Home > Mac administration > Using VLC to convert unplayable Quicktime movies

Using VLC to convert unplayable Quicktime movies

We received an unusual ticket this morning. One of our users had a Quicktime movie file that was playing fine on his 10.4.11 Mac, but was not in the PowerPoint he was creating in his new MacBook Air running Lion.

On investigation, the problem looked clear. The Quicktime movie was using the Quicktime 7 XVid codec. While the codec was still working with Quicktime 7 on Lion, PowerPoint was tapping into Quicktime X, which refused to work with the codec. Meanwhile, efforts to export it from Quicktime 7 were failing. At that point, I remembered that VLC could play XVid-encoded movies. Could it export them too? It turned out that VLC could. See below the jump for the details.

Fortunately, VLC 2.0′s Streaming/ Exporting Wizard option was up to the task but it took some trial and error to export a file that Quicktime X was happy with. Here’s what finally worked:

1. Launch your VLC player.

2. In VLC’s File menu, select Streaming/ Exporting Wizard.


Screen Shot 2012-03-06 at 8.00.33 PM


3. Select Transcode/ Save to file.

Screen Shot 2012-03-06 at 8.01.13 PM

4. In the Choose Input window, click the Select a stream radio button. Next, click the Choose… button and select the file you need to convert.

Screen Shot 2012-03-06 at 8.52.12 PM

5. In the Transcode window, set the options below.

Screen Shot 2012-03-06 at 8.10.34 PM

A. Check the Transcode video checkbox. Next, select MPEG-4 for the codec settings and set 3072 for the Bitrate (kb/s) settings.

B. Set what you desire for audio (the clip I was working with did not have a soundtrack)

6. In the Encapsulation format window, select MPEG 4/ MP4.

Screen Shot 2012-03-06 at 8.10.42 PM

7. In the Additional transcode options window, click Choose… to save the file where you want it. Also, check Local Playback so that you can monitor the conversion’s progress.

Screen Shot 2012-03-06 at 8.20.36 PM

8. In the Summary window, make sure the options are set the way you want then click the Finish button.

Screen Shot 2012-03-06 at 8.20.41 PM

9. The local playback window should now appear and display the file you’re converting.

Screen Shot 2012-03-06 at 8.04.10 PM

10. The converted file should appear shortly thereafter in your desired destination.

Categories: Mac administration
  1. Veronica Andre
    September 9, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Great! Thanks!!

  2. david shalev
    September 29, 2013 at 3:43 am

    I was excited to find your solution but alas, the encapsulation format screen greys out all options below asf, including mp4. I definitely entered the transcode page correctly. Any suggestions?

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