Do you need to convert some videos to MP4 format to play them smoothly on portable devices, such as iPhone, iPad and Android terminals, but you don't know how to do it? Do you want to create backups of some DVD movies by "ripping" them to compressed video, and would like some advice on the best applications to use? No problem, I can give you all the explanations you need with this tutorial.
So, take five minutes of your free time (actually, a little bit more since we're talking about video processing) and try an MP4 converter among the ones I'm going to recommend. They are all free and extremely easy to use, even for those who, like you, are not exactly a "geek". There are both for Windows and Mac (as well as for Ubuntu) and regardless of the OS the end result is always guaranteed. If the movie you want to work on is not, let's say, particularly heavy, you can also make use of special tools accessible directly via the Web, in the form of online services or browser apps. In short, the choice is yours.
Well? May I know what you're still doing standing there? Position yourself comfortably in front of your computer, locate the resource that you think is best for you among those I'm about to show you and follow the instructions. I am sure that at the end you will be happy and satisfied with what you have learned. Good reading and, obviously, good "work".
The first MP4 converter I want to invite you to consider is HandBrake. It is a program available for both Windows and Mac (as well as Ubuntu) that is free, reliable and easy to use. It is open source in nature and allows you to make videos optimized for all Android and Apple devices (but not only) in a handful of clicks. In short, try it now and you'll see that you won't regret it.
To download it to your computer, go to its official website and click on the red Download HandBrake x.x.x button in the middle. Once the download is complete, if you are using Windows, open the .exe file and click on Yes, Next, I Agree, Install and Finish. Then open the program by double-clicking on the icon that has been added to your desktop.
If you are using a Mac, open the dmg image you just downloaded and drag the HandBrake icon to the Applications folder of macOS. Then right-click on it and select Open twice in a row to open the program and bypass Apple's restrictions on unauthorized developers.
Once the program's window appears on the screen, drag and drop the video you want to convert into the window and make sure the MP4 option is selected in the Format: drop-down menu. If you need to make videos to be played on Apple or Android terminals, expand the Presets/Toggle Presets menu located in the upper right part of the HandBrake toolbar and select the name of the device where the video will be played (e.g. iPhone, iPad, Android) from it.
Finally, use the Browse button at the bottom to select the location on your computer where you want to save the output file and click the Start button at the top left corner to start the conversion process.
If you need to "rip" a DVD, click on Handbrake's Open Source... button in the upper left corner and select the DVD drive of your computer. Wait for the software to examine the contents of the disc, select the title you want to convert to MP4 from the Title: drop-down list (the longest one, for movies) and proceed with the conversion as we have just seen.
Please note that by default Handbrake does not support DVDs with copy protection. However there is a way to bypass this restriction and "rip" protected floppy disks as well. It involves downloading this file if you are using a 32 bit system or this other file if you are using a 64 bit system. Then change its name to libdvdcss.dll and move it to the C:Program FilesHandbrake folder.
If you are using a Mac, you can bypass the copy-protected DVD restriction by downloading this file, opening it (right-click on its icon and select Open from the menu that appears) and following the installation wizard.
Another very good resource you can use to convert your videos to MP4 format is Adapter. Never heard of it? That's funny, it is one of the most popular software of its kind. Anyway, no problem, let's fix it right away. It is a free program available for both Windows and Mac that is capable of converting all major video file formats to MP4 and more. It has a pleasant user interface, is quite intuitive and also integrates several ready-to-use conversion profiles.
To use it, first connect to the official website and click on the Download Adapter button at the top of the page. Once the download is finished, if you are using Windows, open the .exe file, click on Yes, then on Next and select the option I accept the agreement then click on Next six times, then on Install and then on Finish.
Keep in mind that during the installation process FFMPEG and VLC will also be downloaded and installed on your PC (if they are not already present on Windows, of course), they are practically indispensable for the proper functioning of the program.
If you're using a Mac, open the .dmg package you just downloaded and drag the icon of the software into the Applications folder of macOS through the window that opened on the desktop. Then go to the Applications folder using the Finder, right-click on the Adapter icon and choose Open twice in order to launch the program, bypassing Apple's restrictions on non-blessed developers.
Then click on the Continue button and wait a few moments for the free FFMPEG application necessary for the converter to be downloaded from the Internet.
Now, regardless of the operating system you use, drag the videos you want to convert to MP4 to the program's window on your desktop, click the Video drop-down list at the bottom center, select General and then Custom MP4 and click the Convert button. By default, the converted file will be saved in the Videos folder on Windows and in the Movies folder on Mac.
