Posted on June 17th, 2009 No comments
One of the websites I redesigned last year has quite a bit of video content stored in ASF format. I was a Mac guy turned Flash & PHP guy, turned Linux guy, so I know very little (nothing) about Windows Media formats. The client sent me a new DVD, so I figured I try to match the existing file format as closely as possible. I started by converting the .VOB to .AVI using HandBrake. I needed to edit out a 3 minute segment from an hour long video and perform some corrections using AfterEffects. The source footage turned out to be over 7GB.
Now I need to figure out how to conver the uncompressed AVI to I can’t imagine finding a better post on this topic than this forum thread at videohelp.com: Convert AVI to ASF.
One of the recommended tools in the above post is called MediaCoder. The poster gives a link to download the program, along with settings to use. It seemed straightforward enough, so I decided to give it a try.
As it turns out, VideoHelp is a stupendously helfpul resource when it comes to the dizzying array of video conversion issues, formats and software to use to convert video. Another post said to re-compress your .AVI using VirtualDubMod, so I tried that, too.
Well, after trying both VirtualDubMod and MediaCoder, I got really frustrated. MediaCoder has to be one of the most annoying softwares ever created. When you install the program and run it, it opens their website with a button you have to click to open the program’s main window. What a joke. Half of the menus in the program are designed to display website pages which show ads to download AVS Video Converter. The whole “digital video conversion” shareware arena is a complete scam-fest nightmare. There’s no less than a dozen tools in the $40 to $80 range that claim to be the easiest, best, fastest, greatest everything-to-everything converter. I really don’t understand why there has to be 27 gazillion video file formats.
Anyway, I installed and ran AVS too. Upon launch it opens the registration page with a $39 one-year license or a $59 unlimited license. I tried it in demo mode, and it did work great, but it created a watermark in the middle of my video. Rats. Not even one free encode from these guys. In all fairness, AVS does seem to be the simplest, quickest tool for the most common video conversion formats, but I just didn’t feel like coughing up $40+.
I read on the FFMpeg site (a server-based tool for command-line media conversion on Linux) that ASF is generally to be avoided, and a post on another site recommended to use WMV using the Windows Media Encoder is free from Microsoft. I decided to switch to Windows Media. It is free and worked fine. And as it turned out, I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out settings for ASF files to work in MediaCoder. I never did get it to encode anything correctly – lol. Uninstall.
Assuming you have Windows Genuine, and I know you all do, all you have to do is encode to WMV using Windows Media Encoder and when the file’s done, change the file extension from .WMV to .ASF. Duh! That makes sense… not. But it works, and I’m tired, so I don’t care.