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Linux Multimedia Hacks by Kyle Rankin

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Hack #63. Convert from One Video Format to Another

With transcode you can convert to and from many popular video formats and perform other video manipulation all from the command line.

They say that the problem with standards is that there are so many to choose from. This is definitely true when it comes to video formats. It would be nice to store all video just as it was recorded, but the fact is it would take up more space than many people have available on their computers. As a result, a number of different lossy compression formats have been developed to try to reduce the file size for video while still maintaining reasonable quality. There is also a battle raging between various companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Real each with their own competing video formats. Plus, as the technology improves, new revisions of old formats appear. The end result is a jumble of MPEG1, MPEG2, DivX, ASF, XVID, and other video formats—all different from one another.

When wading through these choices, often you find you need to convert a video from one format to another. There are a number of special-purpose tools that excel at one particular formats or group of formats, but with transcode you have a single conversion tool you can apply to all of the various video files you might have. Transcode not only supports converting to and from a variety of formats, it also can perform cropping and resizing [Hack #68] .

The first step is installing transcode. Because of the number of formats transcode ...

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