I have a couple of questions about how to get started working with some home videos. I have a fair amount of computer knowledge but not enough of video files and encoding knowledge to know what exactly my problem is. I believe that it is all about memory and file format. In any event, I shot all of these videos with my Sony 8mm camcorder and then "transferred" them to my computer with Windows Movie Maker. I have Windows Vista 32, with 4 GB ram. The video files are HUGE, one is over 12gb and when I try to view them with Media Player, I cannot get the videos to play and just the first frame of the video shows and it never progresses.
Some time ago I had to take an online course for my MBA program and for that I had to encode videos with Real Player but when encoded m home videos, they all came out like crap. My goal is it to keep these videos as nice as they are on tape.
Being laid off for some time, I have more time than money so I am not in a position to purchase an expensive program but I would like to do this right.
I was hoping to store these videos in soft copy on my hard drive and keep the original tapes but store them away and only use them if something catastrophic happened to my computer.
What can I do at this point to view the videos? What is the best way to transfer videos from a camcorder to computer and what is the best format/process? What is a good way to burn these to DVDs if I wanted to share them with my family?
ANY suggestions about how I can proceed would be greatly appreciated.
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It depends on whether the videos transferred over properly from your camera. A 12GB AVI or WMV file is pretty big, often that indicates the file was saved with no compression on it. On all but the fastest machines that would be a difficult media file to play back.
Can you load it in Movie Maker and scroll through it? It might hesitate due to the file size.
Also, Real Player/Real Media etc is pretty antiquated stuff. A lot of fast and free apps out there will convert your videos to better file formats.
All of this stuff works on the concept of codecs - it's the way to compress a file to fit a lot of video on a small space - like a DVD or CD. You've probably heard of DivX. That's a codec. h264 is a codec. It's almost the video equivalent of zipping and unzipping a file. An uncompressed file (l'm guessing your 12GB file is that) uses no codecs at all. That's why it's 12GB instead of 1GB when encoded using h264 or DivX or mpeg2 etc.
If a file has been compressed using DivX as the compressor, you need to have the DivX codec installed on your machine in order to watch it. Otherwise, your computer won't know how to decompress the data as it plays back.
Download and install FFdshow (which is a codec pack of sorts). That one package will let you playback 90% of the file formats out there, including DivX, Xvid, h264, mpeg2, wmv, etc
After installing FFdshow, download and install WinFF . That's probably the easiest app out there to get started with. Convert your 12GB file to a DivX or Xvid AVI. Just experiment. See how the output looks.
Don't install any other software without posting on Videohelp first. There's so many bad apps out there that you don't want to install some video app which ends up destabilizing your computer.
There's a lot to learn. It isn't that difficult...there's just a lot to learn. Like anything, you'll figure it out...eventually."Quality is cool, but don't forget... Content is King!"
Great, thank you for the very detailed reply. I have been playing around with this with mixed results. Nothing seams to be as nice as the original video. Would using this program to download directly from the camera be better than trying to convert or encode it from the Windows Media Player files?
Also, would purchasing a program provide better, easier results? If so, what is a good entry level program?
Thanks again for your great help!