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  1. Member
    Join Date: May 2007
    Location: United States
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    I'm looking for a starter video conversion software. I'm looking for a simple GUI for a beginner. I need to convert flv, avi, mpg, mpeg, and wmv to different formats. I would prefer not to mess with the audio and video aspects.

    Another important aspect is that there is a somewhat easily understood help file and/or forum in case I have questions.

    I checked out the tools section and there are 70ish programs available. So, I'd like to narrow it down to a few. I would be greatful for any recommendations. Freeware or paid software is fine with me.

  2. Member GMaq's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Canada
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    Hi,
    I like WinFF, I wouldn't say it's GUI is necessarily what you want but, it is simple, if you don't specify new frame rates or aspect ratios it won't change them from your source. It comes with many common conversion presets and there are more to download in the WinFF forum. www.biggmatt.com

  3. Member Marvingj's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Location: Death Valley, Bomb-Bay
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    Try winavi its pretty simply .................
    http://www.absolutevisionvideo.com

    BLUE SKY, BLACK DEATH!!

  4. Member
    Join Date: May 2007
    Location: United States
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    At another forum (for cross-references) I was told about "total video converter". Any opinions on this program? I did hear a common complaint is that it is bundled with "total video player" which is not desirable for most.

  5. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Location: Miskatonic U
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    You will find that the converters with the nice big shiny buttons that look all friendly and all are in fact the nastiest pieces of crap ever built. Exhibit A : WinAVI Converter. Unreliable, every second bug fix release introduces newer bugs and less stability, and the support is non-existent. In my experience, most of these are just rip-off front-ends to freeware encoding tools. They simplify the process at the expense of detailed settings, take a lowest common denominator approach, and therefore produce substandard output.

    I know people like pretty things, and want one toy to do everything for them, but if you want the best possible outcome you are better off learning three or four good tools that are a little rough around the edges because the author put their time into the important functions, and not how pretty it looks.
    Read my blog here.

  6. Member
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    Lol, so the people who build quality programs and have all this knowledge can't build a nice GUI for the user? Sounds like bad business to me.

    FYI, I don't want you responding to my thread anymore GUNS1INGER. You didn't offer any advice on a program...you just like making snobby little remarks...so keep them to yourself.

  7. Member
    Join Date: May 2007
    Location: United States
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    Thank you GMaq, Marvingj, and Khaula for your suggestions.

    So far, I really like any video converter. I hadn't seen that program before.

  8. Member
    Join Date: May 2003
    Location: Peterborough, England
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    Originally Posted by majax79
    Lol, so the people who build quality programs and have all this knowledge can't build a nice GUI for the user? Sounds like bad business to me.
    This is almost always the case with freeware. The person that writes the software writes it to do a specific job, which it invariably does very well. He can use it without bloating it with pretty front ends and so can anyone else who wants to use it for the purpose. It isn't written to be sold so why bother trying to make it like it was. It's no different to the same people that build their own computers and never bother to fit the case side panels, connect the front audio ports or whatever. If you have no need for them why bother with them.

    Originally Posted by majax79
    FYI, I don't want you responding to my thread anymore GUNS1INGER. You didn't offer any advice on a program...you just like making snobby little remarks...so keep them to yourself.
    By this you have just shown what an arrogant, ungrateful arsehole you actually are. You ask advice, a number of people give it, including one that recommends a piece of software widely regarded as something that should have been aborted before birth. Guns1inger warns you against it because he assumes you want something that will actually work. He also points out that many of the cheaper payware is actually a pretty front end but (illegally) using somebody elses freeware in the background to do the work but with the fine controls removed. Why pay for something when the original will do the job better?

    You will also find that hardly anything can handle flv files, but the quality of them is usually so dire they aren't worth converting in the first place. If you want something to do the job, works and looks professional too, you could always go for Sorenson Squeeze. You won't get any better but you'll pay for it.

  9. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Location: Miskatonic U
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    You want suggestions ?

    These are what I use regularly

    mpg or avi to Xvid/Divx : AutoGK

    AVI/MKV/etc to DVD : FAVC (ConvertXtoDVD for a faster encode but FAVC gives better quality and doesn't have audio sync problems with MKV files that can throw ConvertXtoDVD)

    Anything to WMV : Windows Media Encoder

    Also worth knowing and having :

    Virtualdubmpeg2/Virtualdubmod/Avisynth (required for FAVC anyway)

    Given the wide range of material you want to deal with, and the variety of sources you will probably have acquired this material from, you will most likely not be able to get away from changing aspect ratios etc. Some much material on the net is so poorly encoded, with incorrect aspect ratios, badly cropped images etc that you need to understand how to fix it, and have tools capable of doing so.
    Read my blog here.

