Quicktime/Flip4Mac -- WMV to MOV?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Bedawyn, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. Bedawyn macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Okay, complete newbie on this issue -- I've never done, or wanted to do, anything with video editing before, and I've almost never used Quicktime for anything that the system didn't do invisibly/automatically.

    Almost all the video I watch on the computer is fanvids produced by Windows users, so of course they're mostly .wmvs, with the occassional .rm or .ram. I hate RealPlayer with a passion, but never had any real problem with Windows Media Player, so I don't really get all the fuss about Flip4Mac -- I tried it out, but for my needs, it seems WMP is probably still better than Quicktime for watching the vids, at least watching them through the QT Player directly.

    However, I would dearly dearly love to be able to move these wmvs into iTunes and watch/listen from there, and use all the database and rating functions to help organize them. It would make a huge difference to me to be able to do that. But the Flip4Mac (free version) still doesn't allow me to drag wmvs in to iTunes. Okay. My second choice would be to convert them to an iTunes-readable format, which Flip4Mac is supposed to let you do, and my third choice would be to extract just the soundtracks that I could save to mp3, and I understood from past MR discussions that Quicktime Pro would let you do that.

    So, I have OS X 10.4.3, the free Flip4Mac downloaded yesterday (so it should still be in its trial period, when exporting is supposed to be possible), and I just bought Quicktime Pro (7.04). The exporting doesn't work, but I figured that was okay... I read something about problems with the latest codec, and anyway, I should just be able to "Save as..." instead of exporting anyway, right? And, yes, I can "save as" the wmv files to mov instead. BUT... the new mov files are about three times larger than the wmvs! I want to have them in iTunes badly enough to buy QT Pro just for this, but not badly enough to triple the storage space. I'd have to buy a new hard drive just to hold them all! I can't find anything about changing compression settings, and frankly wouldn't know what to change them to if I could.

    And I still can't even save the audio tracks. The exporting doesn't work, as I mentioned. I can extract the audio track from the movie properties window, but it won't let me save the extracted audio -- it tries to, but then says it can't be saved.

    Can anyone explain how to do either of these things properly to me? In simple terms -- I'm a word geek, not an AV geek, and quite happy with that status.
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    If you call the tune, you have to pay the piper. To convert .wmv files to other formats on MacOS X, your best bet is to use the paid version of Flip4Mac.
  3. VanNess macrumors 6502a


    Mar 31, 2005
    Well, there are several advantages of using Flip4Mac for .wmv playback that are beyond WMP for the Mac's capabilities. You can move the player around the screen and the video continues to play in real time, just like a regular QT movie. You can minimize the player to the dock and the video continues to play, just like a regular QT movie. You can enlarge the size of the movie (or with QT pro, go full screen) and the video is "smoothed" (jaggies and various artifacts associated with enlarging a video beyond it's native size are reduced), just like regular QT movies. Using QT 7, you can resize the movie to any size in realtime, just like a regular QT movie. You can scrub (move the playback position) to any point in the movie in real time and playback is instantaneous, just like a regular QT movie. Whether any of this is important to you are not, these are things that WMP for the Mac can't do and never could.

    There's a difference between the free version of Flip4Mac and the trial version of Flip4Mac Import, a $29 upgrade, or various other flavors of Flip4Mac. The free version will allow you to save a .wmv movie as a .mov movie, but it will always be dependent on the Flip4Mac codec present in your system. In other words, you couldn't send the movie to a friend who has QT and expect that it would play on your friend's system just because it's a .mov file. It needs the Flip4Mac codec installed wherever it plays. The reason the file size balloons is because Flip4Mac saves the movie so the entire movie can be loaded and played back instantly, and that's the trade-off. .wmv is a streaming format, that is, it doesn't load the movie, it streams and decompresses it on the fly. That's why there is a slight delay when Flip4Mac plays a .wmv, it loads the entire movie first before it plays so you get smooth, drop-out free playback. The other benefit is that you get live instantaneous scrubbing and playback for any point in the movie. With WMP player, you can move the playback marker, but you have to wait a half year for WMP to figure out where you want the movie to resume playing, and there's no such thing as live scrubbing at all. For relatively short clips, this isn't that big of a deal, but for longer clips, it's a big deal, especially for longer, higher quality .wmv files which generally perform terribly on WMP for the Mac.

    In any event, it sounds like Flip4Mac Import, which allows you to transcode a .wmv into any of QT's standard formats, is what you need if you want to edit it in QT Pro, iMovie, etc
  4. Bedawyn thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Someone, possibly you, mentioned that sort of thing in another thread, which was why I downloaded it in the first place. But after trying it out, it became clear that, for my uses, the benefits didn't outweigh the drawbacks (more obtrusive controls and an annoying navigation window). Just not things I'd want to use anyway. Thanks for the explanation of the streaming/file sizes, though!

    As for the conversion, I played around a bit more, and discovered that saving it as a reference movie works perfectly! The reference files will still go in iTunes, and the file sizes are small enough I can reasonably keep both them and the originals around. That's all I need it to do, and it's something I've been wanting to do for a few years, so I'm quite thoroughly happy now. If only I could find a way to do the same with the RealPlayer files, I'd be delirious with joy.
  5. gstems macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    flip4mac troubleshooting

    Calling all boffins.

    I have been having some major troubleshooting with 'flip4mac'. I have downloaded the most recent freeware version of the programme and my .avi movies still dont want to play in quicktime. I have even attempted to open these .avi files directly in the 'wmv' app for 'filp4mac'- still no joy! when i try to activate the serial number for the upgrade that comes with the app, system preferences gives me a warning about the serial number 'not being found'. Frustration is eroding me. If there is a wizard in the field out there, please hook a brother up.

  6. Middling macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2009
    And do these .avi files contain content encoded using the various codecs supported by Flip4Mac?

    Avi is a container, so you can stuff all sorts of codecs in there, even things that .avi isn't suited for (i've seen it abused with h.264, Windows Media, and Vorbis audio in the past). Flip4Mac only decodes Windows Media codecs, and i'm not sure if it supports them in .avi files.

    Try Perian. It adds support for lots of codecs and containers, so perhaps it will help play your files.


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