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Multimedia Editing
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They say necessity is the mother of all inventions and learning experiences, I too am no different from that. Sometimes we learn good things and sometimes we learn the bad things also. OK! OK! before I turn preachy let me say that what all this article is about. It is about creating smaller sized videos for internet sharing and more than one movie in a single 700 MB CD.

The intresting story behind this new learning experience is driven by my passion for this Nagarjuna & Tabu starrer Telugu movie - "Ninne Pelladtha". It was released when I was on my first year of Engg and I saw it with my Andhra friends only to fell in love with that movie instantly. I have been searching for the VCD of that movie for a very long time in Chennai & Coimbatore, but I accidentaly found it here in a video library. While taking a copy there was this problem that second VCD couldn't be copied because of larger size than a conventional CD. So I had to find out ways to compress it and to my amazement I found that there are more than one format available for having smaller video size with almost similiar resolution and clarity.
When we "explore" the VCD we will find the movie part in MPEGAV folder in "*.DAT" format. Normally our Windows media Player doesn't recognise this DAT format as such. So we have to drag the files to WMP to view them.

I. Creating the Media file:-
The compression tools mostly support wide range of video formats like MPEG, AVI, Quicktime & so on. So your first step towards making smaller size movie starts with the creation of readable video file from VCD's DAT file. This can be done with the help of a software called "VCD gear" available at VCD Gear HomePage. Just download (2.4 MB) and "unzip" the file to a folder, create a shortcut on desktop to the "VCD Gear" exe file.
1. Click the VCD gear button
2. Choose dat->mpeg option from the drop down box.
3. "Load" the DAT file
4. Give the destination name and file, press "Start" and you go! All it takes is 5 minutes per VCD.
5. You'll find the MPEG format of the video at the destination.
6. Repeat the same procedure for the second part of the movie also.

II. Converting to other format
As said before, there are many formats available like DivX, Windows Media Video (WMV), MPG that support smaller sizes. Some conversion softwares are avaialble but comes with a price tag. From the freeware & free plugins like Virtual Dub, the "proper" procedures to create them with available plugins is bit cumbersome to explain and you can find it in this page:-
Nicky Digital Solutions Page which served as my first source of tutorial on this topic. But to keep things simple, I prefer to "join" both the video files and I decide on output what format it should be. You will need this free software called "MediaJoin (3.6 MB)" from MystikMedia. To convert a single file, I suggest you create an empty file of small clip of 10 seconds by using VCD clipper (discussed later) and "join" them.
1. Cick "Add" button and choose the video file to join.
2. Repeat the same procedure for selecting the second & subsequent parts of the video.
3. Click "Join" and you'll be prompted with the Output configuration. Choose the desired format (which one to choose will be discussed later at this article) and name the output & destination.
If the chosen parts are video, then you have the choices of "WMV", "AVI", ":MPEG-I" and "MPEG-II"



Which format is better?
There is nothing like that one particular format is the best and is subjected to individual perceptions. As far as I am concerned I am very much biased towards the WMV format, that offers excellent resolution video with the relatively smaller size than AVI or MPEG.

If you choose WMV format, the best suggested configuration goes like this. You can always try with various given configurations, but based on my experience, best choices go like these.

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