Newsletter #22 - Oct 9, 2004
Maker 2 and Photo Story 2
About: Rad Video
Newsletter #13 began coverage of
selected utilities used with Movie Maker to do
specialized tasks. It covered IrfanView and newsletters
since have focused on Paint, Virtual Dub, and
TMPGEnc. Here's another in that series, this one about
Rad Video Tools.
A key reason to use this utility is to bridge the gap from
the world of Apple computers and their QuickTime video files that won't play in
WMP or import into Movie Maker. You can use Rad Video Tools
to convert MOV files into AVI files you can work
And it's not just Apple computers. Many digital
still cameras can record video clips as QuickTime files
with MOV extensions.
Here's the main working window of Rad Video Tools. You can
see that .mov is one of the file types listed.
This utility handles them well. We'll take an overall look at it, and
then do a conversion from .mov to .avi in the mini-tutorial.
RAD Video Tools - Main
Before getting into it more, a
few notes about things going on...
• I enjoy preparing these weekly newsletters and
put more into their preparation than I first envisioned, to the extent that I'm
spending time writing them that perhaps should be going into my next
They've been very well received and the subscriber list
keeps growing, as does my administrative efforts to maintain
it. I need an appropriate way to balance future efforts, and
after lots of thinking decided
Effective immediately, I will no longer
be accepting new free
everyone wants or needs the latest issue as it's released, and
many simply subscribe because it's free. Issue #26 will mark the
half-year anniversary of the publication and the end of the free
subscription issues. There will now be an annual subscription
fee of $20.
lder issues will continue to be archived for free
Regular subscriber - $20 a
year - for active readers who want to receive issues as they
are released, and have access to any special issue-related videos
or downloads. The online material will be maintained for at
least 4 weeks after the issue, but not necessarily beyond that.
Casual reader - free access
to online archived issues... but associated online
items and links will not be maintained.
courtesy subscriber - complimentary for those who have a
professional reason to get issues as they are released.
Rob Morris, who provides a forum for newsletter info and
archives the issues, is the best
this issue goes out, I'm revising the main page of my website to provide
a link to purchase new or
#27 and beyond will be sent only to paid regular and professional
you for your ongoing interest, feedback
A reader of last week's newsletter made this good point
about editing the audio track of a video: "It's a far sight easier,
quicker, and uses less disk space, to record the audio to a WAV file and
equalize it using an audio editing program such as Cool Edit
Pro. The whole process takes less than a minute, and I do it this way
all the time and it's a far sight easier than your overly tedious method.
Perhaps you should try it in future and find out just how much better and
I haven't tried it and maybe I will... there's only one note in
my database about it, going back to an 8/23/02 post that reads:
"Yesterday I downloaded a demo of cool edit. I like what I see,
but the demo is only for a short time. You all talk about Cool Edit a
lot.... but do you all have the $300 program??? Is there something like it
for a LOT less money (free is good)?"
• I'm back preparing newsletters and
doing other work on my Toshiba laptop.... but it's like having done a
'super-restore' and going back 1-1/2 years. Lots of software updates to
catch up to get it where it was when it went into the repair shop a few weeks
I have SP2 on it already so it's up to
MM2.1... interesting that only two filters show up in that new option
tab page. The InterVideo Audio Decoder is unchecked by default, and the
Panasonic DV Video Decoder is checked. The other 40 or so it that I had in
my list when it went off for repairs must have
been from software I had added.... I'll be watching them
come back as I add the software
....on to the topic of the
Rad Video Tools - the big
What is it? here's some info from the
online help info:
The RAD Video Tools are a set of utilities for processing video,
animation, and sound data. They feature both of our video codecs: Bink Video,
our latest 24-bit true-color codec, and Smacker, our 8-bit 256-color codec.
Bink Video is a "better-than-DVD" video codec.
That is, it compresses better than DVD at up to three times the playback speed!
Bink is a hybrid block-transform and wavelet codec that can encode your video
using 16 different compression techniques (wavelet, DCT, motion compensation, a
variety of vector quantizers, Smacker-style, and more). With all of these
techniques in one codec, Bink can handle pretty much any type of video. It also
has a psycho-acoustic based audio codec that is capable of 8 to 1 perceptually
lossless compression, so your audio will sound as good as your video looks!
Smacker is our 256-color compressor for video
and animation. It is used in all aspects of multimedia application design:
cinematics, cut-scenes, video-sprites, transparent videos, single-image
decompression, scrolling video backgrounds, and more. Smacker has been used in
over 2,600 games because it's fast, it's easy-to-license, it has a terrific SDK,
and its video quality is unrivaled in 256 color mode.
Here's the main menu with a file selected to work with.
File name: Select the file you want to
work with. If you just want to play a file, select it and click the
"Play" button. It'll play a version 9 WMV file or
a type I DV-AVI file by opening it in the Windows Media Player.
It'll play an MOV file if you have the Quick Time Player installed. And it
has built in players for Bink and Smacker files.
Files of type: By default, RAD Video Tools will
display all media files, but you can use this pulldown to change the file
selection list. Version 9 WMV files can be
The main menu choices are started
with the buttons at the bottom of the window:
Bink it: Compress your movie with the true-color
Bink codec.... it won't bink a WMV file or a type I DV-AVI
file.... convert the DV-AVI to type II first and it'll work fine....
cancelling the rendering part way through will result in a partial file
that seems to play OK.
Smack it: Compress your video file using the
Smacker codec.... it won't smack a WMV file or a type I
DV-AVI file..... convert to type II and it works fine. Unlike
Bink, cancelling the rendering before it's finished will result in the
partial file being deleted.
Advanced play: Customize settings to
use for playback of the video. Advanced play options are
available only for Bink and Smacker files. If you've
highlighted a Bink file, then the Bink Advanced play screen will open.
