I'm trying to get the license plate of a vehicle that hit me from my dash cam. The file on the memory card is a MOV. I wanted to grab just the first 30 seconds, so I used VirtualDub, but that converted that amount of video to an AVI that's 20X bigger and plays very herky-jerky and has a yellow sky CPU is a Core2Duo (yes, old) but each core is only around 50% when playing, so I don't think this is a hardware issue, but some issue with the conversion process?
What's the best way for me to get the first 30 seconds of my video in the best quality possible that's still playable?
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First of all, show us a MediaInfo analysis of this MOV file. You say a dashcam recorded it; so I believe it may contain MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) video inside the MOV container, but to be certain, let MediaInfo analyze it.
If my assumption is true, then you may be able to cut the video losslessly and repack it to MP4 or MKV. But I am not sure which tool will be most suitable, possibly something ffmpeg based. What I know for sure, is that VirtualDub is no choice here.
As suspected. So try to use one of the many ffmpeg GUI converters out there (possibly TEncoder or Avanti or WinFF), set it up so that the video will not get recoded, audio should get converted (just the AAC codecs in ffmpeg may not have the best quality, so use ample bitrate or quality), select MP4 as new container, and limit the duration of the conversion.
Got my retirement plans all set. Looks like I only have to work another 5 years after I die........