Good free, online video utilities

Even though we use all the high-dollar professional video editors and encoders at my work, for personal stuff and recommendations I always try to watch for what’s out there free, keeping track of them in my Google Notebook. A recent article on this subject on Lifehacker reminded me of some of these, and the comments on the article added some more good links. When my wife wanted to download some videos from YouTube (non-copyrighted, of course) and edit them in iMovie, here’s some of the things we used:

Desktop FLV Players

For anyone who works with Flash video, the annoying lack of a proper Adobe FLV desktop player has not been relieved by the Adobe Media Player. AMP is more of a sell-TV-show software than a simple FLV player. The VideoLAN VLC Media Player is a good, simple FLV desktop video player. For Mac users, even better, installing the Perian QuickTime component lets you open and view FLVs, and a bunch of other formats, directly in QuickTime Player.

Format converters

We tried vixy.net’s Online FLV Converter first, but the server was always busy. So we used the excellent free desktop video format converter, and alternative to the $30 QuickTime Pro, MPEG Streamclip for Mac and Windows. This does all kind of quick and dirty conversions, including converting FLVs back to MOV and other formats too. We found that using the inpoint/outpoint keyboard shortcuts (I and O) made it simple to convert just the clips we wanted to bring into the editing software without having to convert entire long videos.

Downloading from YouTube

For downloading FLVs from YouTube etc., there’s a bunch of ways, but I’m liking viddownloader.com, a simple online tool done in Flash.

ASF to MOV

A while ago we impulse-bought a $99 video camera. It’s amazingly good for the price in every way but one—it shoots in ASF, an old Windows streaming format. Still keeping an eye out for a simple, free way to convert these into an editable format.

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