Converting Old Videos Into One Format

Brent W

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 6, 2017

I have a new Macbook Pro and over the years I have a lot of personal videos that are in various formats. I would like to convert them all into one format using the Macbook and have the videos in a format that is the most compatible with the most devices. I won't be doing any video editing, just converting the video and hopefully/maybe reducing the size a bit.

What is the best program that I can use for this? I don't mind paying but do not want to invest a lot. What format should I convert to?

Thanks for any feedback.

T'hain Esh Kelch

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2001
Handbrake should get you quite far, although with any weird proprietary format from various recording devices, you'll likely have a hard time finding something that can convert it.

Regarding format, just go with x264/MP4.
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Brent W

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Apr 6, 2017
Handbrake seems to be working perfectly. Nice being able to queue as well. Thanks!


macrumors member
Apr 1, 2017
Yep, Handbrake is a amazing piece of software, I use it on my windows computer as well it works a bit better under windows. Less crashing or video artifacts. And weird stuff like that.


macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
Brent, what type of videos are these? Are these files you and family generated or perhaps downloads or a bit of both? Handbrake is a nice tool but also when "converting" adds compression again. In short you lose detail/information that was in the original. Some may say you can't see the difference but that too is dependent on playback (small screen vs large screen etc.). Think of taking a photo, scanning it and making a copy - there is a difference between a perfect 1:1 copy and a cheap copy that does not catch all the detail. If you decide to use Handbrake, perhaps going through forums for best practices on keeping decent details when converting/compressing would be helpful. Something akin to "Constant Quality" at 18 or better (others here would probably give better advice on this setting than myself).

As for me (and other) who want as close to perfect a match to original will end up with a few software tools to get the job done. Since I am not married to required Apple friendly formats, I have files that are M2TS, MKV, AVI, MP4 etc. They all play on my computers, my media player, my Blu Ray player and my HTPC. If I wanted something for my iPhone or for iPad, THEN I might used Handbrake.


macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
If the OP is keeping the original video he will still have the best video available. All he wants to do is to convert to a format good for playing on the widest variety of devices. He can decide to delete the old files if he wants, with the knowledge that he may have lost some detail in the conversion process.
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