest bit of research before presenting falsehoods as fact: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPEG-4_Part_14

Tulio Campregher
Tulio Campregher
Member
April 22nd, 2016

The vunerability only affects the browser version, you can use QT for editing, no problem.

Member
April 22nd, 2016

I seitched to windows 2 weeks ago when my imac died. I had vowed to switch to adobe cc whenever i coukd no longer use fcp7, the move to 4k snd lack of 64bit support made that an increasingly pressing issue.

Fcpx was not for me. I accept that many users have made the switch and enjoyed it, thats a different debate for another day.

My concern on the back of this stticle is that I have xfat drives full of old projects, in dome I just saved the h264 rushes (fine) in others I saved the transcoded apr 422’s.

Am I safe enough to use qt in windows to access my old projects? Does this issue only affect quicktimes coming from unknown sources?

Patrick Zadrobilek
Member
April 22nd, 2016
Reply to  Paul Russell

QT ist perfectly save, no worries. Just install the QT codecs without the player or the web-player plugins. A codec does not connect itself to the outside world, some players do.
Just read the article I posted above.

Konstantin Zettiness
Konstantin Zettiness
Guest
April 22nd, 2016

There is one other option — keep your editing box offline. I know I do.

Member
April 23rd, 2016

Ditto.
And then when you go to the forums (looking at you BMD and Adobe) people say your mad not to just use ‘the cloud’, ‘its the way things are done now’,… Or, ‘you’ll have to download all these installation items that we didn’t include in the distribution because people download them automatically during the installs’

I like to reply, when those same people scream that the update just killed their editing system, with “I Told You So”.

Member
April 23rd, 2016
Reply to  PiDicus Rex

you + are = you’re

FYI

tomi bommi
tomi bommi
Member
April 22nd, 2016

apple decides to not support a platform that has a long tradition in opening doors to malicious software any longer. they make enough money in the consumer market. users who are disappointed by those two facts should question themselves why they trusted windows to do their important work in the first place.
it all reminds me on the fcp7 to fcpx switch. systems that were running smooth for ages seemed to have become completely useless over night. and still – in the year 2016 -some prefer fcp7 over fcpx or premiere. so i can only guess, probably it still works fine.
maybe its all more about what decision the user makes and not the ones of another big company.

Ollie Kenchington
Guest
April 22nd, 2016

For God sake, this is such a joke – Apple have been winding down QuickTime on PCs AND MACS for about eight years!!! They even abandoned its use in there own video editing software five years ago!

Member
April 22nd, 2016

But Avid is a company on the brink, that barely mentioned it’s Media Composer line of products at NAB.

You suggest everyone should switch to Avid codecs when we don’t know if Avid will be in that business next year?

Joshua Valdez
Guest
April 22nd, 2016

I smell new video codecs for windows baking in the oven.

Member
April 27th, 2016
Reply to  Joshua Valdez

It’s not just codecs that are the problem: It’s an entire system-wide video-encoding and -decoding facility.

QuickTime has been junk for eons, but we’ve all just limped along with it and Windows Media.

We desperately need a cross-platform, open-source video architecture.

Sundance Witte
Guest
April 22nd, 2016

Yet another reason Apple inc. Is short sighted. Attempting to dictate to consumers will only cause competitors to have an opportunity to produce a substitute. Im not sure if this is an attempt to sell mac products,or if it is a way to maintain the marketshare that they are already slowly losing due to the fact that Adobe slid in at the right moment that FCPX decided to once again dictate to people what they want.

Im not buying a new rig that is triple the price of it’s worth just because they are ceasing support for a codec that there is already a replacement for.

Chris Allen
Guest
April 22nd, 2016

Time to sort that hackintosh out :D

Don Hunt
Guest
April 21st, 2016

“the target must visit a malicious page or open a malicious file.” i don’t know about everyone else but i don’t use my editing computer for browsing the web, so i don’t see why i should be worried about this.

Bernhard Holzhammer
Guest
April 21st, 2016

phew…

Surisaddai Espinosa
Guest
April 21st, 2016

(Move to MacPro)

Christof G. Dertschei
Guest
April 21st, 2016

Wird ihnen aber wenig nützen ?

