I have a couple of digital camcorders that output .MOV files encoded in h.264 video/AAC audio. They won't load into Windows Movie Maker or Windows Media Player - I guess I need to install some codecs. Where can I get these?
The .mov videos are in a proprietary Apple format whose secrets are jealously guarded by Apple. Many Apple codecs have non-Apple implementations which are pretty good, but not perfect, which is unfortunately also the case with QuickTime Alternative.
The only video player that's guaranteed to play .mov videos correctly is Apple's QuickTime. You can download it here (be sure not to download the version with iTunes).
You can either use the QuickTime player to watch your .mov videos, or you can still continue to use Windows Media Player. But in this case you'll need a product that makes available to WMP all the QuickTime codecs currently installed. A free product that does that is available here : QuickTime DirectShow Source Filter.
After many hours of searching, I FINALLY found a GOOD solution! Here's a free program that will convert MOV and MP4 files to an AVI container, without re-encoding the H.264 video inside, so it's much faster than any video conversion -- about as fast as just copying the files off the cards -- and absolutely no loss of quality:
You may also need the ffdshow H.264 codec, which is also freeware available on SourceForge, and then you're all set: You can play your videos in Windows Media Player and edit them in Windows Movie Maker.
There are many alternative pay and free ways of converting these quicktime movie files.
My recommendation would be to buy quicktime 7 pro, since both MOV and AAC are proprietary formats, and it supports the H.264 codec.
Open your MOV file, from the file menu choose Export, choose Movie to Windows Media. Open the options to make any changes to the video/audio settings. Save.
After searching for Windows Movie Maker supported file formats, I find that it can work Apple QuickTime MOV files, MPEG-4 MOV files and Motion MJPEG MOV files but lacks the ability to handle H.264 MOV files.
The 3ivx decoder plays back most MPEG-4 files (including MP4, M4A, 3GP and MOV files) with MPEG-4 AAC Audio and MPEG-4 Video (such as DivX 3, 4 and 5, Apple MPEG-4, Philips MPEG-4 and XviD) using Windows Media Player or other compatible players.
for conversion (i.e. MOV > WMV), i recommend SUPER © (Simplified Universal Player Encoder & Renderer).
SUPER © is freeware.