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 Post subject: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 11th, 2014, 2:55 pm 
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i guess that there are many programs for conversion of video format to another.
i shall now describe how to download, install and use basic functions of one such program: Any Video Converter (AVC for short). it can be downloaded as freeware from their website. just look for the keywords "any video converter" and you will find it.

the format conversion has become necessary since we got to know where to find the Pontu video archive where all the video files recorded from the various live cameras are stored. these Pontu videos are saved in the so-called Matroshka-format with .mkv extension. an inconvenient coincidence is that the VLC-player (which many of us use) cannot write (= record) mkv-format though it can do it with almost any other video format. this means that shorter video clips cannot be recorded (=written) with the VLC-player although VLC can play (=read) mkv. snapshots can be taken with the VLC. the Pontu videos are very long and large files so we need some tools to make shorter video clips from them.

on their webpage click "DOWNLOAD" and select the folder where you wish to download the AVC. after downloading is finished go to that folder and start the avc-free application. it will ask you several questions. to most of them just click 'yes' or next. there are two exceptions and the first is shown in this picture. i think it might be wise not to join here so uncheck the lower box.
Image

the second offers to download some extra stuff and i think it is best to deny this, too.
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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 11th, 2014, 3:17 pm 
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after the installation is finished the AVC starts with a view like this picture. (clicking on the curved arrows makes them disappear.)
again something extra is offered but i think it was wisest to deny this, too (because i didn't know what it is).
Image

the download and installation are so 'clever' that they notice what your language probably is and so the menus which i got were in Finnish. however, the translation to Finnish is so crude (almost G-translator level) that in some cases it is almost impossible to understand the meaning of the translations (or the translations are so bad that they get on my nerve). so i have changed the language back to the original language English. the language choices can be found in the main menu shown in this picture:
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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 11th, 2014, 3:47 pm 
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next you need to select the video format to which you wish to convert. click the button on the right side of the "all" button on the top row and a menu with a very long list of choices open. near the bottom of the list i found the one which i have been using: "Customized MP4 Movie". (there are probably other useful choices, too.)
Image

then for customizing the conversion check the Basic settings on the lower right. i think that there is no need to set the size and quality lower than the originals were so keep original size and quality.
(it's not beneficial to enlarge the size because then the quality will probably get worse and i don't think that the quality can be improved afterwards. -correct me if i'm wrong!)
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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 11th, 2014, 4:02 pm 
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in the main view of AVC there are three choices how you can import the video file which you wish to convert: click the big blue add-button in the centre, click the smaller add-button in the left top corner or "drag" the video file from its folder to the AVC-area. an example of an imported video is shown in the picture below.
Image

some of these pictures were taken from an older version of AVC than the one that is offered for downloading now. some details have changed but i hope that it does not make it difficult to learn the use of the latest version.

the scissor-button (arrow 1) opens the trimming or cutting window and the magic wand-button (arrow 2) opens the special effects-window. after you have made your modifications in those windows then click the "convert"-button (arrow 3) to start the conversion.

a few words of warning: the conversion process is rather 'heavy'. it takes a lot of processing power and the resulting converted file is much larger than the original mkv-file was. (that's probably why mkv-format is used in saving the Pontu videos: to save server space.) i got in some trouble with my old pc when i first downloaded the big Pontu videos and converted them into even larger mp4-files so i soon ended up with shortage of disk space. while doing the conversion the pc ran steaming hot. :slap:


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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 11th, 2014, 4:19 pm 
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after you have clicked the scissor-button a window like this will open. the original video will be playing in the picture window and the red small triangle shows where the picture is running above the timeline under the picture window. the present time shown by the red arrow and the total length of the video are shown on the right under the timeline (in format hh:mm:ss). the example video in the picture is 4 hours long and the present position of the red arrow is 1h 12 min 47 s from the start of the video.
Image

for to select a shorter segment of the whole video click the 6th button under the timeline (marked [ ) and the "segment 1"-line will appear in the bottom of the window. small black triangles will on the timeline under it. they are the start and stop markers of the segment. move them with the left mouse-button to the points where you want (the start has to be before the stop naturally). on the segment line you'll see the exact start and stop times from the beginning of the video, together with the duration of the selected segment.

to cut more segments click the rightmost button under the timeline. - the sound level of the playing video which you are cutting can be adjusted with the slider on the right side of the buttons. it has no effect on the sound level of the resulting videos.

finally press "Apply" and then "OK" in the lower right corner when you are done.


