Whether you are creating your own videos or are only grabbing existing videos from the ‘net and want to watch those on other devices other than your PC, either way you eventually encounter the need to convert your video from the format you have into another format, be that Flash video, MKV (Matroska– a new container rapidly growing in popularity), MP4 H.264 for a multitude of applications, and others using a converter or encoder. I often have to create professional looking files for various clients, so here are my favorite winners and a runner-up that may soon be one of the best free converters out there.
MediaCoder FLV Edition Video Converter
I’ve had luck recently with the free MediaCoder FLV edition Converter (though I actually use it to make MP4s by changing the setting in the top-left drop-down).
Much easier to use (by design) than the full version of MediaCoder and no requirement to pay $15 in order to do bulk conversions. If using for MPEG-4 conversions, be certain to set the H.264 profile to Baseline in the Settings if you want Windows Media Player to work! (click the image to the right for a larger view…)
Of course, Any Video Converter has been popular around here for a while:
I’d recommend Freemake Video Converter EXCEPT that it shortened my videos and knocked my sync out of whack, but I’m sure they are working on that. It is nice in that it uses all my cores OR the Nvidia CUDA processing (but don’t use the CUDA option in any converter/encoder for low-bitrate conversions…)
Also, the free Microsoft Expression Encoder is good for some things, especially if you use Windows Movie Maker, of course.
The good old standby, VirtualDub, can convert to different compression formats but only saves videos as AVI – but that is not a huge limitation, especially considering how versatile this program is.
Many of these now include basic editing functions like re-sizing and cropping along with the encoding capabilities. And they all try to make it easy to work with, though some offer greater challenges than others to — but that is often more a component of their power and flexibility.
If you know of any others that you have grown to love, let me know in the comments below!