iMovie and QuickTime are useful on the Apple Mac, but are limited. Here’s how to convert videos in unusual formats and optimize videos for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, phones, TVs and other devices.
Wondershare has a couple of great tools for converting videos from one file format to another. With Apple Mac and Windows PC apps, you can convert almost any video file and optimize it for sharing on social media sites or for viewing on TVs, phones, tablets, computers and other devices.
There is more than one utility, but they are all similar and here I take a look at Wondershare Free Video Converter. However, the latest and greatest is Wondershare UniConverter, which has a few more features and tools. If you have a lot of video clips in formats that are unusual, they can convert them into more widely used formats that play on any device.
These apps can also be used to combine collections of short videos into a longer one. They are not video editors, but they do have a few basic tools for trimming, resizing and correction, filters and effects and more.
Wondershare Free Video Converter for Mac (there is a Windows PC version too) is free and mostly fully functional, but there are a few limitations. What the free version does is enable you to try almost every feature of the program for nothing. There is also a free trial version of UniConverter, but it is nearly identical.
Here I looked at a free online tool to edit videos called FlexClip.
Add and edit videos to convert
The Convert tab is where videos are added for processing and they can be dragged from Finder and dropped on the window. Each video can be processed and saved individually or they can be output as a single video with the Merge All Videos switch. That is useful for combining short clips into a longer video.
A video thumbnail is shown on the left and you can see the video details, such as the length and resolution. Below the thumbnail are buttons to access the trim tool for trimming the start and end of a clip, and the crop tool that enables you to trim the edges to remove distractions, rotate the video and set the aspect ratio.
Add filters, fix exposure
The edit button opens a window that enables the brightness, contrast and saturation to be adjusted in the clip, which is useful for correcting exposure faults. There is also a collection of filters which enable colour effects to be applied like Sunset, Retro, Glow, Vignette and so on. The before and after previews show how the clip will look and effects can be applied as the video preview is playing.
On the right on the Convert screen is the Target information and this shows the output file format, length, file size and resolution. The sound format can be selected and there is an option to compress the video.
Convert videos to other formats
When converting videos, a wide range of ready made preset options are available. You can choose the output format, such as MP4, MOV, AVI, WMV and many more. Select one and there is another selection, such as 4K video, HD 1080p, 720p and several more. The audio track can be set to high, medium or low quality.
Instead of fiddling with formats and resolutions, the Devices tab lists Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Sony, HTC and other devices. Select Apple for example, and the output can target various iPhone and Apple TV models.
A Custom option enables the settings to be manually configured. Some technical knowledge is required for this and for most people, selecting the target device is quicker and easier.
Save YouTube and other online video
Streaming web video can be downloaded and saved. Only YouTube is supported in the free version of the video converter software and only resolutions up to 720p. However, videos saved without the Wondershare logo and they looked great when played back on the Mac.
Paid versions of the Wondershare video converter can save from 10,000 streaming video sites. Are there really that many? Let’s just say it can cope with a lot.
To save a video or MP3 audio from a YouTube video all you need to do is find a video in Safari, copy the URL and paste it into Wondershare Free Video Converter for Mac. It is probably the best feature in the free version because it did not add a watermark and it just saves the video.
Compress video file size
There are several additional tools and Compress Video is a good one. Add a video to it and it can be compressed by an amount set using a slider. I selected a 210 MB video and the maximum compression.
The result was a 35 MB video that looked the same as the original, at least on my MacBook’s 13in screen. Too much compression is not a good idea if you intend to watch the video on a 50in TV screen where small faults are magnified, but for phones and laptop computer screens, it is a great way to save space.
Wondershare Free Video Converter useful utility if you regularly need to convert and compress videos, and prepare them for a wide range of target devices. It is good for people that don’t need to or don’t want to do a lot of video editing and are happy with a few basic trim, crop and rotate tools, and a few filters to add effects.
UniConverter has a few more tricks up its sleeve and supports 1,000 video file formats. It has lossless conversion technology, converts up to 30 times faster, and has GPU acceleration and multi-core processor support. It can download video from 10,000 websites and has a larger toolkit.