How to convert Sony .mpg files
August 16, 2011 9:55 AM   Subscribe

What's the best method to convert a Sony Handycam .mpg to something that will play on an old Mac OS 10.4?

I just bought a Sony Handycam SX45 standard def. camcorder. I chose it because the reviews said the output format was .mpg. They neglected to mention that it's a special Sony .mpg that doesn't play on my old Mac OS 10.4. Newer versions of iMovie supposedly convert it but not my old iMovie 6.

I have VLC and can open and play the .mpg files, but I don't have any idea on the best method to export them to something that will work on my Mac (Ogg Vorbis? I mean… come on).

Other than buying a new computer; any hints on how to do this and preserve the quality of the video in the best format would be much appreciated.
posted by jabo to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: MPEG Streamclip hasn't failed me yet. There are very few great free programs anymore but this is one of them. You should be able to output to any sort of Quicktime codec; H264 is fairly standard.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:11 AM on August 16, 2011

WinFF is my goto file converter.
posted by COD at 10:12 AM on August 16, 2011

FFMPEG all the way.
posted by supercres at 10:16 AM on August 16, 2011

posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:23 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Poet_Lariat has it. Handbrake it to a Quicktime variant. If you have Quicktime Pro, I think you can import the .mpg and output it as Quicktime.
posted by Sphinx at 10:45 AM on August 16, 2011

FYI, you can download VLC for 10.4, and that should play it on your old Mac.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:41 AM on August 16, 2011

Response by poster: Ok, what I've found so far…

MPEG Streamclip works and has a simpler interface than VLC. WinFF isn't for Macs. FFMPEG is a command line tool that seems more suited for developers. The Handbrake version for Mac 10.4 doesn't support the Sony .mpg file my camcorder records in.

I have VLC and I've gotten it to play the files. I can't seem to find any good documentation on the export settings so I guess I will have to play around with them. I found another program Wondershare Video Converter that seems to work with 10.4 and it's free.
posted by jabo at 1:25 PM on August 16, 2011

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