As we generate more video here at AuctioneerTech, we find ourselves becoming more and more familiar with format types. One of the challenges we faced with the creation of the Auction Video Podcast was getting the video into a format compatible with the iPod. This challenge, and many others, were immediately overcome when we came across a service called Media Convert.
Media Convert is a free, web-based service that supports over 100 different file formats and will convert any file to another same-type file. It’s not going to convert your Excel spreadsheet to a movie, but it will convert your favorite song into a ringtone and your favorite downloaded YouTube clip into Quicktime format and your favorite Photoshop PSD into a JPEG. For free.
The usage couldn’t be more simple. Simply select a file for upload from your computer. The input type is immediately detected. The output format select box automatically changes based on the input type to allow you to select from the supported file types that make sense for your input. Once you’ve selected the output type from the select box, you can click OK to begin the process or you can adjust some advanced options. For video, the advanced options allow you to adjust audio and video quality, sound volume, etc…for pictures, the advanced options allow you to adjust compression level, aspect ratio – attributes that make sense for the file type in question.
Media Convert also offers some services that are somewhat tangental to those implied by its name.
- Thumbnails – it can do some simple image effects to small pictures
- File hosting – we’re not exactly sure how this feature works, but it looks like you can host files up to 120 days so long as the file is downloaded at least twice every 15 days
- Send file to mobile – Media Convert will process a file and give you the location to download the file from your mobile device
- Webmaster partner – integrate Media Convert into your website so your users can utilize its features (we’re looking into it for AuctioneerTech)
- Format detector – if you have a file and aren’t quite sure what format it is, Media Convert will analyze a small part of it to tell you what to use to open it or view it
Media Convert, as far as we can tell, has only three small downsides. It’s free, so it’s ad-supported. It’s chock-full of ads. It’s so full of ads that it’s tough to tell what’s part of the site and what’s part of the advertising. We’re ok with that, however. Since we’re getting a free service we can overlook the ads. The second aspect to consider is that for many file types – especially large files like video – they queue requests and notify you upon completion. We’ve had files that we’ve uploaded take several minutes to as much as an hour before we were able to download the output file. Since Media Convert saves the output file for up to 24 hours and, again, since it’s a free service, we’re not complaining. The final limitation is more of a deal breaker for some tasks. Media Convert supports files up to only 200 MB. Video is really the only media type that will exceed this limit and, unless you’re working with HD video or clips longer than 10 or 15 minutes, it shouldn’t be a problem.
We’ve been using Media Convert for the last few months and have found it to be reliable and safe. It’s a great, free tool we keep in the box for when we want a quick conversion without the hassle of installing software and learning how to do it ourselves.