Talk about starting the week with a challenge! I hope by sharing how I spent a large slab of Monday morning dealing with the mysteries of video file formats and video editing I can help someone who might be facing similar challenges.

Probably nothing to see here for video editing experts.

The background is that yesterday I took a video of champion surfer Taj Burrow, competing in the Quiksilver Pro championships at nearby Snapper Rocks. I used a Samsung Digimax L85 digital camera, which saved the file in .avi format.

This morning, wanting to do a little editing, basically just trimming a bit off the end of the clip, I tried using Windows Movie Maker, Sony Vegas 7.0 and even, as supplied with the camera, Samsung’s Digimax Master. No success with any of these. I could run the video but not edit it.

A Google search turned up a neat online tool, MediaConverter.

This uses a simple five step process.

  1. file selection
  2. new file type
  3. additional options
  4. conversion
  5. download

Helpfully, there are three options for the file selection:

  • Convert a video directly from various portals
  • Convert a video or music by url (http, ftp, mms, mmst, mmsh and rtsp)
  • Upload a video, audio or office file from your local hard disk

I converted the .avi file to Windows Media Format (.wmf) and was able then to edit it with Sony Vegas 7.0.

I saved the edited file as a Sony Vegas file (.veg) and then went to render the file for publishing. Seeing a huge array of file format options, I did an online search to discover what would be the most suitable format for uploading to YouTube.

I found the amusing video below:


Taking the advice offered in the video, I then chose for my surfing video the option Sony AVC/AAC(.mp4), which is identified as having the following properties:

Audio: 128 Kbps, 48,000 Hz, AAC.
Video: 512 Kbps, 29.970 fps, 320×240

Close enough to the specifications in the instructional video.

My first surfing video has now been completed and uploaded.