Many people have the odd camcorder for use at family and other events worthy of capturing into digital memory and keeping for the sake of posterity. Not too long ago those memories were kept on VHS tapes ready to start a slow and torturous road to decay.

Luckily, the camcorders of today have become a little more sophisticated and we can save them to DVD or hard disk drive in easy steps. The MiniDV tape is not too bad for storage, but it is a little clumsy when sharing with friends and family.

In recent years, another nice feature made its appearance onto the home video scene namely the DivX player. You can hardly find a DVD player these days that does not have the capacity to play DivX movies straight from disk or even USB flash drive. The term “DVD player” is hardly even heard these days.

What I want to show you in this blog is how to approach your memories and make them available in DivX format. What this means is simply this. You can store many hours of video on a single DVD. Now you can send a whole lot of video memories to whomever in easy steps. To top it off, you can do this using free software!

Let us start at the beginning.

You have a camcorder with the ability to either record straight to some solid-state memory, optical disk, hard disk drive or magnetic tape in digital format.

Most new cameras can also transfer the content of such recording devices to an ordinary computer using USB or Fire wire. Assuming you have the equipment and some memories you want to share, we can move on to recording it onto the computer. If you have memories on older media like VHS tapes, then an investment in a good television tuner card is a good idea. With a tuner card, you can hook up a VHS video machine and transfer the video into the computer in digital format.

I am not going to spend time explaining the detail of this, but it really is an easy process, be it a little time consuming as you will have to record it onto hard drive in real time.

If you have a digital camcorder, the process can be a little quicker depending on the camera. Every camcorder will have some guide as to how to get the content of your recording onto a computer. They usually come with software that enables this transfer and even some editing after you have moved the content onto your computer.

Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker is a very handy piece of software. It does however only record the data in a format that very few stand-alone players can play, but we are not worried about that now. I will show you have to convert any content or nearly any content into DivX format for play on a standalone DivX player.

What to do with the content on your drive

Once you have your content on your computer, there are various tools you can use to edit the movie. For a list of open source editing software for both Windows and Linux, visit this Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ource_Software
Once you have edited the video or videos the way you want them presented you will want to convert them into DivX format in order to get a lot onto a DVD disk. A rough shot of nine hours of video can fit onto a single 4.7GB DVD disk if encoded into the DivX format.

The program I use to convert video files into DivX using Windows is a program called MediaCoder. There are Linux derivatives out there and a quick online search will give you some options like MPlayer and Mencode. Some of the video editors mentioned before can also export in DivX
For the sake of this exercise, I will stick to explaining the process with MediaCoder.

Step one

Open MediaCoder. If you do not have it, download it here http://mediacoder.sourceforge.net/

Step two

Add a file by clicking the add button. MediaCoder can handle nearly every video file on earth, so it is extremely powerful. You can even add entire folders with videos in them but I will leave it to you to explore the many functions of this truly cool software.

Step three

Set the format for encoding. At the bottom you will see many tabs, one being video. No need to edit the audio setting as the default is good enough. Under the video tab, change the format to Xvid, (open source DivX format) and the container to AVI.

I use a bit rate of 800 but if you want to be as spot on as possible for you applications and space requirements then a DivX bit rate calculator can be handy. Here is one
http://www.csgnetwork.com/divxspeedcalc.htmlbut there are downloadable ones online. Google forth!

Step four

Set the output folder to where you want the encoded content to be saved. Now you are ready to rip and burn. Hit the START button.

When all is done, simply compile the DivX files onto a DATA DVD and enjoy in any standalone DivX player.

This is only one of many ways to get DivX videos from your own content, but I hope you found it informative.

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