Sunday, May 24, 2009

VisualHub Can't Convert .flv Anymore?

A client has handed you (meaning you've used Command + Option + A in Safari to open the Activity Window and downloaded that really cool video from YouTube to email your friends) a .flv that they need in some other format for something or other. Opening it in VLC you see that it's h264/mp4a and VisualHub begets you an error like "Cannot allocate temp picture, check pix fmt"

What do you do? Well, you can try altering the Decoding parameter in VisualHub to be QuickTime or ffmpeg or whatever but your luck will vary. It may just work, or need Perian or may never work. flvs are fussy like that.

Even the power of QuickTime alone won't do it; you need 3x the transcoding power.

A) Install Perian
B) Install MPEG Streamclip.
C) Launch MPEG Streamclip and drag your fussy .flv into it.
D) Export it to H.264 (QuickTime) or the codec of your choice.

See, QuickTime + Perian will PLAY the .flv but when you export it it'll likely be MOS (Mit Out Sound). But, opening it with the power of Perian plus exporting it with the power of MPEG Streamclip will result in a transcoded file with audio.

Yup. You didn't even have to restart :) The only downside is that the resultant file will be 60-70% larger than the original .flv but monkey with the settings in MPEG Streamclip and you can bring that down significantly without very much of a loss in quality at all. The first thing to change is the Data Rate with a lower kbits/s. Also, unless you need really high quality audio, try lowering the audio to 22.050 kHz.

Great, thanks, Mr. Not Bruce, but how do I delete these two apps now?

From Perian's site:

How do I remove Perian?
Open the System Preferences. Select the Perian pane and 'Remove.' Now 'Show All' preference panes, control-click the Perian pane and 'Remove "Perian" Preference Pane.

As for MPEG Streamclip...just drag it to the trash.


BrentBillock said...

Thanks a lot for the help. My eyes started to glaze over after the second step, but I got started on it and found that Perian was enough to get Quicktime to open the flv, then do a save as.. to a .mov.

Visual Hub converted the .mov just fine to a Tivo-friendly MP2.

I can't believe I'm the first person to comment on this post a year and a half after you posted. It was a big help to solving a very aggravating problem. Thanks again.

Unknown said...

This problem just surfaced this week. I was stuck and your workaround was helpful and did get the project finished.

Lee Cujes said...

The whole using Quicktime to save the flv to mov. Genius. And yes, I am serious. My arse was getting kicked overcomplicating things for myself. Thanks.