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Thread: determining video format

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    Default determining video format

    Is there a way to detect what format a video is in? I am playing around with the vlc player to convert one video format to another, but the extensions given are not what I would expect. So far of the two formats I have tried vlc appends each converted video with the .ps suffix.
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    The format of the video limits how you can check it. That sounds circular, but what I mean is that different programs can read different files and then can tell you about them.

    QuickTime:
    Window->Show Movie Properties
    You get a long list of codec details, etc.

    VLC:
    There's an option for "Media Information" but for some reason it's not showing any actual info for me. I've never looked at it before so I'm not sure what to think about that.

    Even your OS might have some basic info if you look at the file's properties.


    Note that there are three things to consider:
    1. The file extension.
    2. The container.
    3. The codec (one for audio and another for video in almost all cases).

    The file extension isn't very important. It should usually match the container type, but you might find some exceptions. Don't rely on it.
    The container is "quicktime mov" or "avi" or "flv", but these can actually contain several codecs. This is why you can play some .mov/.avi/etc files on your computer but not all-- you may be missing some codecs.
    The codec is a format for the video itself, such as Sorenson3, MPEG-4, XVid, DivX, H.264 and others. Audio has similar options like MP3, AAC, PCM, etc.


    Are you looking for a generic answer or trying to get a single usable file from VLC? Let me know more info and I can probably help you figure it out.
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    Just looking for a generic answer. I'm only idly curious. I used vlc to convert two .mp4 files to mpeg-2 files. The quality was pretty good for the smaller file (9MB), but not so much for the larger one (90MB). I am not all that familiar with video formats though.

    After reading what you said about codec information I used vlc to look at the codec information I appear to get more information about video types etc.

    I was looking to possibly get an idea for how to convert mp4 files into a format that wmp11 will recognize. Another option is to somehow modify wmp11, but I have not been able to do that so far. My version of wmp11 has been modified with K-lite codec packs, regedits, and an addon or two. I used to avoid wmp11 in favor of the other video players out there, but for some reason I returned to wmp11 and have become rather comfortable with it.
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    Is my last post enough of a starting point then? It's hard for me to guess without seeing the file itself, and obviously that would be a big file to send to me.
    Let me know if there's a more specific question.

    As for WMP, I would suggest just using something else. Unless it's avi or wmv, WMP is not going to work consistently. And there are other good programs out there like VLC. I use VLC now for most things (even though I used to like QuickTime-- I'm using a Mac).
    But if you want to get your video to work in WMP, you should convert it to AVI. Using MP4 might work (I'm not sure) but using AVI, with a compatible codec, will work for sure.
    Daniel - Freelance Web Design | <?php?> | <html>| espa˝ol | Deutsch | italiano | portuguŕs | catalÓ | un peu de franšais | some knowledge of several other languages: I can sometimes help translate here on DD | Linguistics Forum

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    To follow up with some helpful info, here's a program that may help. I haven't tested it on every format imaginable, but it's been able to open every file I've tried.

    MPEG Streamclip:
    http://www.squared5.com/
    (It's free.)

    File->Stream Info.


    I don't recommend it as a program to watch videos because it's a little buggy (during playback), but it works well to convert them, and it has that nice option to see all the format details. For watching them, I'd still say VLC.
    Daniel - Freelance Web Design | <?php?> | <html>| espa˝ol | Deutsch | italiano | portuguŕs | catalÓ | un peu de franšais | some knowledge of several other languages: I can sometimes help translate here on DD | Linguistics Forum

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    Thanks for the helpful hints. The codec information seems to be what I am looking for. When I converted the two .mp4 videos the quality of the two converted files was different for some reason. I have had this kind of trouble with using vlc as a converter in the past, but I still think that part of the trouble is in my understanding of how to use the vlc converter.

    Thank you for the link to Squared 5 though! I have not had the best of luck in finding free video converters .
    To choose the lesser of two evils is still to choose evil. My personal site

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    And that's a good one. I don't use it too frequently, but it has some awesome features.

    My favorite is that you can capture the direct data stream from your HD camcorder (which is usually not the case-- in other programs, it captures the images and converts them into a new format, which is usually much larger). By using MPEG Streamclip (and something else like Capture Magic), you can take that original data stream (raw from the tape) and play it and/or convert it. That saves a lot of space if you want to back up the original.
    (If you have an SD camera using "DV" format, this isn't a problem because all programs do it automatically. It's only a problem for the new and "improved" HD formats. Since the "HDV" format fits on the same tape as DV, it doesn't take any more data this way. Otherwise, it's much, much bigger. Something like 30GB for an hour, if I remember correctly, instead of 6GB.)
    Daniel - Freelance Web Design | <?php?> | <html>| espa˝ol | Deutsch | italiano | portuguŕs | catalÓ | un peu de franšais | some knowledge of several other languages: I can sometimes help translate here on DD | Linguistics Forum

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