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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 11th, 2014, 4:39 pm 
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after selecting the segments which you wish to cut and convert the main window looks like the picture here.
Image

to convert a segment click the convert-button (arrow 2).
(during conversion the AVC will not do anything else so make all your adjustments before starting conversion.)

if you wish to remove a segment click the x in the right.


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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 11th, 2014, 4:41 pm 
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if you wish to apply some special effects on a segment press the magic wand-button (arrow 1 in the above picture) and a window like this next picture will open. here the part which i have found useful, the modification of brightness and contrast, can be found on the upper left.
Image

clicking that button opens a window with slides with which you can adjust the brightness and contrast. trial-error-retrial -method will show what adjustments give the best results.
(i found this manipulation very useful for seeing what the Latvian eagles were doing in their nest when it was almost dark. if it is absolutely dark then it cannot naturally make invisible things visible.)
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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 12th, 2014, 5:22 pm 
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:hi:
Ame, you've done a great job. :bow: :thumbs:

As I understand it, this Any Video Converter is one part of the PC Optimizer Pro.
I have only bad memories of PC Optimizer Pro.
I do not dare to use it.

I think that for me, the better is to convert, using my own computer and using VLC.
PC is fast enough and has a powerful hard drive.
Using this video for help. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jMuRnMSQoU
I converted the mkv to .mp4
1. converted mp4 was about as long as the mkv download time was.
and using this video for help. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPImwsL4Zu0
VLC crashed.
The last test, the audio was OK. But the picture - 4 hours of video, I watched it 6 min 13 sec. after that, it was the last picture and the normal audio.

I do not know what to choose.
Image

Image

Image

See you on Monday. Have a nice weekend. :wave:


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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 12th, 2014, 8:46 pm 
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Ame :hi: thank you for the good instructions. :thumbs:
I hope, i can in the next eagle season to create videos :bow:


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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 13th, 2014, 12:47 pm 
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hi aita!

i think that one of the options which the downloader asked was about some pc optimizer and i denied it. i remeber that i had some bad experiences once with some such thing. it examined my pc for a very long time and then said it had found a lot of things which weren't ok and offered to sell me something. i uninstalled it at once and it went away.

i have also found some videos giving advice in how to use VLC for converting videos from one format to another, and i have tried to follow those instructions. like you i could not find out what options to select... then in the end i found on Videolan's pages information that VLC cannot convert from mkv-format, yet.
Quote:
Compatability

VideoLAN can only read matroska files.

https://wiki.videolan.org/Matroska/#Compatability
reading here means playing. writing would mean recording.

when i tried to use VLC for conversion or re-recording Pontu videos i got a video with one picture (the first one) with audio track, that's all. it is really a shame that VLC cannot do this trick though it does almost everything else. so i found AVC. it works and if you are careful you don't get extra, unwanted stuff when you use it.


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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 13th, 2014, 4:51 pm 
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now i found the table which i was looking for earlier today in the VideoLAN pages. (the problem with VideoLAN pages is that they contain so much stuff that it is difficult to find there what one is looking for... and i don't even know the key words that would help. in fact almost all the terminology is unknown to me. :blush: )
https://wiki.videolan.org/VLC_Features_Formats/
Quote:
VLC Features Formats
This is a new page that lists the audio/video codecs that VLC can or cannot read.

scroll down past a few tables to the table titled "Format/Container/Muxers". it says on the MKV-line that mkv-format is playable with VLC but not savable.
i faced similar problems as aita above when i tried to use VLC with mkv-files and felt stupid when i could not do it, before i found out that it is impossible to do it. :slap:

as you can see there aren't very many red "no"-boxes there on that page. (it's almost like besides streaming live cameras and making recordings and snapshots VLC can be used for cooking and cleaning... :mrgreen: )


