June, 2016 – Graham Miln

Movie Splitter and Multilingual Chapter Markers

An update to my MPEG-4/.mp4 splitting application, Movie Splitter, is now available.

Yesterday Apple’s Mac App Store reviewers accepted my latest update to Movie Splitter. The update should be available worldwide in the next 24 hours.

Movie Splitter in the Mac App Store
Movie Splitter in the Mac App Store

This update adds support for multilingual chapters markers. This odd sounding improvement is as strange as you might imagine. It is possible for movie files to include different chapter markers for different languages. In practice this ability seems rarely used.

However, it is possible for chapter markers to be associated with languages you do not use or for an “undetermined” language context.

It is this latter undetermined, und, language context that this update really addresses.

The movie footage from our Canon cameras contains chapter information in the und context. That makes sense, the camera does not involve itself with the specifics of any spoken language being recorded.

Up until OS X 10.11.4, Apple’s AVFoundation framework happily returned und chapter markers when searching for a best match. With OS X 10.11.5, this behaviour changed and und chapters were no longer returned even when they were the only chapter markers available in the movie file. Is this a bug? I am not sure. If it is, waiting for Apple to fix it is not a game I am any longer willing to play.

With the original Movie Splitter, I searched for the chapters best matching your preferred languages – as determined by your locale. In almost every case this worked.

Then OS X 10.11.5 was released and suddenly Movie Splitter was frequently not being given any chapter markers for movies that previously had good results.

With today’s Movie Splitter, I search for chapter markers for every known ISO 639-2 language code known to OS X plus und. Preference is still given to your preferred languages.

This appears to restore the previous in almost every case this worked behaviour and it improves support for splitting movie files containing chapters markers in extraordinary languages.

My thanks to those who reported this problem via e-mail and for their patience as I found and worked around the underlying cause.

Happy movie splitting!