Thursday, February 7, 2008

VLC - Not just a media player

I was so desperately searching for a Video conversation software for such a long time. If you ask me why, to make the long story short, I had some good videos which I wanted to upload to my SE K550i. There are quite a few softwares that might just do the job for free, but I found the quality of their output was much below what I was expecting. And I wasn't willing to pay. What I didn't know was all those hours of searching, cracking the demo softwares would be futile.

At last, I gave up, frustrated. And one find day, I installed VLC Player just to be able to play some video formats that were not supported by the well-known players like the ubiquitous Windows Media Player. At first, I was not very impressed by its user-interface. But now its been a year since I am using VLC Player and it has won me over. It's not just a media player, but much more than that.

I tried exploring all that it can do to your videos, but its capability of converting videos from one format to another, I would consider the best functionality it has. Lets go through the process of converting a video from MPG format to MPEG-4 (My SE K550i supports MPEG-4).

Step 1 - Add the file you want to convert to its play list.

Step 2 - Pause the video. The conversion would also work with the video playing, just in case, something goes wrong, pause it.

Step 3 - Goto File -> Wizard

Step 4 - A wizard will come up. You will have two options here. Choose the second option "Transcode/Save to File. Go to the next screen.

Step 5 - On the second screen you need to choose the file you want to convert. Since you have already added the file to the play list, you need not open your file system again. Just select "Existing play list item" and on the list, select the file. Click Next.

Step 6 - Check both the boxes and select the format you want to convert it to from the drop down list. Choose the bit rates. The output file size will depend heavily on this. Experiment with different settings to get the proper mix of quality and size. Click Next.

Step 7 - You don't have anything to do on the next this screen. Just click next.

Step 8 - In this screen, click choose and specify a location where you want to save the output file. This is important. If you don't specify a file name and a location, VLC will not save it anywhere. It will just keep it in the RAM and you can see it only on the play list. Also, while specifying a file name, type in its extension also. Though you can do this later by renaming this output file with its extension. Clicking finish will start the conversion process which you can see on the main VLC window on the
status area.

After the transcoding is complete, you new file is ready to be played. congrats.....

This is one of the hundreds of things(I mean it...100) that VLC can do. Keep exploring.