Sometimes you go to transcribe your video in InqScribe only to find that InqScribe won’t play that video type. InqScribe relies on the QuickTime 7 or Windows Media Player 11 specs for media playback, and is able to play most anything that can be played in those players. But if your media is not supported by either of those two players, you’ll need to convert it to a format that is.
Converting, or transcoding, involves decoding the original file, and then encoding the file into a new format. It’s not quite as simple as renaming a file “Example.avi” to Example.mp4.” If you’re totally confused, check out our blog post “What is a Codec Anyway?” for an explanation of codecs, containers, transcoding, and more.
After a quick Google search for “media conversion tool,” you’ll soon realize that there are a lot of options out there. Some of these tools will be more useful to you than others, and some might even install unwanted malware on your computer. Which one should you use? While we don’t endorse any single media converter, here are a few that have worked for us (and our users) in the past:
HandBrake is a well-known, trusted, and free conversion software available for Mac, PC, and Linux. Since it’s a software, you won’t need to upload or download your video to a website (unlike Online-Convert below). Everything is done locally on your machine and you don’t need an internet connect to convert files. HandBrake supports batch file processing, which comes in handy if you’re planning on converting multiple media files. The drawback is that video conversion is limited to MP4 and MKV outputs. However, if your goal is to convert a video into an InqScribe-compatible format, the MP4 container will work just fine. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to HandBrake:
- Download and install HandBrake from their website.
- Open HandBrake and click “Source” in the upper left portion of the window. Select the video or audio file you wish to convert. For example, “Desktop > Documents > My Videos > SampleVideo.mov.”
- Select where you’d like to save the new transcoded file by clicking “Browse” in the Destination section. By leaving it blank, it will save automatically to your desktop.
- Select the Container of the transcoded file. For video, you’ll have two options, MP4 and MKV. MP4 will work best with InqScribe.
- Next, in the bottom half of the HandBrake window, you’ll be able to edit various settings such as the frame rate, bit rate, and codecs of your media file. Adjust them to your liking.
- Click “Start” and your file will begin converting. HandBrake will notify you when the converted file is finished. It will then appear in the location of your choosing.
Online-Convert is a relatively new conversion tool that is gaining some traction. This website supports a wide variety of formats and, best of all, using the website doesn’t require you to install any software. The only thing you’ll download from Online-Convert is your converted media file. Note that, as a web-based converter, this option requires you to upload your video to the Online-Convert server. If you have a very large file and/or a poor internet connection, this option may not be the best for you. As per their terms of service, all uploaded files are deleted from the Online-Convert database within 24 hours, though even this policy may be an issue if your files are confidential. Here’s how the site works:
- From the homepage, select your converter and file type. For example, “Video converter > Convert to AVI.”
- You will then be taken to a new page where you can adjust your media settings. First, upload your original media file by selecting “Choose files…” You can also convert files from a URL or directly from a DropBox account. Going along with our example, you might select “Desktop > My Documents > Videos > SampleVideo.mov.”
- Adjust the settings to your liking. These settings will vary depending on whether you’re converting audio or video, but know that you’ll have the option to specify the audio/video quality, bit rate, frame rate, and length of your media file.
- Once you’ve chosen your settings, select “Convert file” to proceed. You should see a green bar appear indicating the progress of your upload.
- When the upload is complete, you will be taken to a new page with the text “Your file has been successfully converted.” Your converted file will automatically begin downloading. Soon you will have your converted media file ready to go! In my case, I received “SampleVideo.avi” in my Downloads folder.
Do you use a different media conversion tool? We’d be happy to hear your thoughts and suggestions. Email us at email@example.com.