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Bob Cole
all-purpose file converter
on Sep 29, 2012 at 9:12:17 pm

I would like to buy a file conversion utility that does it all, cheerfully and without hassle. I'm done with trying to figure out terminal utilities - I just want to be able to give a piece of software anything at all, and get back high-quality video and audio. I already use MPEG Streamclip, but that doesn't handle everything.

I edit on Final Cut Pro, After Effects, and (soon) Premiere Pro. Any recommendations would be most appreciated.

Thanks!

Bob Cole


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Mark Suszko
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 1, 2012 at 4:57:19 pm

Try SUPER converter.


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Rich Rubasch
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 2, 2012 at 10:28:07 pm

Episode by Telestream is the one. Paired with Compressor and or MPEG Streamclip you won't need anything else...well, Handbrake once in a while for a fussy file.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Shane Ross
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 3, 2012 at 11:32:26 pm

That hardly makes an "ALL IN ONE" app. I count four.

HA!

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Bill Davis
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 4, 2012 at 8:37:00 pm

I'm not sure anything "does it all" perfectly.

On the import side I use VLC as my typical "go to" tool since Thorsten has a hugely active world wide client base and he updates the software extremely frequently - but there are still holes in its ability to parse ANYTHING and convert it to Anything.

On the export side, I agree that Episode is a great "go to" tool.

I suspect that will get you 80% of everything. But not 100% cuz there are just too dang many proprietary niche codecs out there.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 5, 2012 at 11:09:27 pm

I don't know what you need exaclty but Adobe Media Encoder is pretty bad ass, albeit quirky at times.

Jeremy


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Bob Cole
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 6, 2012 at 10:13:30 am

Thank you all very much. I knew going in that "all-in-one" was ambitious, but there are some things which should be as automatic as possible, and file conversion is one of them. I like the idea of software vendors keeping up with changes in the file formats too, because that's the reality.

A related question: what do you use (Mac or PC) to download video from YouTube or other online sources? This is another case, like those ever-evolving file formats, in which the "source file" -- the browser -- keeps changing, and my old technique stopped working.

Bob C


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Mark Suszko
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 6, 2012 at 1:02:18 pm

I like clip converter.cc


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 6, 2012 at 2:01:56 pm

[Bob Cole] "A related question: what do you use (Mac or PC) to download video from YouTube or other online sources? This is another case, like those ever-evolving file formats, in which the "source file" -- the browser -- keeps changing, and my old technique stopped working."

I still use MPEG streamclip but the process is highly convoluted. I'm sure there are better ways.


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Bill Davis
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 7, 2012 at 4:04:55 am

[Bob Cole] "A related question: what do you use (Mac or PC) to download video from YouTube or other online sources? This is another case, like those ever-evolving file formats, in which the "source file" -- the browser -- keeps changing, and my old technique stopped working."

I'm kinda conservative in this, but I just don't "download videos from YouTube" at all.

I watch them there. But I simply don't ever think of downloading or capturing them in a permanent state. To do so creates a tracking nightmare at best, and at worst copyright risks that I simply refuse to tolerate.

Particularly today. A fellow producer was telling me that he went to post a client review video via YouTube exclusively for just their client to comment on before it was finished and locked down - and inside two minutes they had a received a bounce back email telling them the clip had been blocked from distribution because the metadata attached showed that there was a brief segment of copyright music embedded in one of the edited clips. He had to go back and figure out where the clip in question was - and swap it out. He said it took him two extra hours of work to correct cuz he didn't even have a CLUE which source clip had the problem embedded in it.

Using ANYTHING that I haven't sourced and KNOW is completely cleared to use I consider to be a massive potential miss-step with clients - cuz if it goes wrong, I've just signaled to them that I'm not experienced enough to avoid these kind of legal complications.

Again, my personal view. YMMV.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Bob Cole
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 7, 2012 at 11:37:09 am

I appreciate the caution, Bill. My first reaction to your post was a bit defensive, but on the Internet nobody really knows you, so I put that aside. fwiw, I buy or verify everything I use. It ain't worth the hassle.

But we shouldn't be "cows," except here. This is a whole different topic, but I believe that we need to defend the "Fair Use" concept, when we can. I admit that I've been intimidated by the lawyers before (notably, when one mega-corporation supplied me with a great image showing someone using their product, but wearing a shirt with another mega-corp's logo, I didn't use the image). It was the right call in a purely practical sense (there was no budget in this particular documentary project for my own lawyer), but I still rankle at being prevented from making a "fair use" of the logo.

Your friend's experience with the embedded metadata is interesting, and confusing. There is so much material on YouTube that seems to incorporate copyrighted material.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 7, 2012 at 1:45:51 pm

We did a piece on the history of Wrigley Field. We were a bit short on footage so we took to the Internet.

We found tremendous "home movie" footage from 1929 on the YouTube.

I used MPEG Streamclip to download the movie and use as a temp until we could track down who owned the footage.

