Convert Video File Format using VLC Media Player

VLC Media Player is not just a great tool for playing videos; it can do a whole lot of other things like convert videos between different formats. You can convert between a wide range of supported video files using the player. It works great for  most formats and codecs but there are a few issues and the conversion feature is not the best but it still works for most of us. Using it, we can easily swap video types. For example: Convert from AVI to MP4.

You no longer have to search for those .avi to .mp4, .flv to .mp4, .wmv to .avi, .ogg to .mp4 converters. You also shouldn’t be paying for video converters or use the ones that apply watermarks. As we all know, VLC is totally free without any limitations. It works great with most video as well as audio files. As we have seen before, it can also download video streams or audio streams.

Here is how you convert video using VLC Media Player:

  1. From VLC menu bar click on Media > Convert/ Save [Shortcut: CTRL + R]
    convert-save-menu-vlc
  2. Open Media dialog box is opened. Click on the Add button to browse for the files that you want to add. Then click Open.
    browse-file-conversion
  3. Leave the rest as it is and then click on the Convert/Save button or just hit enter in your keyboard
    convert-save-button.
  4. In the next dialog box, conversion options are displayed. The options are:
    Settings

    • Convert: Make sure this radio button is selected as you want to convert your file.
    • Display the output: Play/show the output in the player as the conversion happens.
    • Deinterlace: Check this option if you are converting from interlaced video formats example: 1080i, 720i formats displayed in televisions.
    • Profile: Select your desired target file type. Since we are converting a video, select a video format like H.264 with MP3 audio and MP4 container. You can select advanced video and audio codec combinations from the Edit selected profile or Create new profile button but this isn’t usually required.
    • Dump Raw Input: This will keep all the file sizes the same, only changing the file format. Don’t select this option.
      conversion-dialog-box
  5. Select a destination filename, the one that is converted and saved. Hit Browse, select a location, give a name like final and click on Save.
    conversion-file-name
  6. Then press on the Start button to begin the conversion.
    start-conversion
  7. The file position timer of VLC will start to increase/move like a progress indicator. Once it reaches the end, you will know that the conversion has completed.
    file-conversion-pointer
  8. Your newly converted media file will be saved.

Video Format and Containers Supported

By default, VLC Media Player supports video conversion to the followin range of video formats and containers:

  • H.264 video format  in MP4 file container
  • H.264 video format in TS file container
  • Dirac video format in TS file container
  • MPEG video format in TS file container
  • Theora video format in OGG file container
  • WMV video format in ASF file container
  • DIV3 video format in ASF file container
  • MPEG 1080p/720p video format for TV/device in MP4 file container
  • DivX video format in AVI file container
  • SD video format for iPod in MP4 file container
  • HD video format for iPod HD/iPhone/PSP in MP4 file container
  • SD low and high video format for Android in MP4 file container
  • VP89 VIdeo File in Webm container

*Note: Containers are responsible for the file extension. Example: MP4 container would mean that the file would have *.mp4 file extension. You can also create new media profile with your own combination of video and audio formats. It is explained in the profile section of step 4 of the tutorial above.

Why Convert Video Formats?

  • To reduce size of the videos while maintaining the quality.
  • For use of standard formats which are widely popular.
  • For use in special devices like television and video players that support certain formats only.
  • For ease of sharing with others.
  • To import in video editing software which only supports a limited number of formats.
  • For support in mobile devices like iPhone, iPod, Android devices, Windows phone and others.

For those of you who have problems with getting it to work, here’s an alternative way for converting any video to MP4.

Video Tutorial

30 thoughts on “Convert Video File Format using VLC Media Player

  1. I manage to figure out how to convert mp4 files to avi files using divx video & mp3 audio, it works however, some movies don’t play till the very end? Why not?

  2. Hi, I am trying to convert .wmv files to mjpeg .avi, the convertion works fine but the resolution of the converted .avi files is so bad, is it possible to get converted files with at least as good a resolution as the .wmv files?

  3. I am trying to convert m2ts (2 Giga) to mp4, the conversion starts but when it is almost done… finishes and leave a 2Kb file instead of the Mp4… is the m2ts too big ? What is the problem

  4. Converting .avi to mp4. Followed all instructions, and everything great EXCEPT the audio is about 2 seconds behind the video. Any suggestions please to get them in sync? Apart from that, great instructions! I had been looking for a converter online; never realised just how good VLC is!

  5. When uninstalling or installing I checked Delete preferences and cache before re-installing and then was able to get the options. However the audio does not record correctly, either no sound or sound track is off. I have tried to reset preferences but must have messed something up.

    1. Hi,

      Did you ever work out a fix to the problem? I am experiencing the same issue. I can convert MKV to MP4 but the audio is out of Synch.

  6. I have VLC 2.15 on a computer and it has drop down menu for converting to Android and iphone. I have another computer that had an older version and updated to 2.2.1 and it does not have these options. Please advise how I can get these options.

    1. If those profiles or presets are not present, then try creating new profiles by pressing the “Create new profile” button on the right. You can copy the same audio/video details between your two computers.

  7. I am trying to convert MOD files to mp4. The converted files wil play fine in VLC, but in any other player, like Windows media, there is no sound. I tried changing the audio output to several different types, but nothing helped. Any ideas? I’d like to send these videos to others to watch who may not have VLC.

      1. Hi, I am having the exact same issue as Cassie. I have played around with multiple video output formats and nothing works. I did try the standard H.264 + MP3 to MP4 and the audio will only play in VLC. Help?

  8. The key solution for those who can’t convert is they didn’t add .mp4 after a file name they created(step 5), you have to add .mp4 after a file name every time.

    1. Currently, batch conversion or converting more than one files at once is supported in VLC but the feature is not accessible through the GUI. That means you will have to use the command line interface to do the conversions. Batch conversion is planned to be introduced in VLC 3.0.0.

  9. Would have been nice if it also converted 1080i .ts files to 720p .mkv, buggered if I can find an easy way to do this conversion!

    1. Try creating your own profile for the target file. In the Profile editor under the Video codec > Resolution tab, you can specify the 720p resolution.

  10. I have tried dozens of times over months and months, have tried over the last two upgrades. still no joy. I get to the screen and the slide bar never moves. this is one of the places I would put high on my list for tech support and a better (easier) interface.

  11. Using VLC 2.1.5 and MacBook Pro… the windows shown do not come up; I tried to convert .avi and .iso files into mp4 and could not get it to the windows shown in Steps 5 and 6. Would appreciate help!

    1. Well it works for the most of us. You will have to be very careful and follow the steps while ensuring that you do not change any other options.

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