Category Archives: 64 bit

How to Transcode .mov Files using Matrox Codecs

Not too long ago, I posted an article on how to transcode .mov files from a Canon t2i using Avid’s DNxHD codec. Overall, that was a good solution (and still is) but I think I’ve found a solution I like more.

I noticed on Eugenia’s blog that she discovered a way to trancode .mov files using the recently released Matrox codecs. The solution works, but it’s very cumbersome for the average user (no offense intended; I’ve learned much from reading Eugenia’s blog). I’ve discovered a significantly simpler (and less time-consuming) solution (in my opinion) with the help of a professional videographer who prefers me not to use his name.

This solution should be appropriate for anyone looking for an excellent intermediate format for editing in Sony Vegas or another non-linear video editing program (NLE). It’s fast, easy and free.

A couple quick words (before I start) on why transcoding for editing is a good idea.

There are different codecs for different purposes. There are capture codecs (H.264, AVCHD, etc.). They encode fast but decode slow. Thus, they’re excellent for capturing but terrible for playback. There are editing codecs (DNxHD, Matrox, Cineform) which create large files but which don’t lose much information during the color grading / editing processes. Then there are delivery codecs which compress efficiently while maintaining visual quality. These files are high quality and small.

Professionals will transcode for each step of the process, unless they shoot something at four o’ clock and they need to roll out a finished product by five o’ clock. But to maintain optimal quality, transcoding for each step is necessary. It is often possible to edit .mov files directly, but if you do much color grading and editing you’ll end up with a far inferior product than if you’d transcoded to an appropriate intermediate format.

O.K. There’s my reasoning (mostly given to me by my friend, the professional videographer). So let’s get started on this tutorial.

First, you’re going to need two items. You’ll need Prism Video Converter (free version) and you’ll need the Matrox codecs. Be sure to use my link. Don’t google it or you’re likely to end up with an older version of the codecs. That’s all you’ll need.

If you have any problems, you may need to download a few other things, but for now, let’s start with the two previous items. Download and install the items. Start up Prism Video Converter. You’ll see the following screen.

Prism Video Converter

Click on “Add Files” in the upper left and select the videos you want to transcode. It’s easy to select multiple videos at once by holding down the “Ctrl” button on your keyboard while clicking each video clip you want. After you’ve selected the clips you want, click “Open.”

Select Your Videos

Next, you’ll want to change the “Output Format” to “avi.” Since this tutorial is primarily focused on making intermediate files that will play nicely with Sony Vegas, it’s important to create .avi files. Why? Sony Vegas likes .avi files and gets along with them, that’s why.

Output Format

Now it’s time to set the “Encoder Options.” Be sure that your “Video Compressor” is set to “Matrox MPEG-2 I-frame HD” and set your “Sound Format” to “48000 Hz, 16 bits, stereo.”

Encoder Options

Before closing out your encoder options, click on “Video Compression Settings.” Set your data rate to whatever you’d like (I use the maximum, but that really is overkill; 150MB/sec is a good starting point) and set the frame rate to match your source file.

Video Compression Settings

Under “Video Options” set the size to match your source file. You shouldn’t have to do this, but if you happen to get an error message when converting, this is something you can try. Tick “resize video” (even though we aren’t really re-sizing). Tick “shrink or enlarge the video to the selected size.” Untick “constrain proportions” and then type in the numbers to match your source file (e.g., 1920×1080). Then re-tick “constrain proportions.”

Video Options

Click the “Browse” button (lower right) to choose your output folder. I typically choose the desktop because it’s a nice temporary location. Remember, we’ll be deleting these files after we edit them. There’s no need to save these monstrous intermediate files.

Set Your Output Folder

You can now click “Preview” if you’d like. It’s an optional step. What it does is convert the first few seconds of the video and place the clip into your output folder. If you get any errors at this point it’s time to try something else. It’s a good idea to try this step before converting a huge batch of files.

Preview

If you don’t run into any errors during preview, it’s now time to hit “Convert.” Prism will do it’s thing and you’ll end up with some quite large Matrox .avi files on your desktop. You’re now ready to edit!

Convert

If you do run into errors, don’t panic. There’s something else to try. Go to “Options” then click on the “Conversions” tab. Under “Decoder Options” tick the box that says, “Use FFMPEG decoder (try this if you are having problems converting or playing the file).” Try converting again. If you still continue getting errors, this is where things can get dicey.

If you’ve tried all the above and you still can’t convert your files, you probably have a codec issue. Either you have codecs you shouldn’t have or you don’t have codecs that you should have. You can try downloading ffdshow tryouts, installing it (stick with the defaults), then attempting this process again. I typically don’t like codec packs and avoid them whenever possible. I’m running Windows 7 without any codec packs. The only extra codecs I’ve installed at this point are the Matrox codecs. If all else fails, you can try re-installing Windows (you should do that once in a while anyway). It’ll make your computer run like new and alleviate any codec problems that you may have inadvertently created.