  10. Member mats.hogberg's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2002
    Location: Sweden (PAL)
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    Read the splendid text In the Beginning was the Command Line by Neal Stephenson, specially the part about the Hole Hawg, and you may start to understand a little of what we're getting at.
    Now and then I too write a program to solve a problem for me. I guess this is the way most free applications start. Once it does what I want, I'm done. There's no need for me to pretty it up, add skinning capabilities and other stuff that'd just take up my valued time with something useless, while not making the app solve my problem any better; just make the application take more resources to perform what it already does.
    I may think someone else is facing the same problem as I, and make my application available to others. They may use it if they want - If they don't like it - use something else.

    /Mats

  11. Member
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    "Freeware or paid software is fine with me."

    In my ORIGINAL post, I specified that I am more than willing to pay for a program that has a GUI. Freeware doesn't really interest me. I agree with you mats.hogberg 100%. Personally, I have no interest in using a program some person just designed for themsleves.

  12. Member
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    By this you have just shown what an arrogant, ungrateful arsehole you actually are.
    Who the hell do you think you are? Seriouslly, I asked for advice on a video converter, I specified what I want, and I'm being personally attacked? I have reported that post because it was very offensive to me.

    And in regards to Guns1inger's original post, he was belittling me by using statements like "pretty things".

    IF ANYONE HAD ACTUALLY READ MY ORIGINAL POST YOU WOULD SEE THAT I SAID PAID OR FREE SOFTWARE WAS FINE.

    I don't want the history of how freeware started or any debates. This is MY thread and if your POST ISN'T A SUGGESTION OF A VIDEO converter BASED ON MY SPECIFICATION REQUESTS THEN I DON'T WANT YOUR MESSAGES HERE, K?

  13. Member fritzi93's Avatar
    Join Date: Nov 2003
    Location: U.S.
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    I've read the thread twice and cannot construe Guns1inger's posts as offensive. He gave his considered opinion, and I can assure you, it is shared by the majority of experienced members here. :P
    Pull! Bang! Darn!

  14. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Location: Miskatonic U
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    Actually, you never specified an editor, you asked for a converter. An editor makes it even harder, because many formats do not edit nicely. Divx/Xvid/FLV/RMVB etc were never designed for editing. Neither was mpeg, for that matter. Many (most) editors won't load many of these formats, or if they do, struggle to work with them.

    The editors with the best tools sets will usually work with the lowest number of formats because they are designed to work with editable formats such as DV, lossless codecs, or profession and uncompressed codecs.

    Windows Movie Maker is the best option for editing WMV files, but can only output WMV or DV AVI.

    Vegas/Premiere are top end for editing DV, lossless etc, but do not like working with Divx/Xvid. They can be forced to, but it's not the best option.

    AVI Demux or the latest Virtualdub can be used to assemble edit Divx/Xvid with minimal re-encoding.

    Womble or VideoRedo are dedicated to mpeg editing. Vegas/Premiere Pro can do it, but you have to re-encode everything.

    Nothing edits RMVB/FLV nicely.
    Read my blog here.

  15. Member
    Join Date: May 2003
    Location: Peterborough, England
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    OK, maybe I went too far, but, you asked a question but don't seem to like some of the answers.

    You asked for a "Video Converter with best user-friendly GUI" and then go on to say you don't want to mess with the "audio and video aspects". By this I, and it would appear a few others, have assumed you want something easy to use with no configeration needed. That's fine, you've stipulated what you want.

    What Guns1inger and I were pointing out is that this type of software isn't going to give good results. You have a choice, pay nothing and get good results but have to work for it. Pay a little and get something that may be easier to use but uses a crippled version of the free software (or at least something that is very close but not quite close enough to be illegal) and gives inferior results. Pay a lot for something that will do the job extremely well and will look the business, although it will still need you to have an understanding of what you are doing to achieve the best results.

    I don't for one minute think you were being belittled by the use of the phrase pretty things, but how else would you describe the resource hogging front ends that most software comes with these days? Microsoft are the worst with rounded buttons, fade in/fade out menus, and all the other must-have effects. Vista is being sold on just those effects and look at the minimum spec machine needed to run it properly. Have a look at the latest running poll and you'll see that most serious users turn off the 'eye candy' in return for better performance.

    As I said in my last post, if you want the best converter, Sorenson Squeeze, otherwise compromise. However, you are now talking about editing software which is a completely different thing. Guns1inger has given you some suggestions and I would add only one more. Ulead MediaStudio Pro is another editor in the Vegas/Premiere league but will also work with mpeg files and does not re-encode the original video, only any transitions. But, and it is a pretty big but, as I was told when I first started working with digital video in 1998, welcome to the bottom of a very steep learning curve. It is an extremely complex subject and a clear understanding of what you are working with is needed. Once you have that understanding you will then be able to get good results no matter how good or bad the user interface is.