Similarly, if you highlight a Smacker file, and hit the "Advanced Play" button,
then the Smacker Advanced play window, which is a little different, will open.
Mix in sound: The Bink or Smacker audio
mixer only opens with a Bink or Smacker file.
You only need to use the audio mixer when you want to replace or add another
audio track to a video file. Normally, you won't have to utilize this feature,
because the compressors will automatically compress the audio track of an AVI or
QuickTime file in with the video frames.
Convert a file: The RAD converter can
convert almost any type of file to another type. For example, you can
convert a bunch of BMPs into an AVI, GIFs into JPEGs, Smackers into flics,
QuickTimes into AVIs, wave files into different sample rates, 24-bit images into
8-bit images, etc.
Analyze file: A visual representation of a Bink
or Smacker file's data rate. Here it's showing info about the sample Bink
file I'll be using in the mini-tutorial.
RAD Video Analysis
List files: You can create a list file by clicking this
button. A list file is a text file that contains a list of other file names that
you want to be treated as one big file. This allows you to compress multiple
input files into one output file.
Batch: Use the batch editor to create a list of tasks
that can be run unattended.
File info: About the highlighted media file.
System info: Displays some information about your
Help: Opens the online Help page.
FAQs: Opens the online Frequently Asked
Mini-Tutorial: Converting an MOV File to
Let's do one exercise with the utility, the main reason for
this issue, converting a QuickTime MOV file to AVI.
I copied an MOV file from another computer, named it
'NewsletterSample' and selected it in the main menu. Then I pressed the 'Convert
a file' button.
Sample MOV File Selected
The output file window pops up, lets you select
the output file type, and choose a number of settings.
I'll just make sure that both video and audio steams are
selected, and not fill in any of the settings.
I'll accept the default settings and tell it to make the output
file an AVI. From there I pressed the 'Convert' button to move on.
When I first tried the conversion button, I got an error
message. I hadn't yet installed the QuickTime player
on my Toshiba laptop, so it didn't have the needed QuickTime
decompression codec. Here's the link I used to get it:
The last time I downloaded it and iTunes, they were different
downloads. Today they are bundled together.... after installing the
package I tried pressing the Convert button again.
This time it worked, giving me a drop down list of choices for
the compression codec. I didn't see the WMV9 option that I usually
pick (guess I need to install the full Windows Media codec package to have the
additional optiongs). I then picked the Microsoft MPEG-4 codec, which also
Choose Codec for the AVI File
After trying a few more, I found a codec that worked -
Microsoft Video 1.
A Conversion Done with the
Microsoft Video 1 Codec
To check the new AVI file, I imported it into Movie Maker 2.1
and previewed it in the collection.
Converted File in MM2.1
It was fine, looking and sounding the same as the
original MOV, and now ready to use in a project.... this finishes the
additional comments about Rad Video
and why would you Bink or Smack a file?...
After Binking or
Smacking a video you can use the Advanced Play options with it... one of which
is to Make EXE, a self contained viewable package, a video file
wrapped in a Bink or Smack player as an executable file. Send it to someone
running Windows 95 and they won't need a newer version of the Windows Media
Player or anything else. I put a copy of a Smacker exe online for you to
check.... see below.
you Bink or Smack a WMV file from Movie Maker? How About a Photo
No, it gives an error
message. You would need to save it as a DV-AVI file (type II) and then use that
to Bink or Smack. It's easy enough to do by opening the WMV in MM1 and
saving it as a DV-AVI file.
are the relative file sizes of DV-AVI, WMV, Bink, and Smack files? And how
long does it take to render?
I made a 10 second
DV-AVI file type II in MM1, using some footage from a nice sunset
a couple weeks ago. The 10 second DV-AVI clip was 38+ MB. From it I made
A high quality (NTSC)
WMV file in MM2 - 2 MB - less than a minute to
A Bink file - 4 MB -
23 minutes to render
A Smack file (256
colors) - 2.8 MB - 9 minutes to render
Once you have the Bink
or Smack file, turning it into a self-contained executable takes
only a split second, and the file size is only slightly larger than the
video file without the player.
The Bink and Smack files
looked and sounded fine....
I put copies of two
files online for you to check and compare:
If you have a Unix, Mac,
Windows NT, Windows 95, etc. computer to test the Smacker file on, I'd
appreciate feedback on how well it works on them.
you can convert an MOV file to AVI, can you use it to convert an AVI file to
No... the MOV file type
is not listed in the drop down list of output file choices when doing a
conversion. If you had a QuickTime encoder on your system, maybe the choice
would be included.
do with Rad Video
• Are there any
other interesting things you
It provides an option to get still
pictures from a video file. BMP and 6 other still picture types
are listed as conversion output file types. I selected BMP with the 10
second sunset clip in it and ended up with 300 pictures at 720x480 pixels, one
from each frame. You can specify a range of frames from ___ to ___ if you
And you can do the flip
side, taking a series of still pictures and convert them into a video
or animation file.... selecting the first frame of a numbered series and
pressing the button to convert the file results in this message
I said Yes and it worked
fine, rendering an AVI from the still pictures... with no audio of
That's as far as this tutorial goes. Some closing
This is the first project I
did with my repaired Toshiba laptop.... having it back with bare bones
minimal software helped me appreciate the need for the codec from
the QuickTime Player.
When a computer is well outfitted, you
often don't know what is needed to do something.... when it just works
fine. You could easily assume that RAD Video Tools has the MOV
decomprssion codec included in it.... which is why I'm now wondering if it can
convert an AVI to an MOV if the compression codec was already
installed. I'll have to check it again after I reinstall
Have a great week...