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The most common error newbies with books for video applications make is not copying the material locally. The material should be copied to your drive instead of trying to play it from the DVD.
Do that first and then tell use what happens.
This feature works fine on my systems.
Double-clicking on footage in the project window should open in in the After Effects Footage window, as you are observing. That is the expected behavior, as far as I know.
If you select the item in the project window, and hit "Ctrl E", it will send AE a request to open that footage item in it's associated "external editor". In your case, it should launch the file in Quicktime Player.
edit: To Todd, as an interesting note that I discovered when replying to this post, it seems as if the "Edit Original" command under the Edit menu remains "greyed out" even though the keyboard shortcut is usable when having a footage item selected in the Project window. Is this a bug that you were aware of, and is it something that is addressed in CS4?
Windows XP pro 64
Tim from Adobe (Thanks Tim!) helped me work out that "Edit Original" issue. I needed to trash my prefs and the menu command started acting normally again. So, the OP should be fine using the menu command itself instead of the quick key combo.
Thanks Steve, yeah the Ctrl+E works as expected. Maybe the book was wrong, or it applies on the Mac.
No, at some point in history the behavior of opening the native player was the default, so the book may be right on a more generic level.
Yes, the book talks about both AE7 and AE CS3. So maybe AE7 had it.
I'm fairly positive that AE 7 also opened the footage in the "footage" window when you double-clicked it. Perhaps that portion of the book is left over from some much earlier editions. Anyway, it's all working out now!