  16. Member
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    I just typed the wrong word...I still meant converter

  17. Member
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    Originally Posted by fritzi93
    I've read the thread twice and cannot construe Guns1inger's posts as offensive. He gave his considered opinion, and I can assure you, it is shared by the majority of experienced members here. :P
    Did I ask for your opinion on that issue? I think I was quite clear in requesting to just chat about converters...and it was offensive if it offended me by making me feel talked down to...end of discussion.

  18. Member GMaq's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2004
    Location: Canada
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    majax79,
    At the risk of offending you I'd like to put some things in perspective. You are asking an understandable question, life is a busy thing, not everyone has the time or desire to become a "video expert" just to get a task done. So when you look at a tools list of 70 some odd programs it can be overwhelming. I get that.

    On the other hand this forum is by and for Video Enthusiasts, many of them daily patiently answer questions (not necessarily yours) that are inane, naive, born out of complete laziness and generally stupid. We were all there at some point in time. Sometimes people get tired of answering such questions and lack patience, sometimes because of their experience they talk over your head unintentionally and in some cases perhaps intentionally. But sometimes having crossed the threshold of being a newbie they just want to help you avoid some of the mistakes they have made. I personally have an archive of hundreds of music videos that I have redone at least a couple of times as I have learned better techniques and better Video tools. Anyway the point is if you are going to be overly sensitive about such people you are going to have difficulty getting much help especially from those who are most experienced.

    Two of the people in this thread who have "wronged" you have either apologized or answered your question directly, that is generally the kind of people we have here. Members like Guns1inger or mats.hogberg are being pretty hospitable to answer a thread like this given their breadth of knowledge about advanced Video techniques.

    I sincerely hope you find a software to your liking. I find it admirable that you are not stuck on it being free, (not that free won't get you what you want) however in this hobby if it is too easy it probably isn't doing the best job for you. Best of luck!

  19. Member mats.hogberg's Avatar
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    Location: Sweden (PAL)
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    My rant about why many apps lack a nice & shiny GUI was to address your belitteling comment about developers:
    the people who build quality programs and have all this knowledge can't build a nice GUI for the user?
    But enough of that.
    (One of the) Best "I just want it done, with the least hazzle possible" converter is convertx2dvd. If you like the GUI or not is up to you.
    However, there are free apps that equal or surpasses it, like FAVC.

    /Mats

  20. Member
    Join Date: May 2007
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    Thanks for the responses. I went ahead and stayed with Total Video Converter. It has yet to not convert something for me and it's GUI is simple and sleek.

  21. Member mats.hogberg's Avatar
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    ...and don't forget: A nice and shiny GUI with just a few friendly buttons. Now, if they could only resurrect Clippy too...

    /Mats

  22. Member dadrab's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2006
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    Originally Posted by majax79
    Thanks for the responses. I went ahead and stayed with Total Video Converter. It has yet to not convert something for me and it's GUI is simple and sleek.
    Just thought I'd interject that I recently uninstalled and deleted Total Video Converter from my machine as it's a...well, since I don't want to offend you...an inferior product.

    Don't be so sensitive, man. These folks are just trying to help you.

    Then again, why should anyone help someone who gets cantankerous when gently nudged to help themselves?

    8)

    You'll learn.

  23. Xilisoft Video Converter 3

  24. dadrab what did Total Video Converter fail to do for you and what did you replace it with

  25. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2004
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    I wouldn't use anything from Xilisoft, either
    Read my blog here.

  26. Member dadrab's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dessieclive
    dadrab what did Total Video Converter fail to do for you and what did you replace it with
    Well, I like to claim that I got older and wiser, but, the truth is, I got a little more learned and jaded.

    Total Video Converter just didn't do the quality job that other tools do. I've been fumbling my way through AVISynth scripts in conjunction with MainConcept Encoder most recently. I find the results are pretty good and much faster than some other tools I've used.

    I loaded TVC on my A/V computer months ago and haven't opened it up to use enough times to justify leaving it on there. So, I uninstalled and deleted.

  27. Always Watching guns1inger's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dessieclive
    why not
    Because they are second rate all-in-one converters. They are all (WinAVI, Total Video Converter etc) designed to be fast and simple at the expense of quality. Total does get mentioned here from time to time for RM conversions, but otherwise it is just not good enough for what I want. I want the best possible quality I can get from my sources, and if the sources are lower than optimal, I don't want them dragged down even further by poor software.
    Read my blog here.

  28. Member
    Join Date: Dec 2004
    Location: Triptonia
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    tvc is crap if i may put it bluntly.
    all gui no guts.

    and so is mainconcept.
    it's very fast at default settings. which are not good enough.
    and it still falls short of everything else when tweaked to bits.

    dadrab,
    a bystander says your avatar is a vase...




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