Thursday, February 18, 2010

Converting DVD into AVI for YouTube Upload

I recorded our appearance on Kabuhayang Swak na Swak the other day. Hey, its not everyday that one gets featured in a major TV channel. Ok, ok, so it was on a Sunday morning at 7am. But quite surprisingly, a few people whom I know saw it, and several interested prospects txt-ed us to know more about the product.

I used my old Philips DVD Recorder to save the show for posterity. The Philips recorder saves its recordings onto its internal hard drive. It does allow you to burn it into removable media as a regular DVD using its burn capability. Since my objective is to upload the video to YouTube, that got me thinking -- how do I convert DVD to a format supported by YouTube?

YouTube supports the major formats like MPEG, Quicktive (.mov), AVI, and Windows Media Video. Unfortunately, the only DVD converter I know is the DivX Converter. And YouTube does not support .divx. I've previously relied on my tech guys to convert DVD music video to WMV for Fliptunes. But now, it looks like I have to figure out how to do this on my own. As usual, first stop is Google!

My search led me to a free software called bitRipper. My search highlighted the word FREE when I searched for a converter, and bitRipper appeared at the top of the list. The installer file is small enough and the website looks very professional. So I installed it on my home PC and ripped the DVD that my Philips recorder burned.

bitRipper worked quickly on the DVD. Its a no fuss, no nonsense program. I did not really tinker with the settings options anymore and just used the default. In a few minutes, I got a 180mb AVI version of the 1-hour DVD content.

Now, obviously, I can't upload the entire show since a large part of it is irrelevant and it contains several commercials. So I needed another program to cut it down to just the portion that I needed (our segment!). I used another free video editing program called Avidemux. Just like bitRipper, its a no-frills program which does what its supposed to do very well. In a matter of minutes, I chopped down the file to just 20MB and just contains our segment. Then off it goes to YouTube!

A strange note -- the day after I did this, my monitor resolution went haywire. The usual 1440x900 widescreen format disappeared. In place are the usual resolutions which are meant more for 4:3 monitors. I tried reinstalling the video drivers to no avail. Finally in desperation, I uninstalled bitRipper. After a reboot, my screen was back to 1440x900. I'm not really sure what happened. I won't categorically say that it was bitRipper that caused the problem as it was working fine after my ripping session. The problem only cropped up after the reboot.

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