Converting Media Files
The RAD Converter will convert almost any kind of graphics file into any other type of graphics file. This simple file conversion is just one of a bunch of tasks that the RAD Converter is good for. It can cut out portions of an input file, color reduce high color files, create AVISs from sequentially-numbered single-image files, create super-palettes, and just about any other graphics file manipulation you'll ever need. Think of it as a Swiss Army Knife for your graphics files!
To use the converter, highlight the file to change, click on the "Convert a file" button, and the following window will open. Details on each option are below the screenshot, so you can click on different sections of the screenshot or use the following links to jump right to the help topic you need.
Output file settings:
Output file info: Enter the filename that you'd like to compress to in this field. You can use the Browse button to choose from a directory with your mouse. Use the "automatic overwrite" switch when you don't want the converter to ask if you want to overwrite the destination filename.
Output type: By default, the RAD Converter will create another file of the same type (GIF to GIF, for example). To change the default output type, click the "Output type" button next to the output filename and choose the type of output file you'd prefer.
Convert Video: Choose this option if you want to convert the video frames of the input file. If you are converting an AVI, for example, then unchecking this box would create an audio-only (wave) output file.
Frame rate control:
Force (no adding or removing) to: Input a new frame rate for the output file with this option (fractional rates are ok). The RAD Converter will not duplicate or remove frames during conversion to achieve the new rate. This value is specified in frames per second. You can also specify this value in milliseconds per frame by entering it as a negative number. You'll need to set this option when you compress still images, which have a default rate of 10 frames per second.
Adjust (adds/removes frames) to: You can adjust to a new frame rate by duplicating or removing frames with this option. Say, for example, you had a 15 frames per second animation and you adjusted to 30 frames per second, then each frame of the movie would be processed twice.
You would end up with twice as many frames, but they'd playback twice as fast. This option can also be used to make easier-to-playback movies - if you have a 24 fps movie that Bink can't quite keep up with, just use this option to drop it to an easier 12 fps. The value is specified in frames per second. You can also specify this value in milliseconds per frame by entering it as a negative number.
Frame range: Use this option to control what sections and pieces of the input file are actually processed. The "Start" and "End" fields let you set the beginning and ending frame numbers of the range to convert. Note that even if you use the "Adjust (adds/removes frames) to" feature, these fields use the original, "un-adjusted" frame numbers. The numbers are inclusive, so, for example, a start frame of 5 and an end frame of 6 would make a two frame output file.
Frame size (cropping): The left, top, "Width", and "Height" options tell the RAD Converter to process only a sub-rectangle of each video frame. This is a handy tool for making cropped versions of your videos. If you are both cropping and scaling, the cropping takes place after the resize.
Frame Scaling (resizing): The "Width", and "Height" options specify what size to resize the input video frames to. The "scaling type" button allows you to choose the method of resizing: high-quality (bi-cubic interpolation - usually the best quality, but sometimes a little fuzzy), medium quality (bi-linear interpolation), and low quality (where the pixels are just dropped or duplicated). Usually, you should just stick with high-quality mode.
Contrast increase: This filter allows you to increase the contrast of a video. Increasing the contrast will make the blacks blacker and the whites whiter. This almost always improves compression because it will make "almost black" pixels fully black. The contrast range is 0 (no contrast increase) to 127 (maximum increase). A good default value is 8.
Smoothing percentage increase: This filter allows you to smooth out the video. Smoothing a video blurs the pixels together giving smoother and easier to compress video frames. The smoothing range is 0 (no extra smoothness) to 100 (maximum blur). A good default value is 3 percent.
Black clamp: This filter hard clamps the pixels to fully black when each of the color values are below the specified value. This is another way to force "almost black" pixels to become fully black. It's especially good for video captured titles. For most video, however, the contrast control is the best way to get black pixels looking nice and dark. The clamp range is 0 (no clamp) to 255 (all colors forced to black). A good starting value is 20.
Video de-noising: This filter will clean up video by reducing by running a de-noise filter across the image. It's a good way to increase compression when you have poor quality input files.
Video de-interlacing: This filter will clean up interlaced video that was captured from a TV source. De-interlacing video isn't a perfect process - there is no one right way to de-interlace video, so we provide several different techniques. The first is simple "blend" mode - this causes the even and odd fields of the video to be blended together. You can also select to weight either the even or odd fields more heavily with the "even and odd lines" radio buttons. The other de-interlacing techniques just use the even or odd fields by themselves - to do this, just select even or odd without the checking "blend".
Brightness adjustment: This filter lets you increase or decrease the brightness of the input video frames. The brightness control is a percentage where 100% is the existing brightness, 10% is 10 percent of the existing brightness (or 10 times darker), and 200% is twice as bright.
