The joy of codecs

While I can be a bit snap-happy, I don’t tend to take a lot of videos which is my excuse for not realising for over a year that my camera records its videos in .mts format. (It’s also why it’s taken me six months to find the 27 minute recording of the inside of my coat pocket – but that’s another story.)

So the few family videos I have are big, beautifully clear, big and locked into a proprietary format. This becomes a problem as soon as I want to share any of these with the extended family, which brings me to the point of this post.

Public Videos is a (seemingly no longer updated) Posterous Space with a cornucopia of useful information on converting media file formats with free tools.

According to How to convert AVCHD MTS files to Dirac/Ogg, Theora/Ogg, H.264/MP4 and JPEGs using free tools, you can use ffmpeg2theora to convert a given video to theora ogv. The suggested command is:

ffmpeg2theora --videobitrate 1200 --keyint 30 --audiobitrate 128 --samplerate 44100 --optimize --two-pass -o $TARGET $SOURCE

I tried this and then tinkered around with the options to try to improve the resulting file. The main thing I learned was that I breathe really loudly when filming stuff. Ffmpeg2theora includes a lot of options and I need to find the time to go understand them properly but the point of this post is to ensure that I don’t lose the link.

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