Convert .mov media to .mp4

As I'm now spending more time in Linux / Android than I am on OS X / iOS, it's time to start converting media files.

Like many Mac users, I have a bunch of QuickTime compatible .mov files I've accumulated over the years. This is the default file format (and often the only one) that most Mac OS X applications will support. Fortunately, several years ago Apple added h.264 support to QuickTime and made it their preferred codec. However, a problem that remains when using non-Apple software is that the container (file) format, .mov, is not an open standard and has limited support in the open source world. A quick and easy solution for this problem is to use ffmpeg to simply change the container:

ffmpeg -i input.mov -vcodec copy -acodec copy output.mp4

This has worked well for most of my h.264 encoded .mov files so far and is both fast and lossless, since all it is doing is copying the audio and video data into a new container rather than transcoding it. Another option is to use QuickTime (at least QT7 Pro) to export the file in passthrough mode. Both methods appear to do the job equally well, so which method to use depends on both preference as well as which platform the conversion is being performed on.

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