After taking some short video clips with my Nikon Coolpix 4300 I wanted to splice them together into a small production. The problem was that my camera only records in QuickTime, and my editing software doesn?t accept that format. So the seemingly simple task of converting the .MOV files to a workable format (such as .AVI) began. I quickly learned that most conversion programs are not free, and the demos typically have a banner at the bottom of the converted file advertising their product. When all seemed lost I happened to stumble across RAD Video Tools, a piece of software that makes the conversion of QuickTime videos to AVI fast and easy. The best part is, it?s free!
The RAD Video Tools consists of a conversion program that will quickly convert QuickTime video to a multitude of different formats, most importantly .AVI. This article will cover:
- a quick overview of how to use this software
- conversion format comparison
- extra features
How To Use The Software
Obviously the first step will be to download the software at RAD View?s Site. Install, and open the application. Here you will be able to enter several file types, but this article is geared towards QuickTime conversion. So select your .MOV file and click ?Convert a file?.
select the ?Output type?, here we?ll use ?AVI file?, but the list gives a foretaste of the extra features section.
Then click ?Convert?. Another window will be pop up requesting the Compressor to be used for the output video. The details of each option will be discussed shortly.
Click ?OK? to begin conversion.
Conversion Format Comparison
The original test video I used was 10.2 MB in size, and contained no sound. I then ran the same file through all of the compression types. The compression type, time, and output file sizes are below. Keep in mind that these tests were run on a Toshiba Satellite Laptop with a Pentium III processor, 196MB of RAM, running Windows 2000?not a stellar machine by any standards.
If you look closely through the list, you?ll see not all of the compression formats are listed. That is because they didn?t work for me, for one reason or another, probably due to missing codecs.
The RAD Video Tools offer features well beyond the scope of this article. A few noteworthy features include:
- Outputing to image files (e.g. BMP, GIF, JPEG, TGA, TIFF, PCX, PNG). Although this process is extremely time intensive, it will convert each frame into that file type. This is a much better approach to retrieve good quality individual frames from a movie, instead of taking a screenshot of a paused video. If you?re only looking for a specific shot, I recommend cutting the video down to the shortest form possible to save on processing time.
- ?Tweakability? of the converted video. RAD allows the following features to take place while the conversion is occuring:
- Cropping of the frame size
- Selecting the beginning and ending frames
- Adjusting contrast and brightness
- Changing the quality of the sound
- Several of the compressions also allowed for a manual quality setting. In the above list some examples are given. This is particularly nice if you want to get an internet/streaming video down to the smallest acceptable size.
While this article only touched the surface of RAD Video Tools? usefulness, it does give an introduction to one feature that is usually difficult to accomplish with most other software packages. It was accomplished with minimal effort, and had suprisingly good results.
I have no ties with the company that produces this product, but it?s worth mentioning that if you do use the RAD Video Tools application and feel inclined to support it, they do accept donations on their website.
By: Matt Deimel from Pain in the Tech
Last update: 09:12 PM Friday, August 4, 2006