Having grown up in the VHS era, there was a certain comfort in knowing that there was only one major consumer video format. Betamax had already lost the format war. DVD wasn’t yet on the horizon. If you taped or filmed something on VHS, you could safely assume that it would play on anyone else’s VCR. But once consumer video went digital, the idea of a single video standard seemed to go out the window. And with all the new video formats created by our cameras, camcorders, and phones, compatibility becomes an increasing concern.
Many of us are familiar with AVI, MOV, MPG, and MP4 video files, but those file extensions tell us a very small part of what the files are. Take an AVI file, for example. The video and audio streams inside the file can be made using almost any compression type, and that list is much too long to mention here. Because of this, a video player or video editor that supports “AVI files” will never support all AVI files. The same holds true for most other video formats, and for this reason, when you try to import a supported video type into ProShow Gold, ProShow Producer, or ProShow Web, you may occasionally find that the video is blank, the audio can’t be heard, or an “Unrecognized File Selected” message is given.
Fortunately, there are programs out there that you can use to convert your video from its current format to a more standardized one with little or no perceptible loss in quality. Today I’m going to show you how to transcode your problematic videos with one of my favorite free tools, Handbrake.
Using Handbrake to Convert Your Videos
- First, you’ll want to download the installer from Handbrake’s official website, then run it to complete the installation.
- Open the program. Click the Source button at the top left, then choose “Open File” to find the file you’d like to convert.
- In the Destination section, click the Browse button at the right to choose a destination and file name for the file you’re going to create.
- Under output settings make sure Mp4 is selected for the Container.
- Set the Picture settings as shown below. Note that the Source, Width, Height and Cropping values are likely going to be different for your video files. Just make sure “Keep Aspect Ratio” is checked, Anamorphic is set to None, and Modulus is set to 8.
- In the Filters tab, match these settings:
- In the Video tab, change your settings to line up with what’s shown below:
- Set up your Audio tab as follows. Note that the “Source” will be unique to your video file:
- Lastly, we’re going to click the Add button at the bottom right of the program to create a Preset so you can automatically apply these settings the next time you use Handbrake.
- Now that you’re done creating your preset, it’s simply a matter of clicking the “Start” button at the top of the program.
Once the new file has been created, you should have no problems importing it into ProShow Gold/Producer (provided you’re using version 4.5 or newer) or ProShow Web.
- If you’re still unable to import the file you created in ProShow Gold or ProShow Producer, go to Edit > Preferences > Playback in ProShow and make sure “Avoid using DirectShow when possible” is checked.
- If your source video is 1080p high definition and you ultimately plan on creating a standard DVD, you can save yourself time by downsizing first in Handbrake. Just set Height to 480 in the Picture tab. If the Keep Aspect Ratio checkbox is checked, the Width should update automatically.
- You can do batch conversions by pressing “Add to Queue” after adding each video. Once you’ve queued all the videos, either press Start in the main interface or from within the Show Queue window.