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]
  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.
  3. Leave the rest as it is and then click on the Convert/Save button or just hit enter in your keyboard
  4. In the next dialog box, conversion options are displayed. The options are:

    • 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.
  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.
  6. Then press on the Start button to begin the 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.
  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

49 thoughts to “Convert Video File Format using VLC Media Player”

  1. hi
    why my video not show subtitles when play it in Android
    forexample when I convert video with vlc with subtitles it will be normal and play it in pc and show subtitles ….
    but when I tranfer same video,to my mobil it will not show subtitles
    same video in pc it show subtitles ,but not show in mobile phone ….

  2. I am trying to compress a 2GB mp4 to a smaller mp4 on Windows 10 ASUS ZenBook with vlc 3.0.8 set to ‘Convert’ with “Video – H.264/MP3 (MP4)” and “Keep original audio track”. I have followed YouTube How To tutorials, but vlc only plays audio (there is no video).

  3. Follow the exact instructions, but always get the same error: The output file already exists. If recording continues, the file will be overridden and its content will be lost. – BTW the conversion never works.

    1. You have to specify a different filename or check the box that says “append ‘-converted’ to filename.” For batch jobs (where you are doing multiple at once) the latter is your only option. I do this so I can verify the quality against the original and then I’ll delete the old ones to save space.

  4. I am trying to figure out how to convert MP4 videos to MPG in VLC for playback from a USB stick on my TV.
    I need a video file with either MPEG1 or MPEG2 and an extension of “.mpg”
    I think I need to create my own profile. Does anybody know what settings to use for encapsulation, etc.

  5. VLC was working for me to convert AVI files to MP4s but after a recent update it no longer works. I go through the steps perfectly, but the resulting file is 1kb and is absolutely nothing. Did something break? Am I supposed to do something different? I need to be able to convert my files. Please any help would be greatly appreciated.

  6. VLC works fine for (ripped) TS file conversion to mp4.
    Go to Media menu, select Covert/Save, click Disc tab and browse the folder (VIDEO_TS), click Covert/Save.

    Select profile, verify the Profile selection ‘video – H.264 + mp3 (mp4)’, select Profile Editor (the wrench). AKA Profile Settings
    On Profile Editor screen select the Audio Codec tab, verify Sample is set to 48k and Codec to MPEG 4 (AAC), click Save (this may take a few seconds then exits).

    Back on Convert screen click Browse for preferred location of the destination file, give it a file name, click Start.
    VLC will slowly run the conversion (approx 30 mins., 600mb for 2hr movie). Works great!

    Handbrake works fine as well but creates mp4 file size 30% larger w/same quality IMO.

    Strange issue when using VLC File (tab) method as opposed to DISK tab.
    Open VLC, Click Media, Convert/Save then add all TS files from within the TS_Video folder (the BUPs/Backups are not recognized or included). Convert.

  7. Just curious why a filename is needed for the conversion target, why can’t it just use the current filename? I know it seems simple to create a filename but it’s odd that if I’m converting a video to audio that it doesn’t at least insert the original filename into the target since the extension will change.

  8. If I use a constant bitrate in the video codec options, I end up with a framerate of only about 16 in the converted file. The input is a 29fps .mp4 that plays beautifully. I want to “convert” it to do some video tweaking on things like brightness. All that works, but the output file’s frame rate is low so the video isn’t smooth. I tried using the Quality mode instead, setting it to 18, then 23, then 30… The framerate is then 29, and the video quality is much better, BUT, playing the output in VLC or WIndows Media Player, it runs for a few seconds, then stops, then runs for a few seconds, and so on, as though the video is just too demanding for the player to keep up with this. And yet… the original mp4 plays fine.

  9. PLEASE add the ability to convert any video to .MKV. It just seems to be incomplete without that format capability. VLC is a great product, but if it is going to usable as a professional quality video converter it MUST support all the formats it can play, especially the industry wide royalty free .MKV format.

  10. 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?

  11. 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?

  12. 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

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.