Video Attributes Application

When converting video files to MP4 or WMV format for the Zune, it’s often helpful to know certain facts about your source video. Information such as frames per second (fps), video codec, audio bit rate, screen resolution, etc. are important for setting the parameters in your video conversion software. For example, if you convert a video file using a setting of 29 fps but the video source is at 24 fps, your audio may slowly become out-of-sync with your video. So, it’s important to identify information such as frame rate when doing video conversions.

Normally, I recommend the freeware program called GSpot which can open most video files and display relevant information about them. However, GSpot is a bit overkill for some, as it displays lots and lots of information (maybe too much at times). To simplify matters, I decided to brush up on my Visual Basic programming and create a basic application called zVideo which displays pertinent video/audio information for a source video file.

You can download my application from this link. My simple application basically runs the program called FFMPEG and parses through the output from that program to get the relevant video/audio information. It then displays this information in a dialog box window. You can also activate an option for it to display the optimum screen resolution dimensions that you can use for your video conversions (if the video source resolution is larger than 320 by 240).

To use this application, download the zVideo.zip file and unzip the contents in a folder on your Windows system. Then, double-click on the zVideo.exe application icon. Note, that you need to have the file called FFMPEG.exe located in the same folder as the zVideo.exe file. Sorry that I don’t have a slick installer application to load this software.

Now, this program doesn’t do any actual conversion. It only shows the attributes of a selected video file.

Have fun with my simple application, and let me know if you find any bugs or have any issues.

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7 thoughts on “Video Attributes Application

  1. jacob says:

    I have also checked out the “Free Zune Video Converter” off of download.com. I hoped to use this to convert some quick time movies from my digital camera into a Zune friendly format.

    The conversions went very smoothly to wmv format. However, despite the fact that all 44 of my quick time videos converted and play just fine in the Zune software, on my Xbox 360 over the network, and in Windows Media Player, I get error C00D002F on about half of them when attempting to sync with my Zune80. They were all taken with the same camera and there have been no changes to the camera’s firmware since I bought it in 2004.

    Any thoughts?

  2. zunetips says:

    Can you use the application mentioned in this posting and tell me what are the video settings for the wmv files?

  3. jacob says:

    I used your app on one of the trouble WMV files and got the following results:

    wmv2
    320×240
    25.00 fps

    I can convert the same mov files to MP4 for use on the zune, but I am not sure if it matters which format I use. WMV seemed a little more universal to use on my PC/ zune /xbox 360.

  4. zunetips says:

    Jacob: The WMV2 video codec is an older format that isn’t “sync-ready” for the Zune. You need to convert the video file to the WMV3 video format. Most of the free “Zune Converters” will use the freeware FFMPEG utilities to convert files, and the best they can do is convert to WMV2 format.

    If you use Windows Media Encoder 9 you should be able to convert to WMV3 format. Then, your video files should sync properly. Check out my “Video Conversion” page for details.

  5. jacob says:

    GREAT! Thanks for the tips.

    As for the difference between MP4 and WMV, which would you recommend?

  6. zunetips says:

    jacob: Some people like MP4 because they believe the video quality is better, and it is more of a standard format than WMV. I personally like the WMV format, since I can add in more meta data (e.g., video description, category, etc) that the Zune can display and use for sorting. The MP4 doesn’t have such meta data.

  7. jacob says:

    Again thanks for the advice. I have enjoyed keeping up with this site since I found it in the beginning of the year.

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