How to Convert Video Formats for Free

There are a lot of software and encoders out there that can convert between different video formats. But the best way to do the conversion is to use a free software called HandBrake. It supports almost all formats and is able to transcode it to some modern and widely supported codecs. That means if your device like iPad, iPhone, Apple TV, Android TV requires video to be encoded with a specific codec, then it’s possible with a few clicks. Handbrake supports outputting to a number of modern formats like H.264 (x264), H.265 (x265), MPEG-4 and MPEG-2. You can use the MP4 container (*.mp4) for the output file.

Here is how you convert from any video format to the popular codecs using HandBrake:

  • Download HandBrake and install it.
  • Click on Source from the top left.
  • Click on File or Folder to select what you want to convert.
  • Browse and open the single file or an entire folder.
  • Click on Browse for Destination and choose a target file/folder.
  • Apply the desired output settings (details below) for container, resolution/size, video codec.
  • Click the Start button to begin the process.
  • After a while, you will get your newly converted video file.

HandBrake for Video Conversions

Output Options and Other details

I am sure that you have noticed many, many options in the simple interface of the software. You can choose preloaded presents or use custom options to select the output settings. The most important one, since we are doing format conversions, is the video container and codec.

  • Container: Choose between MP4 and MKV which seems to be the two most popular ones today. You can also optimize it for the web or activate iPod 5G Support using the checkboxes.
  • Codec: Switch to the Video From the Video Codec dropdown select your desired one [H.264 (x.264), MPEG-4, MPEG-2 and H.265 (x.265)].

You will also find advanced video settings like frame rate per second and other options that allow you to tinker the quality. It impacts the file size and the visual quality of your media file. The default settings work great, but you can drag those sliders and choose different options in the drop down if you know what you are doing.

On the right, you will also find different presents like Universal, iPod, iPhone & iPad touch, iPad, AppleTV, AppleTV 2, AppleTV 3, Android,  Android Tablet and Windows Phone 8. These pre-loaded presents will change the settings recommended for those devices. If the conversion that you are trying to do for a device is listed there, then pick it.

Now there are other options under these tabs:

  • Picture: For Size/Resolution and Cropping.
  • Filters: Apply video filters like Deinterlace.
  • Audio: Add or remove audio tracks and pick a bitrate.
  • Subtitles: Add or remove subtitles.
  • Chapters: Create markers for DVD players.

For most users, these advanced settings are not required. The basic options like choosing the source and target along with output settings are enough for the daily user. Enjoy converting your videos for free!

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