Friday, June 23, 2017

Progress on an Open Source Software Transcoding Solution


I have been looking for a transcoding solution in software that is professional enough to use for my various purposes. Previously I was using Canopus Procoder 2/3, but Canopus was bought by Greenvalley, which was bought by Thompson, which is now called Technicolor and the product is discontinued. When I last looked at Handbrake, which was a few years ago, it only seemed to be available for the Mac and was too consumer oriented for my needs.

But to my amazement, Handbrake is also available in GUI form for Windows and in command line form for Linux. It is open source and available from France where it is apparently legal to have MP3/MP4/MP2 codecs built into your free software.

Using it on Windows, I have done preliminary tests and it seems to be acceptable. I wont know where the feature gaps are until I use it more. But to begin with, I have been able to excerpt one minute of footage from a high resolution 2 hour mp4 and convert it to various formats and resolutions.

Although it clearly does not give access to all the video features that Canopus Procoder 2/3 did, it does allow you access to some and I wont know if this is sufficient or limiting until I use it a lot more.

It does not appear to have any malware or annoying advertisements.

I wish to emphasize how important the “open source” quality of this software matters to me. Those with money do not need to worry about a product disappearing, they can always buy something else. Those without money need to worry about whether a tool they choose for their work will continue to exist and be available. Open source software, although far from being a panacea for professionals and artists at least has the quality that it is unlikely to just disappear.

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