Video conversion is something that most people don’t know a lot about. It’s understandable. Conversion is a black art – something relegated to programmers and an IT department at large companies. But, what if you’re a small business owner or just a regular “Joe” who needs to convert a video into another file type? Fortunately, there’s an easy way to do it that won’t require outsourcing or hiring a professional.
Familiarize Yourself With Some Basic Terms
First things first. You have to know a few basic terms. You don’t have to become a computer specialist, but it helps to know what the software is doing and what it’s asking from you. Common file types that you’ll run into include AVI, WMV, MPEG, and MP4. You may also come across QuickTime files if you use Mac.
Another term you might see is “frame rate.” This refers to the number of still pictures per unit of time in the video. You see, videos are essentially still just a series of images that are set into motion. The recorder rapidly captures everything that moves and the result is something that looks very different from your standard photograph though.
But, when you go to convert a video, it will give you the option of changing the frame rate, and here is where it helps to understand what this is. Video and audio resolution is measured in kilobytes per second – often referred to as a “bitrate.”
In general, you don’t want to change either the frame rate or the bitrate, as it will degrade the quality of the video and audio.
Codecs refer to how the video is compressed. It stands for “compressor/decompressor,” and it’s the method by which files can be effectively “shrunk” for transport over the Internet. DivX, XviD, 3ivx, MPEG, and RealVideo are all common codecs used to compress video files.
The aspect ratio tells you the dimensions of the video playback. Popular formats are typically rectilinear – rectangular in shape. This means the screen size for playback is 4:3. High-definition T.V.s can accommodate playbacks at an aspect ratio of 16:9. If you intend to play the video on your big screen T.V., opt for the 16:9 aspect ratio. Otherwise, optimize for the device you will be watching the video on. Don’t worry, you can always convert the video later for another device if you want to.
Picture resolution refers to the number of pixels that make up the images in the video. For example, an iPod classic video plays in 320×240.
Download A Good Video Converter
Good video converters are hard to find. Most of the free ones on the web degrade video quality for the price of “free.” If you want to maintain the quality of the source video, use something like YTD’s YouTube converter on this site. There’s a free version and a paid version which can convert video in HD, preserving the integrity of the source video file.
Ideally, your video converter will have the option of specifying the input and output folder locations, allow you to adjust the frame rate and bitrate, and offer multiple encoding (codec) options. Make sure you respect IP when using downloads.
Get Your Settings Right
A lot of videos on the Internet that look horrible are the result of bad settings during the encoding or conversion process. Every good file converter has settings you can tweak for the best possible picture and audio quality. Sometimes, customizing the video size, bitrate, and aspect ratio can improve the quality of the video.
Edit Your Video
If you don’t have Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premier, iMovie and Windows Movie Maker will suffice. Both are very capable programs that can cut and splice video clips, modify the sound, and enhance the image quality.
Share The Video With Others
Uploading your video is easy. Just go to a site like Vimeo, Dailymotion, or YouTube, and upload the video. Promoting it is the hard part. Unless you already have a good social media presence, you’re going to end up doing a lot of footwork.
CoPromote is a good way to get your video off the ground. The system requires that you have a Twitter or Facebook account (with a Facebook page you want to promote). Alternatively, you can use a Tumblr account.
The service works by opening up access to hundreds of thousands of individuals who might want to promote your video. Of course, it has to be compelling, but a boring or irrelevant video won’t gain any traction – even with paid advertising.
CoPromote’s strength is that it helps you build a grassroots movement to make your videos go viral. Others share your video and you agree to share their posts. You thereby widen your social circle and exposure.
Paula Franklin has always had a knack for technology. With a special love for photos and videos, she often blogs about her tips and tricks for editing and sharing them using today’s tech.