How to Transcode .mov Files

*** Update ***

I created a new tutorial on how to transcode .mov files using the Matrox VFW codecs and Prism Video Converter. There are some advantages to this method; .avi files are created which are perfect for editing in Sony Vegas, and the Matrox codecs support additional framerates, most notably 29.97 at 1920×1080, an option not found with the Avid DNxHD codec. It’s a more complete solution for PC users and it’s faster than DNxHD.

Check it out here: How to Transcode .mov Files using the Matrox VFW Codecs

Some video files aren’t easy to edit on a PC.  That’s especially true of .mov files produced by Canon compacts and DSLRs.

What options do people have?

The best option I’ve found (if you use 24p or 720p) is MPEG Streamclip in combination with the AVID DNxHD codec.

First you’ll need MPEG Streamclip.  You can find it here. Choose the Mac or PC version, download it and install it.  Then download the AVID DNxHD codec.  You can find the codec here. Choose the Mac or PC version, download it and install it.  You’re ready to go.

Open MPEG Streamclip.  You’ll see the following screen.  Click “List” at the top.

MPEG Streamclip


Next, click “Batch.”

MPEG Streamclip Batch


Then, the following screen will appear.   Click “Add Files” in the lower right.

Add Files


Next, hold down the control key and select the files you want to transcode with your mouse.  Then click “Open” in the lower right.

Select your files


After clicking “Open” you’ll see the following screen.  Make sure it says “Export to Quick Time” in the dropdown box.  Click “OK.”

Export to Quicktime


Choose the location for your future transcoded files then click “OK.”  As you see, I chose the desktop.  That’s where I’m going to find my transcoded files when the process is complete.

Future location of transcoded file


After clicking “OK” the the “Movie Exporter” screen will appear.   In the “Compression” dropdown menu, make sure you have selected “AVID DNxHD” codec.  Then click “Options” in the upper right part of the screen.

Choose the proper codec


Next, click the box that’s only barely appearing in the Codec Configuration screen.  I don’t know why AVID released software with such a buggy interface but that’s neither here nor there.  Click it.

Buggy Interface


Once you’ve clicked the almost invisible box, the following dropdown will appear.  Choose the profile that’s appropriate for your video.  I record (typically) in 24p with my new t2i.  Sometimes I record in 720p.  If your configuration isn’t there you’ll have to use Neoscene.  Sorry, goodbye.  Have a nice day.  I hate to say it, but 1080p at 30fps isn’t there.  There’s a profile for 720p @ 30fps.   Why is this?  I have no idea.  Back to it.

Anyway, since I record in 24p, I’m going to choose the option that says 1080p/23.976 DNxHD 175 10-bit (best quality).  Once you’ve made your choice, click “OK.”

Choose the Correct Profile!


After clicking “OK,” you’ll be back at the “Movie Exporter” screen.  Make sure your quality slider is at 100%.   Make sure your frame size matches your video. Uncheck “Interlaced Scaling.” Finally, click the button in the lower right that’s labeled “To Batch.”

Choose Proper Options


After you’ve followed the above steps all that’s left is to click “Go” on the last screen.

Click Go!


Open up Sony Vegas (or whatever program you’re using) and edit your files. If you don’t know how to render them, ask me and I’ll tell you.


14 responses to “How to Transcode .mov Files

  1. I was wondering about all of this. Now I know and can perfect it on my end. Thanks for all the instruction Eric. Great job!!!

  2. Hi,

    I tried this – it seemed to work, and MOV files transcoded played back smoothly in Vegas 9 Pro.

    Once I added transitions, or overlapped two clips, the playback became jerky. Perhaps my vegas settings are incorrect?

    • Hey Sam,

      I replied to you on dpreview. I see that you checked all your Vegas settings.

      I know that when I’ve made a mistake in my project settings the preview is messed up. Since you’ve already checked all your project settings I’m not sure what the deal is.

      When using the Avid DNxHD codec and MPEG Streamclip . . . it’s important to check your settings. Be sure you’re choosing the profile that matches your source video. It’s also important (sounds stupid) to know what you’re shooting (obviously). I’m shooting 23.976fps at 1920 x 1080 on my t2i. I choose that profile in MPEG Streamclip and I make sure “Interlaced” is unchecked. I make sure the resolution matches in the “Movie Exporter” screen.

      In Vegas, same thing. I posted screenshots at dpreview which I know you already saw. So . . . I’m really stumped. It should work; you have a capable computer. I haven’t tried Neoscene, but you shouldn’t need it. What you have should work. The only real difference between your setup and mine is that I’m currently using the latest trial from Vegas and I’m just using the Platinum version, not the pro version.

  3. Thanks so much for this post & the Vegas screenshots on dpreview as well! I’m not new to photography & post workflow, but like many others who have just purchased the T2i, video post is new to me. This information is an excellent starting point, so now I have something to work with & learn more about. Thanks again!

  4. Hi I tried converting the files. The files are stored as .mov only. and also when I pull them into vegas, I’m not seeing any video at all. I can hear Audio and black screen in preview. Please advice. what could be the problem.
    Mine is vegas pro 9.0 c

  5. Hi,
    I tried following your method above.When I try opening any mts file using File->Open Files I get “File open error: unsupported file type”

    I click on “open anyway”.After that when I click on File->”Export to QuickTime”, I get “Error: can’t read the frame size”

    What shall I do ?Is there any other free alternative to mpeg streamclip(other than ffmpeg) that I can convert mts to dnxhd with?Thanks

  6. I am the same guy who posted the comment immediately above.My video resolution is 1920*1080 29.970i.Basically I am trying to edit the video in sony vegas.Can I convert my mts file to dnxhd in sony vegas.I cannot see any option of exporting the file in dnxhd format in sony vegas,the highest mov file resolution for exporting is 3 mbps

  7. It?s really a cool and useful piece of information. I?m satisfied that you just shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Awesome tutorial, I am no trying, I wish if you can make a rendering tutorial of Adobe after Effect, it will really help.
    Thank you in advance.

  9. I’m having the same problem as Mahesh, I’m only getting audio. What do I need to do?

  10. Hey man, it 22:15 at night and you really just saved my bacon with this. very much appreciated – ta.

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