Here is a familiar scenario. You have been all over looking to watch a certain movie or video clip. You finally get it somehow and you swiftly copy it to your computer’s hard drive. You expectantly double click on the precious video file but NO! Your video cannot be played. What do you do? Do you go in search for another clip? That is not an option. Before you think of discarding your “hard – earned video clip” out of desperation, there is a nifty little tool you can use to convert video clips to readable formats. Don’t get carried away by the hype of the free and flashy converters you encounter every day on the internet either. Most of their relevance usually ends up at the GUI level; while others eventually offer an avenue for malware to find a way into your system.
For video conversion, Handbrake is arguably the best utility you can use and it is absolutely free. You may not have heard of it before but it has been around for quite a while (the best stuff usually are, anyway). Handbrake is a simple program that you can use to transcode videos form one format to another to suit your purpose. Whether you just want to compress the video into a smaller sharable size or change it into a universally recognizable format, Handbrake is your best bet. For something so effective an efficient, it is a wonder how simple it is to acquire and utilize. Better yet, it is available for all platforms (Mac, Ubuntu, and Windows)
Handbrake: A sneak Peek
The biggest asset for the Handbrake converter is its simplicity. The General User Interface is well thought out and everything is set in careful deliberation. On the top row you will find the basic but most important amenities. There is a button for fetching a video from its source, a “start” command for deploying conversion tasks, a queuing facility, preview option and activity log. Right under them you get the Source and Destination features. Under destination, you get to rename your files to your preferred ID and also specify the location where to save to. Under the source, you get all the information about the raw video that you need to work on. You have total duration of the clip and the start-points/endpoints you wish to have. Sometimes you may not require the whole video; you can simply cut out a chapter or section for your usage.
Equally important are the output settings. There are many options available to you such as adding subtitles, adjusting video quality, regulating audio services, etc.
You may need to convert a video for many reasons. For instance, Google Chrome does not support some video file types. But you may need it for casting on TV. iTunes does not support mkv format either. A video format like MKV is usually complicated; but at the same time very popular because of the features it offers. The Matroska format is a favorite for animated films because additional features can easily be integrated e.g. subtitles and alternative languages. However it is note widely accepted by many major mainstream platforms such as Windows Media Player and Chrome. In such a case you may need to convert the .MKV file into a light readable format e.g. MP4. Do the following and you will view your video with no problem:
Download and install the Handbrake Video Converter from here
Open the program. You can do this directly from the desktop (a shortcut will usually be made there) or simply get it from under your list of programs.
Once open, click on the “Source” The menu will drop down. Select “Open File”.
Windows browser appears and you can now navigate to where the video file in question is located. Select it and click on the “Open” Double clicking on the video also loads it into the converter. Under the SOURCE heading, the file will appear.
If the conversion is simply from .MKV to .MP4 you do not need to adjust anything under the OUTPUT settings. Let all the settings remain as they are. You only need to inform Handbrake where to put the converted copy of the video file. You may also rename it.
Also under “destination”, select a location where you want the new file to be saved. Click on SAVE.
This is where the START button comes in handy. Click “Start” to commence the conversion. NOTE: The length of time the conversion takes depends on the size of the file you are converting as well as the speed of your PC. Progress will be shown at the bottom of the Handbrake window.
Once complete, the program will notify you. Your video is ready!
You can now play the video on Chrome or any other player of your choice, including phones, tablets, TV, etc.
Handbrake is probably the simplest and safest video converter around. For enhanced conversion and settings, you can alter the output settings yourself. Don’t gamble downloading unproven free video converters, you may end up with an astonishing mess in your computer system.