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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 15th, 2014, 1:10 pm 
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the newest version of AVC didn't work quite as promised.
1: when i made several selections for clipping to be converted it converted all clippings at the same time although i had made the selection "convert 1 file at a time" in the General settings. this was no big flaw but an indication of that the program has some bugs (even in a rather trivial thing) so it may have other bigger bugs hiding somewhere.
2: a bigger mistake was that sometimes it ignored the end marking of the selection and converted the selected clip from the start marking to the end of the source file. this is a much bigger flaw than the first. for example i had sometimes selected a 5-min- clip near the beginning of a 4-hour Pontu video. after conversion which lasted for a looooooong time i got a video clip which was 2 - 3 hours long, starting from the start point of my selection and ending in the end of the Pontu video. that was something i really did not want to happen.

so i downgraded my AVC to the earlier version i had save, that is uninstalled the new version and reinstalled the old 5.0.9. the re-installion did the trick which aita wrote about: it installed together with AVC some pc-repair tool which wanted to scan my pc
(i uninstalled it just a short while ago but i already forgot the name! :slap: :blush: :laugh: )

it was a nuisance because there was no way to close that window and i certainly did not want it to do what-ever it wanted to do... so i went to the Control Panel and uninstalled the thing. then it went away. phheeww...


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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 15th, 2014, 8:19 pm 
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:hi:
Today I got such a tool HandBrake, I love it. :loveshower:
I do not know whether this is a suitable tool, a low-power computer.
A wise man, downloaded it to my computer. Internet address, I do not know. :blush:

click the Source, select the mkv file you want to convert, choose where to save the file mp4, click the Start button.
Image

nova MKV file I've downloaded, for about 14 minutes. Using the Handbrake, converted MKV to MP4, 29 minutes. This video from end of nova file.


hyljes MKV file I've downloaded, for about 5 minutes. Using the Handbrake, converted MKV to MP4, 35 minutes. This video from beginning of the hyljes file.


EDIT 17. Dec 2014
What HandBrake is, what HandBrake isn't
https://trac.handbrake.fr/wiki/HandBrakeGuide


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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 16th, 2014, 12:58 pm 
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aita, thank you for finding us another tool for converting videos! :thumbs:

i found its webpage:
https://handbrake.fr/

i'll try it right away. :D

i also loved the test clippings you made for us. the young pole-dancing eagle is the funniest i ever saw on the eagle feeding place. it almost managed to stand on the pole for half a second. :rotf:

the seal clip was from the beginning of the present seal season i guess. those men in the rubber boat must be the brave camera fixing crew. the interesting thing was that the seals weren't shy of the men at all: the swam rather close to the boat to have a good look at them. :laugh:


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 Post subject: Re: Video format conversion
PostPosted: December 16th, 2014, 2:16 pm 
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now i have made a test run with the Handbrake. i used as source one Juras-Erglis Pontu video of length 1 h 52 min (of which most was dark nighttime). the conversion took 18 min which is ok.

there one shortage in Handbrake: it only converts the source video. that means that if (and when as in dealing with 4-hour Pontu videos) one wants to make short clips one has to use some other program to clip the video. making clips is possible with VLC by making a recording of the wanted episode.

editing the video, like manipulating brightness and contrast, is impossible both with Handbrake and VLC. for these tasks i think i'll still use AVC.

i made (again) a little survey in the web looking for information about video editing and conversion tools in Finnish (i have a funny feeling that Finnish nerds might be more reliable and unbiased critics in describing these tools, but i don't know if it really is so.) one of these pages was Neptunet.net which describes itself as a "website of information technology information with practical information on computers". there are also pages on video editing tools and video formats conversions. they describe for example the terminology in a way that gives a layman (and -woman) a feeling of understanding these things a little (if one understands Finnish in the first place).
http://neptunet.net/2013/04/09/videoide ... untaminen/

in the above page they also warn about harmful programs and computer viruses which may spread with free video converter programs. i found similar warnings when i read reviews and critiques of video converters and editors on English-language pages, too. (see for example the discussion under this review:
http://www.techradar.com/news/software/ ... ad-1136264)

any way, i think that the Finnish Neptunet-page sounded reliable and they gave a list of free and payable video convertors and Any Video Converter was on the top of the freeware list. i think this is some evidence of it being reliable and good.


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