another stupid video question

Dear Lazyweb... I was able to save this video as a WMV with:
mplayer -dumpstream -playlist http://... -dumpfile out.wmv
But now how do I convert that to a Quicktime? ffmpegX 0.0.9t writes a 0-length file with no error messages.

Update: It would appear that this simply cannot be done, as there are no decoders for WMV3.

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27 Responses:

  1. styroteqe says:

    mencoder should let you dump it to pretty much any other format you have a codec for, at least in my exp

    • jwz says:

      That's a fascinating piece of non-information, given that ffmpegX is a front end to mencoder.

      • styroteqe says:

        oh, well then color me ignorant. i usually just convert shit to VOB and watch it on my DVD player. i'm fairly certain i've encoded mov files w/ mencoder though. i could give you a better example if i hadn't been stuck at work going on 13 hours and watching my brain drip out of my nose.

        are you using the latest ffmpeg libs? i'm assuming so.. i've never used ffmpegX but i figured it would be a frontend for ffmpeg not mencoder.

        try feeding the original media to and see what it says about the streams inside.. maybe ffmpeg is choking on it but not giving you a fatal error?

  2. wa_bacchus says:

    When I drop the file, ffmpeg reports it as WMV3. ffmpegX can only decode WMV1 and WMV2. As for what can decode WMV3, I don't have that information.

  3. grahams says:

    Not sure how easy this is going to be... It appears that all of the WMV3 (Windows Media 9) support in OSS (Mplayer, VLC, etc) uses the x86 dll to do the decoding... Supposedly Jon Johansen has has a reference decoder ported to Linux, but I haven't seen any source for it floating around and it doesn't seem to be part of the VLC tree (at least it isn't in the snapshots, I'm not about to setup Subversion just to check it out).

    You may be lost at sea unless you have an x86 machine and the patience to fiddle with all that DLL hackery....

    • jwz says:

      Wow, you make it sound so enticing!

      I'll stick with the answer of "you can't."

      • grahams says:

        That definitely seems to be the short version...

        • grahams says:

          Actually, I don't think you're exploiting the lazyweb quite as much as you could be.... Find some linux nerd who wants to bang his/her head against the keyboard for a few hours to do the heavy lifting for you... Someone in the throng of fanboys must have a copy of MPlayer or VLC set up to do this in order to better pirate their bootleg anime.

          • jwz says:

            You people always have this fantasy about the Fanboy Army that I can get to do my bidding... but this is it, man. Scroll back: you're looking at the Fanboy Army. This is all I get.

      • duskwuff says:

        I managed to get mencoder to accept it as input (x86 machine, RavingInsaneFanboiDistro Linux, win32 codecs), but I wasn't able to get Quicktime to accept the output video track.

        Maybe not impossible, but much too annoying to bother with.

  4. dcdan says:

    You must learn that video mustn't be meant for the web. If you can't watch it within three clicks (on a Mac), the video then must be "teh suck" as certainly the legions of Linux types haven't been able to watch it and hence is not going to show up on slashdot or boingboing and is therefore is irrelevant to the internet.

  5. feren says:

    Slashdot hasn't been relevant to the geeks, the internet or the universe as a whole for years now.

  6. thomtoffner says:

    Sorry if this is going 'round again.

    You dumped it with mplayer, and then tried to use ffmpegx to convert it to a quicktime .mov? ffmepgx is most likely using ffmpeg for that process, and that fails even on linux, so it might not be the lack of decoder stopping it. As was previously mentioned, ffmpeg doesn't like wm3.

    Does mplayer play the .wmv you created? If so, you could simply do this:

    mencoder out.wmv -ovc lavc -lavcopts vbitrate=10000 -oac mp3lame -o out.avi

    that will give you an unnecessarily high bitrate avi which you can then convert to quicktime using ffmpeg.

    Mind you, I did have to implicitly tell ffmpeg to use the mpeg4 codec for video -vcodec mpeg4 and mp2 codec for audio -acodec mp2 to get it to even work at all (note the lack of helpful error messages). Chances are ffmpegx isn't going to know to do that for you.

    Or alternately, you can download the out.avi (15 megs, but I didn't want to lose the quality) from me.

    • thomtoffner says:

      I also forgot to mention that the .mov encode is taking absolutely forever, appears to be completely the wrong resolution, and is completely happy shiny square random garbage so far. 'Course this might be because mplayer doesn't know how to play an incomplete .mov file, so I'll have to wait till its done encoding to be sure.

      Can quicktime import avi files so that you can skip the ffmpeg nonsense all together?

    • I was going to suggest this as well. Basically you just have to open a wmv file w/ QTPro and it will let you export it as whatever you prefer.

    • brianenigma says:

      Yep, I can confirm that the stream can be download with mplayer, then viewed/converted with WMV Player Pro. You cannot use the URL directly with QuickTime because, while the WMV plugin gives it the right codecs, it has no idea what the mms:// transport/protocol is.

      Short answer: it's possible, but a two step process, with the second step involving a $50 app (or demo version thereof.)

  7. msiegler says:

    Back in 1999 when a group of us were trying to index video like this (and RealMedia) we found out that part of the shrinkwrap licensing for the decoder is that you will not encode it into another format, that by definition it will be the final encoded destination.

    Anybody who tries to work around this is either inevitably C&Sed (see the VirtualDub Fiasco or has to reside in the red zone (See WinMPG.)

    • strspn says:

      Someone should do something about all the infringers who allow their systems to translate WMV to VGA prior to viewing. Criminals.