How do I convert this video file to something more friendly?
September 21, 2006 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Need to convert from a wierd video format to something more friendly.

I have several video files in .dat format. They open up and work fine in VLC media player, but I'd like to get them in something that will play in Windows Media Player. (Need to distribute them to non-geeks, so I need to make it easy for them to view.)

I see that VLC has a video capture tool, and I'm fine with using that, but every format combination I've tried so far doesn't produce a video that is playable in Windows Media Player.

Any ideas?

Preferably something free or cheap (obviously).

I've googled it, but the amount of results is overwhelming, and I'm hoping that one of you experts out there know exactly what I'll need.

posted by andrewdunn to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why not convert it to something that you can upload to Google Video or YouTube?

Quicktime? .MOV? .AVI?
posted by unixrat at 8:36 AM on September 21, 2006

Response by poster: Actually that isn't a bad idea.

But the issue still remains, what can I use to convert them into something that is uploadable to gvid/youtube?
posted by andrewdunn at 8:39 AM on September 21, 2006

Here's the only article from the comprehensive that addresses how to do it. The end result will be an mpeg-1, I assume.

(DAT is the video format of a VCD. Recognizing that was the only reason that I could even find a guide for it.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:54 AM on September 21, 2006

As Mayor Curley said, it's a VCD "file", which is basicially MPEG-1 video / audio streams intereaved in a particular way (optimized for reading from a CD)

Get yourself VCDGear - it's the swiss army knife of VCD processing. Do an extraction/conversion from DAT to MPG and you'll get a nice normal MPG file that most other tools will be happy to deal with (including Windows Media Player).
posted by chuma at 10:27 AM on September 21, 2006

if it's a VCD mpeg, you can just rename the files to mpg and they should play fine. When I had a load of 8mm film digitized a few years back, everything came back as .dat files on CDROM. They renamed and loaded into the editor just fine.
posted by rhizome at 11:02 AM on September 21, 2006

I had this problem. Here's my solution:

First off it was encoded with some funky divx codec that doesn't exist anymore. I could play it, but not do anything with in any popular editor software. Try lots of convertor software too - no luck

As a wild shot in the dark I upload it to youtube. It accepted it! Used firefox with plugin and downloaded it in its flash format.
posted by bleucube at 1:12 PM on September 21, 2006

VLC can transcode video and audio itself. The options also appear to be available through the Preferences.
posted by xiojason at 1:54 PM on September 21, 2006

What rhizome said. No need to transcode at all (in fact the files should work if you just drag them manually into WMP).
posted by neckro23 at 10:46 PM on September 21, 2006

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