Video Conversion Guide

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This Guide explains everything you need to know about converting Videos.

Why Convert?

Most of the time videos are either uncompressed or use the incorrect codec. What I mean by incorrect codec, most video makers use a single codec which is not correct for every type of video content.

For example you don't need AC3/AAC/DTS audio codecs for a short home movie, do you really need 5.1 surround sound for your kid's birthday party? I think not. Video codecs are the same situation.

What's the Difference between a Codec & a Container?

A codec is a piece of software that allows you to encode something - usually audio or video - to a specific format and can decode the media encoded in this specific format again.

Whereas a container at the most basic level is a file entension. But some containers can contain additional information such as subtitles and navigational information.

So when you say you have a AVI file it means nothing since there are 100's of codec (audio & video) that can be used with the AVI container.

What's the Best Codec?

This is one of those How long is a piece of string? questions. It all comes down to content when determining what the best codec is. Please see the sub sections below for examples on which codec to use in various situations.

What Audio Codec should I use?

As mentioned, content determines which codec to use. If you are encoding a video clip with stereo sound there is no reason to use a suround sound codec. On the other hand if you are encoding a movie you plan on playing in your home theater then you wouldn't use a stereo codec such as MP3.

What Video Codec should I use?

Where do I get Codecs?

How do I know which Codecs my file uses?

How do I use GSpot to determine my Codecs?

see GSpot Codec Information Appliance

GSpot is an easy to use program to determine the codecs used in a file. It is clear and concise and setup for basic users.

But I have a Mac! (or Linux)

How do I do a Basic Conversion?

How do I do an Advanced Conversion?

How do I make Backups of my DVDs?

Tool Guide

Which Software Package should I use?

Why shouldn't I use Nero/Adobe/etc.?

When do I use AutoGK?

see Using AutoGK

You want to use AutoGK when you are converting regular DVDs (not Blue-Ray) in to files. You can also use AutoGK for easy conversions but it doesn't handle too many formats.

How do I use HandBrake?

see Using HandBrake

How do I use VirtualDub?

see Using VirtualDub

How do I use VirtualDubMod?

see Using VirtualDubMod

Should I use VirtualDub or VirtualDubMod?


see Video Glossary

Follow the link above to see the glossary for terms used in the Video Conversion Guide.