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Convert DVR-MS files to WMV and MPG

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Original Posting: Sometime in 2010
Last Updated : 02 July 2012

Another departure from the motorcycle related articles and hopefully something useful.

Background: The hard drive on the Windows Vista computer is filling up with lots of junk! When I activated Disk Clean Up and eventually got rid of 30GB of stuff - Vista does a lot of automatic restore points and store other rubbish! However there are still lots of GBs of video files and so forth. I also found a few DVR-MS video files that I couldn't play on the iPod so tried to convert them. Searching the internet did not result in anything that I could do for free or stated clearly what to do or a method that worked on my PC. So I played around with the various programs and this is how to convert DVR-MS to WMV, AVI file format then to MPG and MP4. These instructions are only for Windows 7 and Vista users.
DVR-MS files are video format files that the Windows Media Center uses when it records from a video recorder or from a TV tuner. As a format its really quite good retaining video details with high compression so they don't take up too much disk space. Unfortunately there are not many free programs that can convert DVR-MS to other formats without some cost.

This article is about how to convert DVR-MS files to WMV for free then to MPG or convert to iPod compatible MP4. More specifically converting DVR-MS to WMV or AVI without purchasing or downloading any additional software. Then converting to MPEG or the iPod compatible MP4 with the software of your choice.
Converting DVR-MS to WMV:

1. Find the DVR-MS file to convert.
2. Find and run the Windows Movie Maker program.
3. 'Drag and Drop' the file into the 'Import Media' section of the screen.
4. Select the image of the 'imported' file and drag it to the 'Timeline' or Story board' section at the bottom of the screen.
5. You can edit the video at this point - if you want.
6. When ready, go to the File Menu and select to 'Publish the Movie'.
7. Select where you want to publish your movie'. Its up to you which one but I recommend 'Publish to this computer' as the first choice so you get the hang of the software.
8. Select where you want the file to be saved and the name.
9. On the 'Choose the settings for your movie' screen: select the file format and the 'quality'. The default is 'best quality for you computer' which produces a good result. You can chose the other options if you want but you really only have to format options - AVI or WMV. AVI is uncompressed as the file will be huge but WMV has more options. Choose what you need.
10. I select the 'Compress to file size' because know what I want! I usually select 1G which provides decent quality for a 1 hour video.
11. Press Ok and let the computer do its work. It can take over 60 minutes to convert. You'll end up with a very large AVI file or a reasonably sized WMV. So have a drink or what ever! That was easy.

Note: use the Tools/Options/Advanced menu to select the aspect ratio and other settings for your video.

Now that you have converted the DVR-MS file into WMV or AVI format which the majority of video conversion programs are able to convert further to MPG or MP4 format for your iPOD. I don't have any favourites or recommended video conversion software at this point (free or otherwise) since I'm still trying them out.

I will of course update page as soon as I have something worth recommending.



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