How to Convert Raw Video Files

by David Wayne

To fit very large video files on disks and websites, encoding software must convert the raw video to compressed formats. For a video you'll watch on a DVD player, use an MPEG-2-conversion program to convert the video. The University of Texas website states that video-encoders reduce the size of video files by separating the color information from the brightness and removing some of the color information. Codec algorithms also reduce file sizes by altering frame rate information.

Converting Software

Step 1

Install the video-converting software from the CD or by double-clicking the icon in your "Downloads" folder. Run the software or restart your computer before running the program.

Step 2

Import your raw video file from the "File" menu in the program. If the video is from a camcorder, transfer the video to the computer via Firewire.

Step 3

Choose which type of encoding to use under the "Settings" menu or the graphic user interface, depending on the program you're running. The more you compress the file, the more information the encoder will remove from it.

Start the encoding process. Converting raw video can take a while, and you should start the process when you're planning to leave the computer to avoid competing with other software for computer resources.

Video Capture Card

Step 1

Turn off your computer and open the side panel if you want to use a capture card. The software that comes with the card will encode the raw video it records.

Step 2

Insert the capture card in a PCI slot, or plug it into a USB slot without opening the computer, if you have an external interface. Install the drivers from the install disk.

Step 3

Connect the video outputs from your source video to the capture card with an S-Video cable. Connect the audio with composite cable. Run the capturing software and press "Record" or "Capture."

Press "Play" on your source video. After recording your raw video, compress it by choosing which format to use when you save the file. Give your file a descriptive name you'll remember later.


  • According to the University of Texas website, the MPEG-4 format has the lowest data rate of all the MPEG formats at 64 kilobits per second because its purpose is to stream over the internet.

Items you will need

  • Video-converting software
  • Video-editing software
  • Video capture card
  • Capturing software
  • S-Video cable
  • Composite cable

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