AVS Video Converter to the rescue

By | July 29, 2009

I found a decent tool to solve the video conversion problem I’ve wasted days on which I complained about yesterday.

What’s amusing is that the way I found it through a Google AdSense ad that appeared alongside my complaint :-).

AVS Video Converter will convert from just about any format to just about any other format, including allowing segments of the video to be clipped during the conversion. Furthermore, it gives you complete control over all the encoding parameters in an obvious way, so you can play with them to figure out the settings that are best for you.

The same company makes a different product called AVS Video ReMaker, which does exactly what I wanted to do, i.e., allowing videos to be clipped without re-encoding them, but unfortunately it doesn’t support WMV files, so I had to go with AVS Video Converter, which does have to re-encode but produces a good enough result.

For anyone else needs to do what I did, I will share the specific settings I used to re-encode the WMV file produced by GoToMeeting, so you can use them as a starting point in your efforts to find the right settings for you:

  • Encode to WMV
  • Windows Media Video 9 video codec
  • Original frame size
  • 3 frames per second (the 30fps in the video produced by GTM is quite excessive for most purposes, although you can certainly increase this if you find that your converted video is choppy)
  • Bitrate 1200, quality level 50
  • Click on the “Advanced…” video codec settings button, enable VBR (which stands for “variable bit rate”), and choose the “Quality” setting with a quality level of 50
  • WMA audio codec
  • Mono, 16 bit sample size, 22050 Hz sample rate, 16 kbps Bitrate

This produces a video which, admittedly, isn’t quite as crisp as the original produced by GoToMeeting, but considering that it’s more than 40% smaller, I’m willing to sacrifice a little crispness. Of course, if you’re not you can increase the quality level.

Note that the company that produces the software is currently having a sale where you can buy an unlimited, perpetual license for all of their programs for one computer (if you buy a different computer, you have to buy a new license) for only $59.

I do have a few minor complaints about AVS Video Converter which I will mention here in the spirit of full disclosure:

  1. When you edit the audio encoding parameters by hand and choose a combination that isn’t valid for the codec you’re using, it tells you that the combination is invalid but doesn’t tell you why or what to do about it.
  2. It would be nice if the authors gave a bit more guidance about what all the knobs and dials mean, which might have saved me some trial-and-error time.
  3. I found a few combinations of codecs and encoder settings which caused the program to crash or report internal errors.  I just worked around this by using a different codec or changing the settings, and so many of them are supported that it wasn’t a major obstacle.

Overall, though, it’s a pretty decent program, especially since it actually does what I need!

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9 thoughts on “AVS Video Converter to the rescue

  1. jik Post author

    Did you, perchance, try to use the “unlimited” license you purchased on multiple computers, or to transfer the license from one computer to another?

    AVS’s Web site is quite clear that the unlimited license is for a single computer, and that if you want to use the software on multiple computers, or even if you buy a new computer to replace your old one, you have to buy a new license.

    Reply
  2. Buckeye Lover

    I am trying to get the word out to as many people as I can about AVS and their deceptive sales tactics. I got sucked (suckered) into purchasing the “unlimited upgrade” package from AVS / AVS4YOU / AVSVideo / AVSMedia (they have many “DBA” names out there, so do your research before you purchase) and I can tell you first hand they do not follow best business practices. Their “unlimited” package is a joke and their refund policy is … well, let’s just say, I have been fighting with them for amost a year to get my money back. They blocked my installation key from activation so I am unable to use their software. What a joke! … and don’t even get me started on the poor quality their software. Their video conversion software does not do a very good job at converting or rendering between various video formats. Audio converting / encoding leaves much to be desired also.

    Stay away from anything and everything AVS related.

    Reply
  3. Felix

    And does it make you feel bad that you bought software that violates the GPL?
    AVS Video converter is in the FFmpeg Hall of Shame. Basically it’s just a nice GUI for the FFmpeg command line interface.
    Check it out: http://ffmpeg.org/shame.html

    Reply
    1. jik Post author

      And does it make you feel bad that you bought software that violates the GPL?

      Yes.

      AVS Video converter is in the FFmpeg Hall of Shame. Basically it’s just a nice GUI for the FFmpeg command line interface.

      I had no idea about this when I bought the product, but judging from the issue tracker entry, it’s not clear that it’s actually in violation.

      Furthermore, it doesn’t look to me like any of the maintainers of ffmpeg actually contacted the authors of AVS Video Converter in an effort to get them to comply with the license. I don’t know whether that’s par for the course, i.e., they don’t bother to try to contact any of the violators, or whether there’s something unique about the situation with AVS. But while I don’t condone GPL violations, I do expect the copyright holders to make a sincere effort to rectify them before trying the shaming route.

      Reply
  4. abbasegal

    Sorry. I must have had better google-fu than you on this one. (I searched on “trim video without reencoding” and the link I found was number 2 on the list). 😉

    I hope some of their other tools at least are useful to you!

    Reply
  5. jik Post author

    abbasegal says:
    This (free) tool should do it:

    Yup, works like a charm. Dang, I wish you’d posted that before I spent $59 on AVS Video Converter :-).

    Reply
  6. jik Post author

    It sounds like VideoReDo doesn’t support the Windows Media codecs that are commonly used in WMV files (including the WMV file I’m working with).

    Reply
  7. Quantum Mechanic

    I’m not a video geek, so sorry for asking, but is WMV an encoding or is it just a container?

    If it is just a container, and the underlying encoding of your files is MPEG2, take a look at VideoReDo. It can do native MPEG editing — rather than decode the entire video, do the edits, and re-encode (which is slow and lossy), it will decode just the necessary frames around the cut point and then reencode just at the cut point. Lots of TiVo owners use this program to edit down stuff they’ve recorded. According to the website it can handle: “MPEG1, MPEG2, Transport Streams (.ts), Windows MCE DVRMS files, Siemens M740AV .CRID files, and Topfield .rec files. The result is that VideoReDo TVSuite works with the widest variety of TV PVR and DVR formats. “

    Reply
  8. abbasegal

    According to this post:
    http://club.cdfreaks.com/f32/trim-wmv-file-without-re-encoding-175878/

    This (free) tool should do it:
    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=5691ba02-e496-465a-bba9-b2f1182cdf24&DisplayLang=en

    Being a microsoft tool, it should work with the MS formats.

    I haven’t actually tried this, so YMMV.

    (I have successfully used VirtualDub to trim my DIVX files, though — we are going on a transcribing kick to retire our videotapes once and for all)

    Reply

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