Capturing and Transcoding Video
Although it's relatively easy to find almost every viral video online
on sites such as
YouTube, in order to include videos in my presentations, I need to
capture them to my computer, convert (transcode) them into a common
format, and then assembly them into short (5 minute) video reels. There
are a lot of different tools you can use. Here are the ones that I have
found work best for me.
Capturing Video to Your Local Computer
The first trick is to save the video from the web onto your computer.
Although some sites store video in MPEG or AVI format (in which case you
can simply right-click and save the file to your machine), many use
Flash video (.flv files). To capture these videos, I use a website
called KeepVID. Go to the
KeepVID site and
then follow these steps:
- In another browser window or tab, locate the video you want to
capture (such as on YouTube).
- Copy the URL from YouTube into the field on KeepVID.
- Select the website in the adjacent drop down list.
- Click the DOWNLOAD button.
- Click the Download link.
- When the File Download dialog box displays, click Save.
- In the Save As dialog, select an appropriate location and
filename. Be sure to add the .flv file extension.
Once you have saved the video to your computer, the next step is to
convert (transcode) the video into a format that you can use. The tool
you chose depends on the format you've downloaded, and again, I have a
few favorites that work well for me.
Converting Flash video (.flv) files
In order to include videos saved as Flash video (.flv) files into
video reels, you'll need to first convert them into some other format,
such as MPEG. For this, I use the Riva FLV Encoder, which you can
from the Riva website. After downloading and installing the
software, follow these steps:
- In the Input Video field, locate the .flv file you want to
- In the Output area, specify the folder where you want to save
- In the Destination Video File field, specify the name you want
to use to save the converted video. Note that Riva uses the same
name as the original file (including the .flv file extension). Be
sure to change the file extension from .flv to the format you want
(such as ,mpg). That's all it takes to specify the destination video
- Click the Encode button.
You can play with the other settings if you wish. Also note that you
can use Riva to convert between other formats as well, by simply
specifying the appropriate input and output file extensions. For
example, I have successfully used Riva to convert from AVI to MPEG and
you can also use it to convert from various video formats into Flash
video as well.
Converting QuickTime (.mov) Files
QuickTime files can also pose problems, since the tools I use to
create my video reel compilations don't accept .MOV files either. My
software of choice in that case is the RAD Video Tools collection, which
download free from the BINK Video website. After downloading and
installing the software, follow these steps:
- In the RAD Video Tools dialog, locate the file you want to
- Click the Convert a File button.
- In the Blink Converter dialog box, click Browse to specify the
folder in which you want to save the resulting video file.
- Click the Output Type button and then specify the output video
type (.AVI is the default).
- Click the Convert button.
- When the Video Compression dialog box displays, simply click OK
to create an uncompressed video, or select the codec you want to use
for compression and then click OK.
Again, you can play with the various settings if you wish. Also note
that the RAD Video Tools can also convert other video file formats, such
as .ASF, and that Smacker, one of the other RAD tools, can be used to
simply compress videos.
Creating a Video Compilation Reel
Although there are lots of very good consumer-level video editing
programs out there, you've already got everything you need on your
Windows-based computer. Windows Movie Maker has everything you need to
compile your collection of videos into a single video reel.
Simply work your way through the Movie Tasks bar on the left side:
- Import the video files you previously converted into MPEG or AVI
- Drag-and-drop each video onto the storyboard.
- Rearrange them into the order in which you want them to be
- Use the video transitions to add fades, dissolves, and so on
between clips, as appropriate.
- Finish the moving by clicking Save to My Computer.
Of course, you can use other Windows Movie Maker tools, such as the
Split tool to cut out unwanted portions of the video clips and the
Titles tool to add titles, credits, and captions. But I'll leave it up
to you to learn more about Windows Movie Maker.
copyright © 2001-2011; David
S. Cohn. All Rights Reserved.