We found them, and we paid them for it. This footage wasn't available at any stock footage establishment.

There are valid reasons to have to download things from the Internet and use them legally.


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Bill Davis
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 7, 2012 at 7:28:26 pm

First off, "fair use" is likely the single most misunderstood aspect of copyright.

It's definitions are extremely narrow - extremely specific - and you must meet ALL of the criteria, not just some a use to actually fall under the Fair Use exception.

Stanford University's web site has a nice section you can access by searching both Stanford and Fair Use that I'd recommend to anyone who's interested in the topic.

I agree with Jeremy that there certainly are niche situations where grabbing a clip off YouTube can be justified and "legalized" with additional leg work.

But I'm also contending that the ratio of proper use of YouTube sourced material compared to people simply grabbing stuff and using it improperly and/or illegally is probably on the order of a zillion to one.

And in the face of that reality, I stand by my post as a useful warning to the zillion - even if it's not always perfect advice for the one.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Bob Cole
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 8, 2012 at 10:20:10 am

Another good reason to download videos: tutorials & videos that play choppy when streaming -- especially frustrating when the video is about, or relies on, smooth playback. There was a great Red tutorial I wanted to study recently, where the whole point was the relative smoothness of different framerates - except that the choppy streaming made each sample look the same. What about screen capture programs? I used to use Camtasia on the PC, and have recently tried Quicktime Player on the Mac, but can only record the video, not the audio. Am I misusing this program or is that an inherent limitation?

Anyway, back to the topic: file conversion.

For file conversion, the suggestions have been: Super Converter, clip converter.cc, Episode (which flavor?), Adobe Media Encoder, MPEG Streamclip, Compressor, VLC, and Handbrake.

Since file conversion is something I try to do as rarely as possible, but which always seems to come up, I don't want to spend a lot of money on software, especially if that software requires paid updates to keep it current. So that rules out Episode. MPEG Streamclip is my mainstay; I'll try various others in the above list.

Thanks very much for the suggestions. One of the reasons I asked for your advice is that when I searched for programs, many of the freebies gave me the creeps - "Will this thing infect my computer?"


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Bill Davis
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 8, 2012 at 7:35:39 pm

Then I'd say hands down you'd want VLC.

It's broad. Dependable. Amazingly well supported. And reads most formats most of the time and can convert them to enough other formats that you can almost always get a file opened in your system, and send it to someone else in a format they're likely to be able to use.

It's very reasonably priced and only after a whole lot of update work, will you eventually face a modestly paid upgrade. The VLC consortium has an open source attitude and has demonstrated broad technical expertise supporting this platform for well more than a decade. The proof of it's value is that it's in use all over the planet on all sorts of systems.

I consider it the swiss army knife of video conversion tools.

Of course, you don't want to find yourself having to dig a ditch with a swiss army knife - but within it's wheelhouse, I haven't found anything better.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Michael Garber
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Oct 15, 2012 at 8:40:44 pm

Completely agreed on Adobe Media Encoder. It's my new favorite (until it doesn't do something I need it to do ;).

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company


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Fred Jodry
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Nov 18, 2012 at 2:49:15 am

Without going into contrasts and comparisons to the other softwares I will emphatically condemn VLC. This is why: It is designed for many types of good conversions which are then ready to be broadcasted over the internet easily. So far, so good. Then the maker, editor, and users of these files all alike, discover that the files, labels, batches, and folders have all been renamed or relabelled so as to be ambiguous and mistakable, or loseable by those who would store or reuse them. Correctly guessing file and format types out of the blue and renaming them or using special software sometimes repairs things but this is ridiculous. When asked by the open- source community to help them design a utility like VLC, Microsoft hoodwinked them out of designing something useful.


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Bill Davis
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Dec 24, 2012 at 7:40:15 am

[Fred Jodry] "Then the maker, editor, and users of these files all alike, discover that the files, labels, batches, and folders have all been renamed or relabelled so as to be ambiguous and mistakable, or loseable by those who would store or reuse them."

Well, VLC does not promote itself as a media management tool, which seems like what you're describing.

If that's what you want, then ante up the $500 plus for Telestream Episode.

Conversion WITH agile batch re-naming and storage location/system targeting is it's forte.

Horses for courses.

For those who just want to OPEN and CONVERT their files and figure that naming is a different part of a smart workflow - and feel the VLC price is fair for that (as I do) won't be upset that you can't get everything you desire unless you pay what it costs in the open market to get that.

Or is there a tool competitive to VLC at a similar price that does more?

If so, let us know.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Fred Jodry
Re: all-purpose file converter
on Dec 28, 2012 at 4:28:54 am

Thanks Bill, between your paragraphs and mine we have listed some dos and do nots. So far, my converter to mention again, is my brain and my keyboard (and mouse) with slightly too little in- between. Hopefully there`s something in software between VLC Player which is detrimental and free, and Telestream Episode which is $500 +. This is horrible. It is time to turn off the computer and make live plays!


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