What are the best programs that can convert almost ALL kinds of video files and vice-versa?
January 21, 2009 1:59 AM   Subscribe

What are the best programs (paid/shareware/freeware/open source) that can convert almost ALL kinds of video files and vice-versa?

All sort of video files such as : MJPEG · Motion JPEG 2000 · MPEG-1 · MPEG-2 · MPEG-4 ASP · MPEG-4/AVC · H.120 · H.261 · H.262 · H.263 · H.264 · AMV · AVS · Bink · Dirac · Indeo · Pixlet · RealVideo · RTVideo · SheerVideo · Smacker · Snow · Theora · VC-1 · VP6 · VP7 · VP8 · WMV · 3GP · ASF · AVI · Bink · DMF · DPX · EVO · FLV · Matroska · MPEG-PS · MPEG-TS · MP4 · MXF · NUT · Ogg · Ogg Media · QuickTime · RealMedia · Smacker · RIFF · VOB · AIFF · AU · WAV · FLA · Flash · and others

Note: It does not concern me if it a paid software or free.

Also are there programs that can rip VCD, SVCD, so the I can burn the files into DVD?

posted by omaralarifi to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
MPEG Streamclip chews many formats.

Also, FFmpeg tools.

Quicktime Pro, by Apple, can export anything it can play, to most used formats. I think Compressor, the Final Cut converter, can handle anything Quickview can.

VLC supposedly should be able to export anything it can play, but I have never got it to do that properly, ymmv. Might have various luck with different codecs.
posted by gmm at 2:23 AM on January 21, 2009 [1 favorite]

mplayer/mencoder. VLC. Both of those are open source.

Both of these will need some non-free codecs for some of the formats you mention. Some of the formats you mention probably don't have mplayer or vlc codecs, in which case you'll have to track down an individual piece of software. But, they should do the vast majority of the formats you list.

There are a zillion programs that will rip VCD and SVCD. I know mplayer will play them, so I suspect that mencoder will transcode them.
posted by Netzapper at 2:26 AM on January 21, 2009

Best answer: I've gone through every video encoding package known to man over the past ten years, as it's what I do for a job. We're currently using Episode Pro, which does a fantastic job of taking lots of formats and spitting out to lots of formats. Previously Mac-only, a Windows version is now available.

It's neither free nor cheap, but is a product that fits the bill wonderfully for commercial applications.

As an example of what we use it for, we usually capture material from Digibeta or HD source, then run it through Episode Pro to spit out four different sizes for Real, Windows Media, Quicktime and Flash video files, occasionally also using it for MPEG-2 encoding and other weird formats (3GP, etc). Episode handles the lot - resizing, automatic cropping (with respect to aspect ratio), deinterlacing, audio cleaning, and various video filters.

If you're not looking to spend money, then don't look at Episode. If money is no objection, I'd definitely recommend giving the trial a bash.
posted by sektah at 4:56 AM on January 21, 2009

Check out http://www.videohelp.com/
posted by blind.wombat at 5:23 AM on January 21, 2009

Erightsoft's Super has a UI of breathtaking ugliness, but is actually quite handy - it's a freeware front-end for a bunch of open source encoders. It doesn't compare to Episode Pro in terms of power, but you might find it easier for a small number of jobs.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 5:47 AM on January 21, 2009

Seconding Super. Its free and it works. The UI takes about 30 seconds of trial and error before you get it. Its not exactly the gimp.
posted by damn dirty ape at 6:41 AM on January 21, 2009

Super is the buggiest pile of dogshit I've ever had the displeasure of using. But YMMV.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:21 AM on January 21, 2009

I used to use Virtual Dub for this kind of stuff. I imagine something better has come along, but if you're using legacy machines or something, it might be worth checking out.
posted by box at 7:54 AM on January 21, 2009

I use Sorenson Squeeze which will handle many of the formats you mention. I wonder if anybody who uses Episode Pro can compare and contrast it with Sorenson Squeeze.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 10:39 AM on January 21, 2009

Best answer: McGuillicuddy, I've used Sorenson Squeeze 3 & 4 - that was part of our encoding solution before Episode Pro. We used it pretty much exclusively for FLV and Real, with the other formats being handled by Media Cleaner (before Discreet purchased it and completely changed it).

Squeeze was actually a pretty good encoder, and the separation of filters out from the encoding settings was an excellent touch (something which annoys me about Episode - filter settings are combined with the encoding settings, they could take a leaf out of Squeeze's book with that one). I found Squeeze annoyingly buggy and inconsistent with its interface though, and prone to occasionally flaking out and crashing in the middle of an encoding job. There were some particularly annoying bits with Real encoding - the application actually forced you to enter in sizes divisible by 16 (that is, width and height had to be evenly divisible by 16). Whilst actually a good working practice, it was insane that you couldn't disable this and force in your own numbers, no matter how weird.

Squeeze also at the time had no support for multi-processor encoding, something else that switched us to Episode Pro. I've noticed they're at version 5 now, so hopefully they've ironed out those bugs and upgraded the processor support. Despite the complaints, Squeeze was actually pretty good to use, and the workflow was very good ; it would definitely be one of the ones in consideration for use if we didn't have Episode.
posted by sektah at 10:49 AM on January 21, 2009

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