Gamma correction: This filter lets you increase or decrease the gamma of the input video frames. Gamma is kind of like non-linear brightness - that is, the entire spectrum isn't all brightened by the same amount. The gamma correction range is from 0.0 (completely dark) to 1.0 (the existing level of gamma) to above 1.0 (which brightens the pixels). Gamma correction is usually used to adjust a Mac-authored movie that plays too dark on a PC. A gamma of 1.4 is usually about right for converting the gamma of a Mac input file to the same level of PC brightness.
If you have a movie that looks good on the PC and you want to use it on a TV (like, through a game console), then you need to adjust the gamma (or the movie will be too bright and washed out). Use a factor of 0.88 to covert from PC gamma to TV gamma.
256 color settings:
Output as 256 colors: By default, this box is unchecked, so the converter will create true color output files. If you want to convert your files down to 256 colors, then check this box, and these options become available:
Use palette from: Lets you select from two different methods of handling the palette. Using the palette from the input file is the default, and tells the RAD Converter to get the output palette from the input file. To remap to the palette of a different file of your choice, select the "File" radio button, and type in, or browse for your file.
Calculate a new optimized palette for every how many frames: This option defines the interval at which the RAD Converter will create a new optimized palette.
To use: Defines how many colors to remap to in the conversion of the input file. By default, the RAD Converter always copies the palette of the input file if it has one (because we assume you've already created your perfect palette). So, if you want to create a new optimal palette with your new number of colors when the input file is 8-bit, then you also need to update the beginning frame and rotation number, as described below.
To begin at: Tells the RAD Converter what palette index to start the remapping at when it converts the input file. By default, it always copies 8-bit palettes.
To rotate: Tells the RAD Converter to rotate through the palette. You enter the number of palette entries to rotate through on each palette change. So, if you enter 128, then on the first palette change, the converter will use indices 0 to 127. On the next new palette, the converter will use indices 128 to 255. This setting gives you the ability to use periodic new palettes on 256 color devices!
Windows system colors: This setting controls whether the RAD Converter copies the standard Windows system colors into the first ten and last ten positions. The default, "On new palettes", only copies the Windows system colors if it creates an entirely new palette. The other options are "Always" and "Never".
Note that if you use "Always" with an 8-bit input file, the RAD Converter simply overwrites the first ten and last ten colors with the system colors, and leaves the middle 236 colors alone. If you want to create a new, optimized palette with the Windows system colors, then you must change the On 8-bit input file option.
Perform Halftoning: The Perform Halftoning option controls whether the RAD Converter halftones the input graphics file. Halftoning is a technique used to make 24-bit gradients look better on 256-color displays. Normally halftoning increases the size of graphics files, but the RAD Converter uses a selective-halftoning system that halftones only the areas of a frame that need it.
So, by default, halftoning is turned on for all 24-bit input files (the "On high-color" option). The other options are "Always" and "Never". If your 24-bit input files are under 200 frames or don't use very many colors, then you can shrink your output files slightly by turning halftoning off. On 8-bit input file: This option controls how the RAD Converter handles 256-color input files. By default, it always copies the palette if the input file has one (we assume you've already created your perfect palette).
If, however, you want the RAD Converter to create new optimal palettes, then set this option to "Create New" or "New on changes". The "Create New" option will create one palette for your entire input file. The "New on changes" option will create a new optimal palette whenever the palette of the input file changes.
Convert Audio: Check this box to convert the audio from the input file. If you are converting just audio, then the output file will be a wave file. If you are converting video and audio, then the output file will be an AVI file.
- Input from track: This option tells the RAD Converter what track to read the audio from. It supports both Video for Windows and QuickTime formats.
- Start input at (ms): This switch, in combination with the following "End input" are the tools you need for mixing a specific sub-section of audio data out of a larger sound file. This is the start point of your range -- it is specified in milliseconds.
- End input at (ms): This switch defines the end point of a specific sub-section of audio data out of a larger sound file. This value is specified in milliseconds.
- Skip into (bytes): This field tells the RAD Converter to skip into the specified sound file before beginning the mixing process. It is usually used with the "Override input format" fields to skip over an unsupported sound format header.
Convert output format: These fields allow you to convert to another sound format during compression. They are there for your convenience, but for maximum quality, you should always start with original high-quality recordings. The RAD Converter can convert a 22 Khz file up to a 44 Khz file, but it can't make it magically sound any better that the original 22 Khz.
Override input format: These fields force a input new format - they don't convert! This is usually only used with RAW sound files that have no header information to identify their sound format.