If it is your intention to create a movie optimized specifically for a device, go to the drop-down menu at the bottom center and select the option most congenial to you in the Video section (e.g. Tablets for tablets, Sony for Sony branded devices, Misc cell phones for smartphones and so on).
Please note that through the sidebar on the right you can adjust, if you think it is appropriate, several parameters related to the movie, such as bitrate, resolution, etc.. I recommend, however, intervene on these settings only if you know where to put your hands, otherwise you run the risk of irreparably ruining the final file.
Another excellent MP4 converter (and not only) for Windows operating systems that you can use as an alternative to the resources already mentioned is SUPER. This is a free program that supports all types of files and that comes with countless options and customization parameters. Given its features, it is probably one of the most powerful tools in its category. Its operation is a bit more articulated than the resources we have already reviewed but nothing that is out of your reach, don't worry.
You ask me how to use it? I'll tell you right now. First, visit the download page of the program and click on the link Start Downloading SUPER that you find at the bottom of the screen. Then click on the second item SUPER © setup file installer that is at the bottom of the new page and wait a few moments for the downloading of the software to start and finish.
Then launch the .exe file and click Yes, OK and Next. Then select I accept the terms of the license agreement and click Next three more times, click Install, Next again and finish the setup by clicking Finish.
Click OK in response to the warning you see on the screen and within a few moments you will be in the main program window. Now, drag the video you want to convert to MP4 to the DROP VALID MULTIMEID FILE HERE at the bottom of the screen and make sure that the MP4 option is selected in the first menu at the top left (otherwise you can do it yourself). Then click on the SAVE /CLOSE button located in the upper left corner of the window with the information about the file just chosen that will open.
If you want, adjust the other two adjacent menus for video and audio codecs as you see fit (if you're not particularly familiar with what to do, you can leave everything as it is) and then intervene, if you see fit, on the items attached to the Video and Audio sections below, choosing the options that best suit you. For example, you can adjust the bitrate, the 3D mode, you can choose to disable the audio etc..
To conclude and to start the conversion process, press the Encode (Active Files) button at the bottom and wait for the process to start and finish. You will be able to follow the whole procedure through the progress bar at the bottom of the screen. The converted MP4 file will be saved in the same location as the original one.
Video Converter (Chrome)
Did you know that even Google's browser can turn into a performance MP4 video converter? No, well now you know about it. You ask me how? Simple: just use Video Converter, a no-cost app for Chrome that, as you can easily guess from its name, allows you to convert any video format directly and conveniently from the browser window, in just a few clicks.
To use it, open Chrome on your computer and visit the section dedicated to the extension in the Chrome Web Store. Click on the Add button and then on the Add app button in response to the warning that appears at the top.
Once the extension is installed, type chrome://apps/ in Chrome's address bar, hit the Enter key on your keyboard and select the apple app icon installed in your browser to launch it.
Then press the Open File button and select the video you want to convert to MP4 on your computer (the maximum size allowed is 2GB). If you have saved the video you want to work on Dropbox or Google Drive or if it is online, you can get it directly from there by clicking the corresponding buttons and providing the required data.
Make sure that mp4 is selected under the Video tab below (and if not, you can do it yourself), choose your preferred resolution from the Resolution drop-down menu (by default, the same resolution as the source file) and press the Settings button if you want to access the advanced options (you can change the video and audio codecs and adjust the size of the final file).
To finish, click on the Convert button at the bottom. Once the conversion procedure is finished, the video will be downloaded automatically. If you haven't made any changes to Chrome's default settings, it will be saved in the Downloads folder on Windows or Mac.
As I told you at the beginning of this guide, if you don't want to or can't download new programs on your computer, you can use a nice MP4 converter that works directly online, as in the case of Convertio. In fact, it is a free and easy-to-use web application that is able to fulfill the purpose in question by allowing you to upload videos to be edited directly from your computer or from the Web or even from supported cloud storage services. The only thing you have to take into account is that you can upload files with a size equal to or less than 100 MB, so you can only use it for rather short and "light" videos.
To use it, go to the main page of Convertio and press the From a computer button to select the video saved on your computer that you want to convert. If your file is online, select the Dropbox, Google Drive or chain icon to upload the movie from one of the aforementioned cloud storage services or from the Web by providing the corresponding link.
Then select from the drop-down menu at the right hand side first the Video item and then the MP4 item and click the Convert button at the bottom and wait for the video to be uploaded to Convertio's servers and the conversion process to be started and completed. Then press the Download button to save the file on your computer.
If, instead of saving the converted video file on your computer, you prefer to store it on Dropbox or Google Drive, before starting the conversion press the corresponding buttons at the bottom of the page, specify the destination location and you're done.