Not too long ago I could not get this method to work. I couldn’t get any of my files to convert – no matter what. I finally installed ffdshow and only then would Prism convert my files. But without ffdshow it simply would not work. Over the course of the last year I’ve downloaded lots of different codecs for this reason or that reason. I also tried a few different codec packs. Over time, I collected a lot of conflicting codecs and codec packs. Simply uninstalling them didn’t fix my problems. The solution? I re-installed Windows and only installed the codecs I absolutely needed. For now, the only additional codecs on my computer are the Matrox VFW codecs. That’s it. And now this solution works flawlessly every time.

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Adobe Flash – 64 Bit

I’ve been off the blogosphere for a while.  Sorry.  Like anyone cares.

But something’s been bugging me lately.  It’s like a splinter in my mind.  What is it?  It’s Adobe’s inexplicable inability to produce a version of Flash that works with a 64 bit browser.

64 bit operating systems and hardware have been around for years.  Technology’s supposed to be moving forward.  Shucks, even HP provides a 64 bit version of their drivers for my printer.  Adobe, did you know that Windows 7 is out?  Did you know that some computer companies (like Puget Systems) install 64-bit versions of Windows on their new computers?  You have to request something different if you don’t want it.  And why wouldn’t you want it?  It’s the 21st century!  We’ve been in a 32-bit environment long enough.  We can do thing better; we can do things faster. 

So we get our fancy new computer home, we fire up Internet Explorer (the 64-bit version of course; we’d fire up Firefox if we could but they’re behind the 8-ball too) and we try to watch a video on nba.com but nothing happens.  Why?  Because the defacto software for viewing animations on the Internet won’t move forward with the rest of the world.  Come on, Adobe.  Quit trying to cripple our Internet experience.

 

ERUNT – Free Registry Backup & Restore

ERUNT (Emergency Recovery Utility NT) backs up and restores your registry – completely and quickly.  Despite its name, it works with XP and Vista (32 or 64-bit).  My guess is that it’ll work fine with Windows 7 as well.

I don’t necessarily recommend everyone do this, but I turn off System Restore and use ERUNT instead.  It’s quicker and doesn’t fail (like System Restore can) if registry files are corrupt.

Windows Restore points are connected to previous points.  If one is corrupt or missing, System Restore won’t work.  ERUNT registry backups exist independently of one another.

If you decide to use ERUNT, remember, it doesn’t automatically create a backup when you do something that might harm your registry.  You’ll have to remember to run it before doing such things.

Not everyone hates System Restore, but I do.  I’ve tried using it a few times – and it’s failed me every time.

PDF XChange Viewer – Free PDF Reader for 64-bit Windows

Sick of Adobe Reader?  Do you wish you had an alternative?  Well, you do.

It’s called PDF XChange Viewer.  It’s free.  Small.  Fast.  Simple.  There’s a 64-bit version.  There’s also a portable version (meaning you don’t have to install it; e.g., it’ll work off your thumb drive).

What are you waiting for?  Uninstall the bloated software and get the good stuff.

Get PDF XChange Viewer here.

Codecs Package for Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit)

Have you ever clicked on a video just to see it play without sound?  I have.  Then I spend 20 minutes finding a program that will play the file.  For other less techy people (like my parents – sorry, Mom & Dad), if the file doesn’t play, it either goes in the recycle bin or never gets watched.

For those of us who’ve upgraded to Windows 7, avoiding such nuisances is a thing of the past.

Sharky’s Windows 7 Codecs solves the problem elegantly.  Download the file, install it, and any audio or video file you attempt to play will play as it should, in most any media player.  It doesn’t mess with the default Windows codecs, so you don’t have to worry about messing anything up.  For more advanced users, you’ll find that there are a variety of configuration options, but for the non-techy people, don’t worry about it!  Just install it and play your media files.

Keep in mind that the program automatically uninstalls other popular codec packages.

If you have a 64-bit version of Windows 7, you can install the x64 Components addon on top of the 32-bit installation.

This program is 100% free.  Thanks, Sharky.

HWMonitor – Monitor Your System’s Hardware

HWMonitor allows you to see your system’s core health indicators:  temperatures, voltages, and fan speeds.

It’s free, portable (doesn’t have to be installed), and useful.  What more could you ask for? I guess you could ask for a 64-bit version too.  Oh, there is one.  Cool.  From the makers of CPU-Z.

Get it here.

Recover Lost or Deleted Files for Free – Recuva

Ouch.  You contracted a nasty virus and lost some important files.  So what?

You emptied your recycle bin and didn’t realize your only wedding video was in there.  So sorry.

You ran a copy of your super computer fixer and a bunch of your high priority files were permanently deleted.  Nice job!

Well, you’re in luck.  Welcome to the wonderful world of Recuva.  Sure, there are other file recovery programs out there, but this one’s simple and effective.  Oh, and did I mention it’s free?  Oh yes, it’s also portable (you don’t have to install it).  And it work superbly on 64-bit systems (as a 32-bit program).  So, to all the intelligent, generous people out there in Recuva-ville, “thank you” from all of us idiots who accidentally delete important files.

Get Recuva here (I recommend the zipped file – the portable version).