View Single Post
Old Dec 29, 2010, 08:56 PM
Tom Frank is offline
Find More Posts by Tom Frank
Dance the skies...
Tom Frank's Avatar
United States, MA, Walpole
Joined Dec 2003
19,007 Posts
Basic Editing of HD Key Cam Videos

The HD key cam outputs files (unfortunately) in Apple Quicktime .MOV format with H.264 video codec.

MP4cam2AVI Conversion tool

If you cannot import .MOV format files in your editor, the best way to convert the file is to use the MP4cam2AVI utility available here. It will do a direct stream copy (no recompression) of the source audio and video streams and simply repackage them in an .AVI container which most editors can load. The advantage of this is both speed and quality. Since it is just copying the video and audio streams verbatim without doing any re-encoding, it is very fast... approximately 1 second for each minute of video. And because it does not re-encode, you don't lose any quality.

Some players/editors will not properly decode the direct copied audio, so I usually do re-encode it or turn it off. Selecting one of the .MP3 codecs will produce slightly smaller files.

You'll still need to have the video codec (H.264) on the computer to decode the video, though. The ffdshow codec package mentioned below will provide the codecs if needed. Other tips for using this tool are in this post.

Note: This program can also do some limited re-encoding of the video, join clips together into one, and break up a long video in smaller clips if necessary. More info on this here.

Windows Live Movie Maker (WLMM)

Users who are now running Windows 7 OS can download the free Windows Live Essentials package from Microsoft's web site. This includes the new WLMM which is radically different from all prior versions. It lacks some of the functionality of prior versions, but will directly import and edit the .MOV files, and adds a few features of it's own. Fancy transitions, video effects, text for titles, credits, etc. are all there.

Windows Live Essentials (with WLMM in it) can be download from here.

If you prefer the look/feel of the old XP WMM with the better capability of the Vista version (v 6.0) of WMM, you can also download the latter. Details here.


A decent basic freeware editor that can import and edit the .MOV files directly is AviDemux. It is available in version for Windows, Linux, and Mac. It has similar functionality to VirtualDub, but Vdub can only directly import .AVI files and the H.264 video codec must be added separately.

The latest version of AviDemux can be downloaded from the author's web site here.

An AviDemux user guide is available here.

While this editor does not have the fancy transitions and text tools of WLMM, it has some very powerful filters for visibly improving the color and clarity of the HD key cam video that WLMM cannot do.

Tips and Tricks for editing HD key cam videos with AviDemux

Freemaker Video Converter

This tool can efficiently convert clips from the .MOV format to other formats with other codecs, but unlike the MP4cam2AVI tool, it will re-encode the video, which takes a lot more time and can add a tiny bit of quality loss. But, it adds the ability to also trim out un-wanted sections, rotate/resize videos, and join video clips and pictures together as one final video. While it lacks fancy transitions, video effects, and text titling tools, this may be all that's needed for many people. Buttons to click for direct uploads to YouTube and other hosting sites are also built in. Some tips for using this tool are listed in this post, and the program can be download from here.

VideoPad Editor

This is a commercial product, but can be download for a trial with all functions activated. It is similar to the older WindowsMovieMaker (before WLMM was released), with a few more bells and whistles, like more than one timeline for videos and overlays which not only work for text, sound tracks, and pictures, but also a second video (i.e. picture-in-picture capability). Interestingly, when the trial period expires, if you decide not to buy it, when you start to uninstall it you are given the option to keep a freeware version, which doesn't give up much in functionality! It will still import most video formats, but will only output in AVI, WMV, ASF and DVD formats. And you can't use add-ons, like Vdub filters. But for basic editing, it's a good alternative, even in the freeware version.

Video and Audio Codecs - ffdshow

If your video editor/player does not support the codecs used in the camera's native .MOV file, you will need to add them to your system. The code pack I use and would recommend is ffdshow. This tool is regularly updated to keep it current and/or squash any bugs that might be found.

The latest version of ffdshow can be downloaded here.

Note: The latest revision of ffdshow no longer supports the H.264 video codec for encoding files, but does have the codec for decoding files. If you want to encode with the H.264 video codec, download and install the open source version, x.264vfw, for MS Windows from this source. This gives some info on using the x.264vfw codec with VirtualDub editor, and codec configuration settings that provide good results with #11 video.

Many video players/editors do not support the Apple Quicktime .MOV file format that the HD key cam records. You will need to convert the file from .MOV to a format your software will load. .AVI is usually a universal format for this.
Tom Frank is offline Find More Posts by Tom Frank
Last edited by Tom Frank; Jun 02, 2012 at 11:27 AM. Reason: Added link to x.264vfw configuration settings