Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm running Mac OS X 10.6 and have a few large .mov files (around 20-30GB each) that I would like to burn onto separate data DVD-Rs. The resolution of the videos is 960x540 and the duration ranges from about 2h13m to 2h45m.

I've never compressed and burned video files before so I'm looking for recommendations for a program (preferably free) that can help me do this easily. Any ideas?

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

My suggestion would be to try ffmpeg, probably the most powerful en/decoder library available. Normally, you'd have to compile it on OS X yourself, but there's a slightly older prebuilt version called ffmpegX, which bundles the ffmpeg libraries into a GUI application, which is of course free.

  • Download that (here's the direct download link) and install it.
  • After opening it for the first time, it asks you to install additional libraries. You can do that, but you don't need to.
  • Drop the MOV file into the field where it says "Drop here"
  • Choose an appropriate output codec. In order to retain the best quality, go for h.264 x264. Also change the output file name to .mp4.

enter image description here

  • Now go to the second tab ("Video") and enter your target file size or select 1 DVD (4GB). Then click "Rate" to calculate the bit rate necessary for fitting the newly encoded file to the medium you specified before. Note that my numbers are off, because I only used a 0:30 min test file

enter image description here

  • Then hit "Encode"

A few remarks:

  • I can't promise it works, but ffmpeg should be able to handle everything. Another note: Handbrake also uses libavcodec which is bundled into ffmpeg, so it should have been able to decode your MOV files as well.
  • It might be that your MOV files are encoded with some codec that ffmpeg will not understand, in that case we might have to dig deeper.
share|improve this answer

It sounds to me like you need HandBrake, which requires VLC (at least if you want full functionality out of it; you might only need it to do DVD ripping, but it's worth having anyway).

You can set a target size for the video - under "quality" in the video section.

share|improve this answer
Ah PERFECT! I'll give this a go and update you on how it went. Thanks! – tvguide1234 May 17 '11 at 16:48
Ok so I installed Handbrake and VLC. However when I import the .mov file in Handbrake it says "Scanning title 1 of 1" for a few minutes before it says "No Valid Source Found". The .mov file is saved on an external drive connected through firewire if it makes a difference. I checked the "Activity Window" and it has several entries of "scan: could not get a decoded picture" after "scan: decoding previews for title 1" – tvguide1234 May 17 '11 at 17:03
Hmm... I'm not sure if Handbrake supports the encoding of your MOV file (since MOV is a container, and not an actual file format...). Sorry about that. Another fairly popular program seems to be Squared5 - never used it, but it might be worth a go! – Joseph Redfern May 17 '11 at 17:12
@tvguide1234 Maybe try to install Perian, doesn't hurt. Handbrake should be able to do what you want. – slhck May 17 '11 at 17:16
@Joseph I tried squared5 and it works to convert the files but I don't see any option to set the target file size. Since the files are 20-30GB and take a while to encode, I can't do this through trial and error. – tvguide1234 May 17 '11 at 17:36

protected by Community Mar 8 '13 at 8:57

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.