Patrick Zadrobilek
Guest
April 21st, 2016

Ja, die Aussage von Apple “kauft Apple Computer, sie sind sicher UND haben Quicktime” :D

Darrin Smith
Guest
April 21st, 2016

Huge inconvenience for me.

 raul Demarco
raul Demarco
Member
April 21st, 2016

UNBELIEVABLE!
Apple don’t give a shit about people who depend on this codec and
workflow for their daily basis job!!!!!!!!!!!
How uncaring can a company like Apple be (richest corporation in the hi tech world)
That’s it, Apple is dead to me, like their Chinese workers who commit suicide every day.

James Manson
James Manson
Member
April 26th, 2016
Reply to  raul Demarco

Ha ha. Thanks for the Monday morning hilarity. Apple care just fine. Great customer support, great software and great machines to edit on.

Christof G. Dertschei
Guest
April 21st, 2016

Da kommt noch irgendwas schätz ich, ganz so saudeppert und blind werdens ja hoffentlich nicht sein…. oder doch?

Patrick Zadrobilek
Guest
April 21st, 2016

Ja, gerade jetzt wo QuickTime in sehr vielen Recorder, cameras und software verwendet wird sowas zu verlautbaren grenzt ja schon fast an Fahrlässigkeit von Apple.

Member
April 21st, 2016

DNxHD is not the solution, since it also uses elements of Quicktime as stated by Adobe:

“Other commonly used QuickTime formats which would be affected by the uninstallation of QuickTime include Animation (import and export), DNxHD/HR (export) as would workflows where growing QuickTime files are being used (although we strongly advise using MXF for this wherever possible).”

Crimson Son
Crimson Son
Member
April 21st, 2016

DNXHD/HR can be can be in MXF format. Does not have to be MOV.
Premiere and MC can read both formats. Resolve can but not sure if it depends on QT Player to do so ( I dont think so).

Christof G. Dertschei
Guest
April 21st, 2016

Völlig Idiotisch und kurzsichtig von den Applern – macht ja auch uns Apple Usern Ärger, wenn wir irgendwann ev. nicht mehr so easy mit den Windowsusern files austauschen können etc.

Patrick Zadrobilek
Member
April 21st, 2016

Apple is loosing users to Windows again and doing everything to get them back.
It’s a highly strategic move. I wrote about the problem earlier: http://gadgetflux.net/adobe-premiere-quicktime-security-issue/

Member
April 23rd, 2016

“Loosing?” As opposed to “tighting?”

Patrick Zadrobilek
Member
April 21st, 2016

Apple should cooperate more and destroy less.

Patrick Zadrobilek
Guest
April 21st, 2016

Apple möchte halt durch diese aktion dass wieder mehr User richtung Apple kommen, denn dort wird Quicktime ganz normal verwendet und upgedatet. Reine Schikane. Hab darüber schon berichtet.
http://gadgetflux.net/adobe-premiere-quicktime-security-issue/

Christof G. Dertschei
Guest
April 21st, 2016

So wie ich das verstehe ist aber nur der Player in Kombi mit Webaufrufen ein Sicherheitsproblem, oder? Nicht quicktime selbst.

Member
April 21st, 2016

Cheers for bringing this forward. More pressure is needed in order to quickly remove any prores and QT dependencies from both cameras & NLEs.

Member
April 21st, 2016
Reply to  Kotlos Kotlos

Moreover it should be noted in the article that Davinci Resolve is almost inoperable if QT is uninstalled since QT is used for playback of most codec/wrappers.

Jeff Jones
Jeff Jones
Guest
April 22nd, 2016
Reply to  Kotlos Kotlos

I just noticed that. I wonder what Black Magic Design is planning to do there. Have they officially commented on it?

Crimson Son
Crimson Son
Member
April 21st, 2016

M – X – F

Member
April 23rd, 2016
Reply to  Crimson Son

MXF is a wrapper, not a CoDec such as ProRes is.

Most of the CoDecs that are available under MXF don’t have the low compression rate of ProRes or DNxHD.

Now, if you’d said MXF with CineDNG Raw, that would be a viable alternative, is Raw was properly supported by all the external recorder manufacturers and camera manufacturers – it’s still a little spotty.

For guys like my who bought Atomos Shoguns, it’s even worse then spotty – C-DNG will now not be released until a month after then next product cycle.

Crimson Son
Crimson Son
Member
April 23rd, 2016
Reply to  PiDicus Rex

I’m confused by your comment. The issue is with QT decoding malicious files from the web. MOV is a container. So I suggested an alternative container that is widely supported in production and post – MXF.

What do you mean “most codecs under MXF dont have low compression rate of ProRes and DNxHD”? BOTH of these codecs are available under MXF. In fact, DNxHD is the first HD codec under MXF.

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