How do I convert video from my DSLR?
April 17, 2011 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Hassle free way to share video from a DSLR?

I own a Canon 550D, which is great at what it does. The only niggle is the difficulty in handling the video files which are encoded in a highly cpu intensive codec (h264). They also take a ton of space, making it impractical to share among friends. (on USB or writable DVDs)

What's an elegant(read: simple) way of converting these videos into something more feasible and still retain a decent quality to?
posted by theJigsawLady to Technology (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I would upload to Vimeo and just let them handle all the transcoding.

If you need to edit first, download MPEGStreamclip (free) and transcode them to AppleProRes (assuming you're using Final Cut, other codecs may be better for other programs.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:52 PM on April 17, 2011

To clarify:

There is nothing inherently "large" about the H264 codec. Its files are actually smaller than some others. It's just that HD video files are large. So if you need to reduce the size, you'll need to experiment with lowering wither size or quality. But as I said above, Vimeo accepts very large files and takes care of all the legwork for you.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:57 PM on April 17, 2011

Response by poster: Vimeo, as convenient as it may be, isn't an option as I don't have a decent connection to upload these. A 10min video is about 4gb in size!

I have MPEG_Streamclip, but I'm not sure what codec to transcode to! The ones I'm familiar with (DivX, Xvid etc) don't appear in the options. Help?
posted by theJigsawLady at 2:12 PM on April 17, 2011

Best answer: I recommend that you download a copy of Handbrake. It is an open-source multi-platform video transcoder that actually comes with a great UI and a set of presets covering many reasonable scenarios. Chances are it will have a preset that optimizes for your preferred file size vs. quality equation right out of the box. It's a great piece of software, and is about as eay to use as any video conversion tool you will likely find, especially for free. Despite the 0.something version number, it has been around for a while, and is actively developed, I believe.
posted by blindcarboncopy at 3:08 PM on April 17, 2011

Transcode to H.264. There's nothing unusually CPU intensive or technically bad about the codec and it's widely supported. You just need to re-compress and/or drop the quality. Cameras (at least good ones) try to compress images as little as possible to insure you get what you asked for. Cameras also don't necessarily have the CPU horsepower needed to compress well in real time.
posted by chairface at 5:32 PM on April 17, 2011

Response by poster: Handbrake worked perfectly, thank you.

Chairface: Yep, stayed on h264! 119MB file -> 5MB file and it still looks pretty good!
posted by theJigsawLady at 8:46 PM on April 17, 2011

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