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How to Become a Saved Again Convert (Video) in a Flash 
by Bernard Gorman and Shepard Gorman

There are several leading video formats and a myriad of oddball formats. Most DVD’s typically use the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG-2) format. People who share videos on the web often use the DIVX format. People who own iPods and other personal video players often use some variant of MP4 (H.264) and Apple’s QuickTime.

 While you can upload content to YouTube in many different formats, YouTube uses the Flash Video (FLV) format.  If you were to only play DVD’s or only watch YouTube or only share DIVX movies, then the wide variety of formats shouldn’t concern you. However, if you want to convert your video files to other formats; for example, to watch your favorite DVD on your I-Pod or to convert Google or YouTube downloads to a DVD, then you’ll need some video conversion software.

 Software is often distributed in three ways: as commercial (payware) software; as shareware (trialware); and as freeware.  Commercial software is typically the most expensive. However, along with higher prices, users should expect user-friendly interfaces, fewer bug and crashes, and high levels of customer support.  Shareware programs are typically downloaded without cost from websites on a trial basis. They’re often less-developed than slicker commercial software and they typically come with less customer support. After trying a program for a reasonable amount of time, if the users are satisfied, then they will be asked to pay for and register the programs. If users they find the programs don’t meet their needs, then they are expected to uninstall the programs from their systems.  Unregistered shareware programs often become inoperative after the trial period. Freeware programs are typically downloaded from the web and are offered free of charge. The programs may be free for several reasons. First, they may have been developed as part of publicly-funded grant projects and, therefore, are placed in the public domain. They may have been developed in as a teaser or an advertisement for a company’s more advanced products.  Finally, they may have been developed as a “labor of love” by software developers who wanted to show their creativity and who enjoyed mastering a difficult software engineering project.

 Let’s talk about commercial, shareware, and freeware video conversion programs. There are now hundreds of such programs but we’re going to limit our list to programs that we personally use. Several websites such as Doom9 (www.doom9.org), Mrbass (www.mrbass.org),  and Videohelp (www.videohelp.com) have extensive free guides and pointers to shareware and freeware that will give the fine details of using conversion software.

 Commercial (Payware):  Most high-powered video editor and authoring programs have some file conversion capability. These are the programs for serious home users and commercial studios. If you’ve got the budget, then we’ll recommend:

  • Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 or Adobe Premiere Elements (www.adobe.com). This is the   supreme video editor. While difficult to learn and very resource-hungry, it’s a totally professional product.

  • Avid Liquid (http://www.avid.com/products/liquid/). Like Adobe Premiere, a professional toot.

  •  Canopus Procoder 3 (www.canopus.com). This program is very expensive and y very difficult to learn but it produces excellent conversions. Kids, don’t try this one at home.

  •  Nero 8 Ultra Edition  (www.nero.com). Nero can do almost any DVD or CD task. Unfortunately, it has very poor documentation. If you look hard enough, you’ll find some great video conversion tools.

  •  Pinnacle Studio Plus 11 (www.PinnacleSys.com). Pinnacle is a division of  AVID and, like AVID makes  pro-class software.

  •  Roxio Easy Media Converter 10 (www.roxio.com)  This program is often bundled with new computer systems. It’s a great program for the serious home and educational user.

  •  Ulead® DVD MovieFactory® 6 (www.ulead.com).  The program is relatively inexpensive and while not in the same class as Premiere and Avid, it is very user-friendly and it can produce some very impressive videos in a very short time.

Shareware: These programs typically cost a modest amount (typically less than $40) but they do an excellent job.

  •  AVS Video Converter (http://www.avsmedia.com)   Produced by the same company that makes an excellent freeware viewer, this program can convert a wide variety of files.

  • Digital Media Converter (www.deskshare.com) This program can convert a batch of files at once and do so at a very high speed

  • DIVX Converter (www.divx.com) While formerly a “pirate format”, DIVX is no included in over 2500 hardware applications, such as DVD players and camcorders. This program can convert loads of other to and from DIVX.

  • Replay Converter (http://applian.com). This program does a fine job of converting FLV YouTube files to other formats.

  • Super DVD Creator 9.5 (www.brothersoft.com). This is a more powerful version of the awesome freeware program, SUPER (below)

 Freeware: These programs are free but that doesn’t mean that you get what you pay for. In fact, some of them do a better job on some file formats than do their commercial counterparts.  They are well-worth trying. Some of them have very complex interfaces but help is often available the websites motioned previously. You’ve got nothing to lose but the time it takes you to master these programs.

  • DVDFLICK (www.dvdflick.net). This program can not only convert files; it can also create whole playable DVD’s.

  • Handbrake  (http://handbrake.m0k.org/). This program will convert a DVD to a portable player format.

  • Sothink Movie DVD Maker  (www.sothinkmedia.com) Like DVDFLICK, this program converts files, does some minor editing, and burns DVD’s.

  • STOIK Video Converter 2.1 (www.stoik.com).

  • SUPER © v2007.build.23 (July 4, 2007) (www.erightsoft.com) This continually- evolving program will convert nearly any format to any other format. It will even convert moving pictures to a series of still images and it can strip the audio from TV programs to create MP3 files for listening while you exercise or drive.

  • Videora iPod Converter (www.videora.com/en-us/Converter/iPod) As the name says; this one mainly converts files to portable media players.

 In all, if you already have some of the payware programs, it’s well worth your effort to master them in order to get some very professional conversions.  With nothing to lose, you might find that the freeware converters solve your conversion problems. Finally, with their affordable price-tags, the shareware programs may save you hours.


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