Best Free Video File Converter?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by sun surfer, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. sun surfer macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2010
    I'm a tech noob, but I'm trying to convert video files so I can play them on specific DVD players.

    I've quickly searched around, and found too many options and no idea about the quality of each. One site has one list of ten "best" free video file converters, while another site has a completey different list of ten "best"! And I find even more different suggestions on other sites.

    So, I can't figure out what a good well-known, easy to use one is. I want to be able to convert random different types of video files into DVD-quality files to watch on my DVD player, and I want the quality to be good. So is there a consensus to the best? What are they/is it?
  2. saxon48 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 14, 2010
    Handbrake is an excellent app. Highly recommend.

    If you want a website, try Zamzar.
  3. sun surfer thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2010
    Hm, Handbrake was on one of those lists I saw. I'll check it out!

    What do you mean website for Zamzar? Would that mean I don't need to download a program and would just convert it through a website?

    So, I checked out Handbrake. I may try it but it looks confusing...

    Can it convert like avi and mp4 to DVD files? Because at the moment that's what I need, but in the future I may need different ones.
  4. deadwulfe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2010
    Toast was mentioned, but it's not free...

    You should try Burn. It comes with it's own set of ffmpeg tools, which leads me to my next suggestion.

    ffmpegX. It's just a graphical frontend for the ffmpeg libraries, but the app will tell you where to download the libraries from and ask you to tell the app where you saved them.

    I would recommend MPEG Streamclip, but there is a component from Apple that you would need for MPEG-2 compatability, which is not free.

    I think Burn is probably going to be your most simple (easy to use) option.
  5. sun surfer thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2010
    Ugh, now I am getting confused again. Handbrake, Zamzar, Toast, iDVD, Burn, ffmpegx.... So there is no consensus on the best thing to use?

    Toast I've heard a lot about but I am looking for free. I suppose I will try the iDVD thing first since it's already on my Macbook, but does it really work? Because why have I not heard that recommended anywhere else, if I can convert stuff with something already on my laptop instead of downloading stuff.
  6. deadwulfe macrumors 6502a


    Feb 18, 2010
    I don't think anyone recommended iDVD, because I'm pretty sure you're forced into creating a menu for it. Personally, I don't want a menu on my DVD if it's just one movie.

    There's not going to be a consensus, because all of these apps have different purposes. There can be an overlap in what they do, but they're not all the same.

    I currently have Handbrake, Burn, MPEG Stremclip, and FFmpegX all installed. I also used to have Toast installed. Depending on my need, I'll use one over the other. Except for Handbrake, they all will do what you're asking for. Just pick one and go with it; having several great options isn't a bad thing.
  7. steveoc macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2007
    Adirondacks NY
    I have found that working with video, it is best to have a toolkit rather than la swiss army knife.

    A lot of these tools are free:
    • VLC
    • Handbrake
    • Audacity (audio editor)
    • Mpeg Streamclip
    • ffmpegX

    You should also get Perian.

    I am not a master of video, but I do end up working with it quite a bit. I have my workflows, but I have learned a lot by messing around.
  8. sportster macrumors 6502

    Jul 7, 2010
    Katy, TX
    I have used iDVD a lot. Never really had any issues with it. Just dropped in the .avi files, setup the menu and burned the disk. I used it for both single and double layer dvds.

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