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Converting MKV to ProRes

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Matthew Belinkie
Converting MKV to ProRes
on Jul 23, 2012 at 10:46:43 pm

Guys -

I make movie mashups, and it sometimes requires me to convert 10 seconds of an MKV file to ProRes for editing. I've been using MPEG Streamclip, which gets great results. However, it's very slow - the MKV file takes a long time to open, and a long time to convert.

I've never used any program for conversion besides Streamclip, but I'm open to it. Does anyone know if Squeeze or Episode can play nice with MKV files? Thanks!

- Matt


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Jessica Muth
Re: Converting MKV to ProRes
on Jul 24, 2012 at 6:58:08 pm

Episode does not support .mkv. I don't believe Squeeze can either, but someone may want to double-check me on that. I think MPEG Streamclip is your best bet.

If MPEG Streamclip is taking awhile to export the file you need, try reducing your quality settings. The lower the data rates and quality settings, the faster it will go; however, it will reduce the quality of your video. Just keep that in mine.

Jessica Muth
Production Operations Manager
Video Labs
Rockville, MD
301-217-0000
jmuth@videolabs.net


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Matthew Belinkie
Re: Converting MKV to ProRes
on Jul 24, 2012 at 7:21:01 pm

Ah well. Thanks for the advice, but if I'm going to convert these clips, I might as well do it at full quality. I tend to go way overboard with video quality, which is why I'm converting MKV files that are probably compressed at 3000kbps to ProRes, which has a bitrate 30 times higher.

I love Streamclip, which I've been using to convert media for years and years. It worries me, however, that the Mac version hasn't seen an update in almost a year. Might have to look into alternatives.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Converting MKV to ProRes
on Jul 24, 2012 at 10:46:41 pm

The time taken is most likely a reflection of the codec you are converting, not the version of Streamclip. mkv like quicktime is just a wrapper. The limiting factor is the grunt of your computer and whether the software supports all the cores you have.


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Matthew Belinkie
Re: Converting MKV to ProRes
on Jul 24, 2012 at 10:55:42 pm

I believe that most MKV files have plain old H.264 codecs inside. I think that in this case, it really is the wrapper that is slowing down the program. When I open an MKV file, the timeline of the video fills up slowly, as if the video is being decoded on the fly. If I want to move the playhead to a point near the end of the video, I have to wait a few minutes for the timeline to fill up to that point. Any other format video would let me open a file and instantly scrub to the end, but not MKV. It's not ideal, but as I mentioned, I don't know of any other programs that can open MKV files at all. Compressor can't do, Adobe Media Encoder can't do it, Episode can't do it, etc. There are programs that will re-wrap the MKV file in and MP4 file, but that would take even longer.

Incidentally, VLC plays MKV files flawlessly, with no slowdown or scrubbing problems. It's rotten at transcoding, though.


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