A client of my company sent me a .mov file with a duration of only 1 minute and 12 seconds, and a size of 600MB. This had to be uploaded to YouTube, which would take ages in its original format, in combination with my slow internet connection. I figured converting it to MP4 before uploading it would massively reduce the file size.

So I went to Google, searched for “convert mov to mp4” looking for a quick solution using software already installed on my PC. Apparently both VLC and Quicktime were supposed to have a built-in converter that should be able to do the trick. Other “solutions” were available in the form of adware/shareware or web-based converters. Let’s just say none of the results on the first page of Google were satisfactorily.

The actual, simple, no-bs solution – Handbrake

Handbrake is a freeware, open-source, no-BS video converter for all kinds of video formats to MP4 or MKV.

  1. Simply click Source
    Handbrake Source
  2. Select your .mov video file
  3. Select a destination.
  4. Tweak settings as needed. In my case the default settings were sufficient.
  5. Click Start
  6. ???
  7. 600MB .mov file converted to 57MB MP4 file without any issues.

The supposed VLC solution

VLC has a “handy” file converter that actually works a whopping 2,3% of the times that you try to use it.

  1. Open the .mov file in VLC
  2. Click Media > Convert/Save
  3. Apparently VLC doesn’t understand that you want to convert the file that you are currently playing. Select the file again.
  4. Click Convert
  5. Select a destination
  6. Click start
  7. VLC disappears… Has it crashed? No, it just minimized itself. Click the VLC icon in the taskbar.
  8. Continue working on other stuff while the video is converting.
  9. Wait for VLC to confirm success.
  10. Find out that it doesn’t give any.
  11. Go to the destination folder
  12. Find out the video only converted halfway through and has no sound.
  13. Look for better solution.

The supposed Quicktime solution

  1. Open the file in Quicktime
  2. Click File
  3. Find out that you need a paid version of Quicktime to be able to click the Save As menu item
  4. Look for better solution