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Thursday, September 18, 2008

How to convert and edit an animoto video using free software.





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Animoto is great and probably the best online tool polybore has ever found online. OK so you have created your awesome animoto video but for whatever reason you would like to edit it. In my case I wanted to add an ident (or logo) to the start of the video so when I shared it online I could promote my blog.

Of course you can just add your logo to the animoto video but you don't have any control over how they will turn out in the finished article. Anyway I had created a 3d animated logo using Blender and was desperate to show it off. You can see it in action here http://www.watchblogvideos.com/2008/09/i-avatar.html

When you download your completed animoto video you get it in .mp4 format. Now, I don't have a utility capable of editing .mp4 files, so I needed a way to convert it from .mp4 to another format. As usual polybore went looking for a free solution to editing his animoto videos.

UPDATE: Just tried this recently after a bit of a break. It seems Animoto have changed something about their .mp4 downloads because polybore’s original way of editing animoto videos no longer works (although it still works with animoto .mp4 files from when polybore first wrote this). Not to worry have found a new way of doing it.  You need this http://www.pazera-software.com/products/mp4-to-avi-converter/

Be careful when downloading it. don't hit the largest download button, it is an add for something else. The download button you want is smaller and blue. Be patient the download ite tries to sell you stuff, ignore all that and you will get pazera in the end. Pazera does not need to be installed just extract the zip folder then click the mp4toavi.exe file and you are in business. Use ADD FILES from the top black toolbar, select the one you want and then hit CONVERT. Thats it.


Here is what I came up with.  I downloaded MP4Cam2AVI_v2.71 from sourceforge.net . This program is designed for converting camera video files from a variety of formats (including .mp4) to .avi so is perfect for our purposes. MP4Cam2AVI is straight forward to use and fairly well documented. When you use it don't be put off by the fact the preview window will not work with MPEG4 4AC files, the conversion will still work fine. Just make sure that "audio format" is set to PCM (uncompressed).

Once converted to .avi it was a simple matter to use Windows Movie Maker to join my clip to the animoto video. Of course you could also use Movie Maker to edit the animoto video as well by spliting it into frames. Polybore is not a fan of Quicktime, I like VLC a lot but I find that .wmv provides maximum compatibility e.g. when I send the animoto video to relatives. Why should I expect them to install Quicktime or VLC?

Let me know if you have found another way of doing this.