How I Converted .mov Video Files to .avi

by Ragtimelil

Here's my experience trying to convert video files so that I could edit them with my Movie Maker program.

I have just taken up the ukulele and my sister, who lives in Hawaii, has taken up the banjo. I know. It seems backward. She loves bluegrass music and is learning to play in a finger picked style. I like a wide range of music. Bluegrass is just one of my favorite genres.
I discovered by watching a lot of videos on YouTube that the ukulele is an amazingly versatile instrument. I was amazed when I saw some players using a clawhammer style on the ukulele. The clawhammer style has traditionally been done on the banjo. It has a distinctive bluegrass sound and gives the ukulele a whole new feel. I decided that I had to learn how to play like this.

Note: Updated section at the end. I reviewed some of the onlline converters.
Photo by Wemba

My sister sent me some videos of her beginning lessons on the banjo. They were just perfect for practicing my new technique on the ukulele but the videos were all very short. I have MS Movie Maker on my computer and thought I could string some segments together and have a longer video to practice with.

Clawhammer Style on the Ukulele

Conversion Needed

There was only one problem. Her camera made videos in the .mov format. My Movie Maker program wouldn’t open them. I needed to convert them into a format that the program could read.

The search began online to see what I could find out. I found a forum where someone had discussed exactly the same problem. The first recommendation was upgrading my RealPlayer program, but that cost money. I wanted something free. Another user recommended RadTools (Bink-Smacker).It was a free download and a couple of users said it worked fine for them.

Online Converter

I downloaded it and it looked great. I was soon disappointed. I kept getting an error message that it couldn’t open the .mov file either. That made it pretty useless.

I went back online and searched again. I found a web site, Zamzar, that would convert files without having to download anything. I tried several out and it did work just as they said. I couldn’t remember which format I needed so I did it several times before I got both the music and the video images. I needed just to select the .avi for output.



The program asks you to give them your email address. They send you an email to tell you where to find your converted file which you then can download. I have to say this process made me a little nervous but I had used their pdf converter before without any problems. They also have converters for almost every format you can imagine.



This was a simple solution that does work I now have a longer video that gives me more practice time. I won’t be doing a great amount of conversions so I might not need to download or buy a program. I would love to hear any comments from anyone who has experience or suggestions for this.


Me - in a few decades from now

Update: More Online Converters

Prism Video Converter Software
Free and paid. Advertised for Windows.

Movavi Video Converter
Looks nice. Seven day trial period.

Seven day trial period.

Update: Review of Above Converters

My sister just sent me another video, so I thought I'd try one of the converters I listed above. I started with the Converterlite. It was a simple program and easy to use. It was specifically aimed at converting .mov files to .avi. It was a little slow, but everything went well until I tried to import it into my Movie Maker program. I got an error message saying it couldn't import because the codex (whatever those are) were missing. I didn't feel like hassling with it so I just uninstalled it and went on to the next program.

Next I tried the Prism Video Converter Software. It looked serious. It was also rather slow but converted my file fine. I couldn't import it into Movie Maker, however. I got the same error message.

Next on the list was the Movavi Video Converter. It looked really slick. It ran fast and even gave a neat "ta-da" chord when it was done. Unfortunately, I had the same problem with importing. They also listed a Codec Pack for download. I thought maybe that was what I needed. It didn't help. This converter wasn't free either. It has a free trial period and they put a watermark on your video.

Last, but not least was the AVS4You. It isn't free either, but I was on a roll and decided to give it a try. To my surprise it actually converted my file so that it could be imported into Movie Maker. It ran fast too. It also put the watermark on my video,but that would go away if I went so far as to pay for the program. My only complaint was that it tended to snip the end of the video off. If I were doing these myself, I'd just leave a longer tail on the end.

Several of these programs advertised them as converters from .mov from a camera to .avi for portable devices. Maybe they don't need the codex, but I did. If I really want a free converter, I guess I'm still looking. Otherwise I'll just keep using Zamzar.




Updated: 12/31/2012, Ragtimelil
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Converting Comments

Ragtimelil on 12/31/2012

I'll have an update soon. I did try some of the programs I had listed. Thank you!

teddletonmr on 12/31/2012

Well played, thanks for the tips on converting video formats.

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