Video Encoders, Part 2

by JL Beeken on 1-26-2009

I’ll admit it. Video language scares me. And the phrase ‘video encoder’ is only one of many. Bit-rates, frames-rates, DivX, HD, DV, MPEG1, 2, 3, 4 …

Video EncodersI’m going out on a limb here but I think an AVI file in the video-world is like a TIFF in images. It’s large and mostly un-fooled around with, like Florida orange juice. But even when producing an AVI file, the software will ask for a choice of compression. Unlike TIFFs, ‘none’ is not an option. See what I mean about scary?

At this point, I’m guessing. There are 10 choices on this list. If I ever get tons of free time I’ll try them all and compare. If I knew the answer right now, I’d tell you.

Video Encoders

The general idea of a video encoder is to take your original video and change it to another format while preserving video quality as much as possible.

When I typed ‘video encoder’ into Google, it gave me back 2,190,000 search results. So that’s where I went. Into the maze. I was feeling time-pressured so I downloaded half a dozen versions in pretty fast succession. That wasn’t too scary because I wasn’t committing to anything yet. However, since that day, Windows has been doing a little crashing exercise every time I go to turn it off, so I guess I picked up a bug from one of them.

This is the skinny version of what I learned. There are video encoders that specialize in one file format or another, and then there are video encoders that master a very long list, covering everything from reformats for your cell-phones, ipods and blackberries to QuickTime and flash versions. Dozens of choices. That was what I was after – something to carry me through future projects.

For other reasons I’ve already forgotten, I purchased Aiseesoft Total Video Converter. So far, so good. It took 30 seconds to turn my 2.74 GB AVI file into a 20 MB user-friendly¬†QuickTime file.

This is very simple to use. It even puts little notes here and there to tell me what things mean. That helps.

First, choose the file to convert:

Aiseesoft Total Video Converter

Choose your output format. Go into Settings and make your choices. Each box tells gives you a short explanation of what it is so you’re not totally in the dark.

Aiseesoft Total Video Converter

Pick the Destination for output and click the Start button. That’s about all there is to it.

There are two extra screens for trimming or cropping your video, but this is not a full-blown video editor. If you have an editor, you might not need a video encoder. You’ll have a list of choices for output there, although not nearly as long.

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