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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?

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2 Answers 2

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.
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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.

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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! squared5.com –  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

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