Saturday, November 25, 2006

Convert video for the 360 (Part 2)

Sooo.. a couple of weeks ago, i made a post about how to quickly convert video for the 360. Tonight, i decided to try it out.

getting started...

So i downloaded the VLC software & the batch file to help with the encoding. This was pretty easy for me, and should be quite easy for most people. I proceeded onto the next step of the instructions, which told me to drag my selected video file onto the batch file, and then watch it encode.


So i selected an episode of Top Gear. One of my favourite programs, and will quite happily pay my TV license for it! Each episode of Top Gear is an hour long, so i thought "It shouldn't take too long".


I Dragged my .avi file over onto the batch file and watched as a command window flashed before my eyes. Surely it couldn't be done? It's not so quick, that it's almost instant, is it? So i spent 5 or so minutes looking for the outputted file. I couldn't find it, so i opened up the .bat batch file in Notepad++ to see what it was actually doing.

It turns out that the file path to the VLC player was wrong. Humm. Maybe i didn't follow the instructions.. Ho hum.

I set the File path and tried again. No luck. Double checked the settings, all fine. So what was the problem? I looked into the .bat file using Notepad++ (excellent tool btw!), and noticed that although the bat file was referring to a folder, it wasn't mentioning a specific program, so after altering the path, i tried it again, and success, it worked! I dragged the avi onto the bat file and then the dos cmd prompt appeared, and a few seconds later, the VLC Player appeared, and it started converting the video!


Half hour later, it finally finished (30 mins to convert an hour program? Not bad!). So now i had my original file (.avi) and my new 360 file (.wmv) Woot!

The only problem i could see was size. The avi was 350mb(ish) in size. The .wmv file was 1.6GB! WOW! Something should be done about that!

So next up was to play it on the 360, and surprisingly, it worked straight away and it played perfectly. No distortion, so sound problems, just an hours worth of solid entertainment! The only problem with it was that i had dragged it onto the 4:3 bat file, but the avi source was actually 16:9, so the perspective was wrong.

Never mind, i doubt i'd keep the new wmv because of the size. It's just a case of finding your 'sweet spot' between file & size and quality i guess.


However, first impressions on the guide to converting video for your 360 is spot on, after a few teething problems, it worked fine, and it's bloody easy!

Oh, and if i find a decent quality setting with a decent file size, i'll post it!

edit: After playing with the bat file & reading up on the Happybeggar forums, there seems to be a few tricks to try, in order to get the optimum quality vs size. In my original article, i mentioned that a 350mb file was converted to 1.6gb. I tried the same file with different quality settings, and got it down to 700mb. Still twice the size of the original, but not half as bad! And the quality wasn't bad either. Definitely watch-able!

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