If you were using Windows or may be you are dual booting with Linux then probably you would have used Format Factory on Windows, a media conversion tool to convert to your audio, video files or for ripping DVDs/CDs or creating .iso images.
Format Factory is a good tool to do that but what if you are using Linux more than Windows then there are some good alternatives that do the same work in the best way. So here I am giving 4 alternatives to Format Factory on Linux. Let’s get started.
This happens so many times that you downloaded/purchased a movie/video for your mobile phone and when you transfer it to that mobile phone, unfortunately, it does not work because of unsupported format.
It frustrates! Because you are using Linux and so don’t know what to do except finding a friend’s laptop running Windows and do a file conversion in there. But you can also do that in your Linux just use any one of the following tools for not just file conversion but for several other purposes. Let’s quickly start what those tools are and how to use them.
Let’s start from #4.
MEncoder is a free, open-source command line video decoding, encoding and filtering tool released under the GNU General Public License. MEncoder is an associate program of MPlayer, so it can convert all the formats that MPlayer can read.
MEncoder includes cropping, scaling, vertical flipping, horizontal mirroring, expanding to create letterboxes, rotating, brightness/contrast, changing the aspect ratio of the video’s pixels, colorspace conversion, hue/saturation, color-specific gamma correction, filters for reducing the visibility of compression artifacts caused by MPEG compression (deblocking, deringing), automatic brightness/contrast enhancement (autolevel), sharpness/blur, denoising filters, and several different ways of deinterlacing. Certain filters capable of reversing telecine that do not work well with MPlayer can be used as well.
MEncoder is a free command line video decoding, encoding and filtering tool but I will install a GUI for MEncoder, called DivX Converter.
How to install MEncoder
sudo apt-get install mencoder lame
MEncoder can work properly, the corresponding need codecs installed for video editing. The package libavcodec5x is part of Libav – or FFmpeg -project and includes a large collection of codecs. When installing some dependencies are resolved.
sudo apt-get install libavcodec54
If you like to use MEncoder from Terminal then you can learn commands from Google. But I am doing conversion using GUI.
You can download DivX converter from Softpedia website.
Install .deb file using gdebi or software center. Launch DivX from apps menu.
It is very to convert file using DivX. First of all add the file you want to convert and then select the conversion format from drop down menu. There are some pre-defined formats including Sony Playstation 3, Apple iPod etc. Check out the full list and select. Also, select the directory where you want the converted file.
Now, if you want some advanced options go to video and audio tab and there you can enter video/audio bitrate and etc. Do it according to your needs. After you’ve set everything, press ‘Convert’ button and conversion will start.
Once the conversion completes, browse the folder where you saved the file and play it on your desired device.
Arista is the easiest one in our list. Arista is a multimedia transcoder that converts/compress files easily. Arista could make third place in my list because of its simplicity but at the same time power. If you don’t want to start directly from some advanced tools then Arista is perfect for you.
Arista is officially built for GNOME. It includes a long list of presets from iPod, iPhone, PSP, Playstation 3 to Android, Nokia, DVD and lots more. It supports MP4, WebM, Matroska, AVI, Ogg, FLV (codecs – video: H.264, VP8, MPEG4 / DivX, MPEG2, Theora, Flash Video / audio: AAC, Vorbis, MP3, FLAC, Speex, WAV) formats and it can rip straight from DVD or v4l (Video 4 Linux) devices.
In short Arista supports the following features –
- Presets for iPod, computer, DVD player, PSP, Playstation 3, and more.
- Live preview to see the encoded quality.
- Automatically discover available DVD media and Video 4 Linux (v4l) devices.
- Rip straight from DVD media easily (requires libdvdcss).
- Rip straight from v4l devices.
- Simple terminal client for scripting.
- Automatic preset updating.
How to install Arista
Arista is available in some distributions’ default repositories but if it’s not then thanks to webupd8 who manages arista in their repository.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/arista sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install arista
How to use Arista
Once installed, launch it from the apps menu. Now the following window will open with the easy to use functions.
Click the ‘+’ plus sign to add any video or audio file that you want to convert.
Arista gives you three options to import any audio/video file. You can import file(s) directly from DVD/CD or you can import a folder with multiple audio/video files. You can also select only one file to convert. Now select the directory where you want to save the converted file.
Finally select the format/device that you want the file to be converted into. There are many presets. You can select any specific device, say Android then you can select either from this list or you could directly select Android from the main window and follow the same process.
If you do not find your device/format/settings from preset then you can add a preset manually. Click the ‘+’ plus sign on left bottom and add your settings.
When you have done setting up, click ‘Create’. Now wait until it converts your file. Once converted play it from destination folder and enjoy.
