The reason there are so many different formats is down to the sheer number of video playback devices, from PCs and mobile phones to portable media players and media streamers. No single format can cater for all of them. Quite apart from screen size and resolution, there’s the issue of compression. To stream video over the internet, you’ll need to use as much compression as possible to reduce the bandwidth needed, At the opposite end of the scale, you’ll want the least compression and highest quality for watching video on a large HD TV.
This means there will often be a need to convert a video to a format that’s better suited to the device on which you want to watch it. Perhaps you have a home movie that you want to watch both on an HD TV and your portable media player. You’ll need two separate versions, and it’s easy to convert from one to the other using free software such as Any Video Converter, which you can download from http://tinyurl.com/anyvideo.
Before you start, it’s important to remember that, just as with photos, you can’t increase the detail in a video by increasing its resolution, If you start with a 640×480 video shot on a digital camera, you can’t convert it to 1,920×1,080 and expect it to look fantastic. Downscaling video. On the other hand – from high-resolution footage to low resolution will yield much better results.
You may also need to find out which video format your device supports, including the video codec, resolution, frame rate and bit rate, plus the audio codec, bit rate and sample rate.
Step 1: Download, install and launch Any Video Converter. There are a couple of ways to add videos to be converted. The easiest is to use Windows Explorer to navigate to the files you want to convert, then select them and simply drag and drop them on to Any Video Converter. Alternatively, click the Add Video button in the program’s taskbar and navigate to the files.
Step 2: Your videos should appear in the list. Check that the duration, frame size and frame rate (FPS) have been detected correctly. You can preview the video by clicking the left-hand button below the preview window.
Step 3: There are two icons to the right of the volume slider. The first – a pair of scissors – allows you to trim your clip before converting it. This can be useful if you require only a portion, of the video. When you click on the scissors, a video clipping window will open. Play the video, or drag the orange arrow to the desired start position, and press pause. To set this as the start point, click the [ icon. To set the end point, repeat this process, but click on the ] icon, if you want to adjust these points, click and drag the small blue triangles below the blue bar.
You can add other portions, or segments, by clicking on the New Segment icon, which looks like a piece of paper with the corner folded over. When you’ve finished, click Apply.
Step 4: Another option is to crop the video if it doesn’t match the aspect ratio of your target device. Click the icon that resembles a magic wand and a new window will open, The easiest way to adjust the crop is to grab an edge or corner of the video (your cursor will turn into a double-ended arrow) and drag it to the appropriate place. You may need to untick Keep Aspect Ratio if you want to change the aspect ratio. You can click within the selected area and drag it to the area you want to keep.
Step 5: Click the filmstrip icon below the scissors to see the brightness, contrast and saturation controls. There’s also a drop-down menu called Other Effects, which will allow you to rotate any video that may have been accidentally shot in the wrong orientation – an easy mistake with cameraphones. When you’ve finished making adjustments, click Apply.
Step 6: Next choose a profile from the menu in the top-right of the main interface. We want to watch the video on an iPod Touch or iPhone but, as there’s no preset for these devices, we’ve chosen Customized MP4 Movie (*.mp4}. We’ve manually entered the Frame Size of
480×320, a video Bitrate of 768iKbits/s and a Framerate of 25fps (to match our original video]. Finally, we chose the aac Audio Codec and set the Bitrate to 128Kbits/s. Click the Convert icon in the taskbar and the conversion process will begin. When it’s done, you can click the Output Folder button in the bottom-left corner to see the converted files, which can then be transferred to your device.