I get asked all the time how to do certain tasks pertaining to video by people who dabble but haven't dedicated their lives to the dizzying world of video production like I have.
So, in our continuing series of helpful tips on video for the web, today I'll introduce you to a free piece of software that does some pretty heavy lifting in terms of converting, compressing and even simple editing of video files. Ladies and gentlemen, please say hello to MPEG Streamclip.
MPEG Streamclip is put out by an Italian company called Squared 5 (http://www.squared5.com) and thats as much as I know about them. According to their site, "MPEG Streamclip is a powerful free video converter, player, editor for Mac and Windows. It can play many movie files ... encode movies to many formats, [and] can cut, trim and join movies. MPEG Streamclip can also download videos from YouTube and Google by entering the page URL."
Thats a useful little gadget there. Let's look a little deeper.
CONVERT AND COMPRESS
- Sometimes you're given a Windows Media file (.wmv) and need it to be a Quicktime (.mov), just drag and drop it into MPEG Streamclip's simple interface and export away.
- Maybe, you have a video recording with a great song that you want to put on your ipod - you can export just the audio and be in earbud heaven.
- You've got your wedding video on a DVD and want to put it on the web for your Aunt and Uncle to watch online - take that giant file and bring it down to a web-friendly size.
- You need a frame grab of a video to put on a website or send to the press. You can scrub frame by frame and find the one you need, export and you've got your picture.
EDIT, JOIN AND TRIM VIDEO
Sometimes you want to do a little editing and don't have the time or money to hire a professional, such as yours truly - you guessed it MPEG Streamclip is the answer. You can set an in and out point of your video and delete the bit you no longer want.
Or, say you've got two clips that you want to bring together - drag them both in and export out. Voila!
CAN'T BEAT FREE AND USEFUL
This just scratches the surface and I'm sure there are tons of other uses that I don't partake in since I have my fancy editing software, but I just wanted to share this little gem with those in need.
There are many programs that can do similar things but at a much greater price than free. The happy price tag comes with a few drawbacks - an ugly interface with a bunch of extra drop down menus you don't need; a terrible name (nobody uses MPEGs anymore); the accompanying help document is nearly impossible to read.
All in all, MPEG Streamclip is a valuable tool to add to your box. Any questions on the above or to delve further into what it can do, feel free to drop me a line.