2. Handbrake, The best media conversion tool of all time
Handbrake is a free, Open source and best-multithreaded transcoding tool available around. Handbrake was built in 2003 by Eric “titer” Petit. The tool has been changed a lot and now it supports all major platforms including Windows & Mac. Handbrake is officially available for Ubuntu Linux but if you are using any other Linux Distribution, like Debian, Linux Mint, Fedora or any other then you can compile the source code. Handbrake uses third party libraries such as x264, Libav and FAAC.
For Linux, Handbrake is available in CLI ( Command Line Interface) and GUI (Graphical User Interface) both. Do not worry if you are listening about Handbrake first time, it is super easy to install and USE.
Install Handbrake in Ubuntu
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:stebbins/handbrake-releases sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install handbrake
Install GUI for Handbrake with the following command:
sudo apt-get install handbrake-gtk
And you can install the HandBrake CLI with the following command:
sudo apt-get install handbrake-cli
How To Use Handbrake
After you have installed Handbrake, launch it from dash or menu. The easy to use interface will open.
Now you have every option visible. Start from importing the video you want to convert or compress. Click ‘Source’ and select your file.
As you import you will your source has been selected and all options are now enabled. You can manually give input for your file but you also have some pre-loaded format profiles for popular devices. To convert this video select device you want to play this video on. As you can see I have selected AppleTV.
In case you want to upload this video for web/youtube then check ‘Web optimized’ below format. Checking web optimized will remove device selection. Below the settings you can see summary of your video. Now when you have done with some primary settings move over to Video.
Now all the options you see here can be modified depending on your needs. But you can use Video Encoder as it is selected by default ‘H.264 (x264)’. After you have configured video, move to ‘Audio Defaults’ and set your values there. You can try out different settings and choose what fits for your video.
Now you have done settings click start.
There are many option that you can easily explore yourself.
FFmpeg has to top the list. FFmpeg is a cross-platform and a complete solution to record, convert and compress audio/video and stream audio and video files. FFmpeg project was started in 2000 by Fabrice Bellard and has been maintained by Michael Niedermayer since 2004. FFmpeg includes libavcodec, the leading audio and video library. FFmpeg can also decode, encode, trancode, mux, demus and can play approximately everything that has been created till now. The project is mostly developed under Linux but it can be compiled under other operating systems including Windows.
The time I am writing this tutorial the latest version of FFmpeg is 2.7.2. FFmpeg supports both CLI (Command Line Interface) and GUI (Graphical User Interface). CLI is mosly used but sometime seems difficult to use, for new Linux users. Please note that I am not writing this post for advance users of FFmpeg. I am writing it for new users so I’ll be using GUI client to convert my files.
How To Install FFmpeg
First of all we will install FFmpeg. Use the following commands –
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:mc3man/trusty-media sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install ffmpeg
How To Use FFmpeg
As told above I will be using Graphical user interface for my file conversion. GUI is easy to use and understand for new users. So let’s get started.
WinFF is a GUI for FFmpeg. It can convert any video file that FFmpeg will convert. WinFF does multiple files in multiple formats at one time. You can, for example convert mpegs, flvs, and movs, all into avis all at once. WinFF is available for Windows 95, 98 , ME, NT, XP, VISTA, and Debian, Ubuntu, Redhat based GNU/Linux distributions. WinFF is available in Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Chinese Traditional, Danish, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Slovenian, Spanish and Turkish.
WinFF is already available in Ubuntu repository but there is official PPA also available that will give you any future update immediately. So install using the following PPA.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:paul-climbing/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install winff
Once the installation completes, launch WinFF from menu or dash (if using Ubuntu). The next you will a very friendly user interface with few options. Don’t worry it will show you all the features as you click ‘Options’ from top right corner.
First of all you need to select the format that you want the file to convert into. There are many predefined formats available from some popular mobile devices to web format like, for Youtube.
Now add the file you want to convert/compress. There are many settings under Options that you can play with. You can set video bitrate, frame rate, video size, audio bitrate, set cropping and etc. You need to set all of these settings according to your needs.
After you have set everything it’s time to preview. Click preview and you will see terminal playing it in commands. Well, this tells the frame rate and other settings that you set. Select the location where you want to save converted file. Now click Convert. The conversion will start inside terminal and it will take some time depending on your file size. Once it completes conversion, terminal will prompt to hit enter and your file is converted.
Go to the directory where you saved the file and enjoy…
Finally, I want to say that there are many other such tools that you are regularly using. Share with us what tool(s) you are using. And don’t forget to tell us which tools you like the most in all of the four.