Size is relative in video files

So, I have a video file from a presentation by one of our faculty. It’s a video recording in the Apple Quicktime .mov format. Quicktime is not always available on Windows PCs unless the user goes out and gets it.

And it’s big. Over 14 GB.

So, I can’t get it to save to a catalog record for downloading in Sierra, and it’s too big to burn to a DVD. Yes, I tried both, even though I didn’t have much hope. It’s only 17 minutes long, but MOV makes for a big file.

So, I tried VLC player to convert it to .avi format which would work on Windows Media Player and on VLC, but VLC is erratic in conversion results – I kept getting the video with no sound with various settings.

Next, I checked the web, and the free websites that convert wouldn’t do a file that large for free.

So, I tried VideoGrabber. Had to download a piece of software, but that got a file that is still too large to save to the catalog record (485,427 KB) but would burn to a DVD. I threw in the PowerPoint presentation with it on the disc and burned it.

I don’t expect much use off campus, so I didn’t catalog it on OCLC. It’s an interesting presentation, though, and gives some original insight into Beethoven’s work. We are glad to be able to keep material like this in the library.

I also make a point of saving such files to our network drive so they will be backed up elsewhere. Just in case.

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DVD-R formats and how we can play them

We have faculty who, quite reasonably, don’t see why they cannot play DVDs in the DVD drives of their computers.  Easy to explain, not easy for logical people to understand: they have the hardware but they don’t have the software for it.

Oh, sure, we have Windows Media Player included in Windows….

However, Windows Media Player (WMP) does not come with a decoder, so it cannot play DVDs.  Microsoft will tell you this.  They link to vendors who will sell you a decoder program, of course.

Some of the freeware I’ve used in the past require you to dig into the DVD and select a specific file to play.  That may or may not start where you want, and it’s not what most users want.  Or, you can go find a codec for free that will enable WMP to handle DVDs, and use a little program to tell WMP where you put the codec file.  All techy-type stuff most people don’t want to mess with, and who can blame them?

So, I went searching again, since we’re getting a lot of DVD-R format discs from DVD vendors (example: Films for the Humanities), and I wanted something simple for faculty to use, and for our IT staff to install quickly.  And frankly, I’m a little nervous about things like iTunes and Quicktime as malware attack vectors.

I found one called MPlayer which sends you to SourceForge to download it with a GUI front end called SMPlayer, which only requires you to specify the DVD drive to use — and it has a button to let it go test for the proper drive itself.

So far, it’s the simplest freeware answer (I don’t do payware answers because I’m not paid to buy software — and that is not a solicitation).

Any other extremely simple (as in “for people who don’t understand computers”) software that is suggested, I am open to take a look.