This great step by step tutorial comes to you from Nick Holmes, from across the Pond.


There’s this marvellous piece of free software called MPEG Streamclip, many of you are already using it or have heard of it. If you don’t have it, download it now! This is an invaluable tool that every video editor should have at their disposal.

So, what does it do?

MPEG Streamclip converts a bunch of video formats to something that you can use in Final Cut Pro and edit with. It also converts video that you just need in another format for whatever reason you might have.

Sometimes we get clients that turn up with something that absolutely must be in their project. The problem is, all they have is a DVD and there’s no chance of getting the original footage. Well, that’s clients for you. Welcome to the world of video post production.

If you look at the structure of a DVD in the Finder, there are several files with cryptic names -IFO, VOB, VTS…. What’s all that about?


Don’t worry. Copy the entire DVD to a local hard drive. Open MPEG Streamclip. What?… OK, then download it now.

Click on File > Open Files. MPEG Streamclip knows what you want and only the relevant files are highlighted.


Choose VTS_01_1.VOB -you don’t usually need 1_0 as this is just black padding between the menu and the stuff you really need.

You might be asked if you want to fix timecode or data errors -click OK, it’s better. Trust me.

You might be asked if you want to join files. I prefer to say no at this point -give me the individual files, I’m a professional video editor after all.

The spinning wheel does its thing….. Hey look, it’s a scene from the DVD!


Now we need to convert it to something that Final Cut pro can use. This is the only setting of any interest to Final Cut Pro editors:


Click it and we are where we really need to be:


MPEG Streamclip will always show this screen as a default. For the most part the DV codec is fully acceptable, after all its coming from a highly compressed source to begin with. Lets change it:


What do we learn from the above illustration? you will notice that I have checked the reinterlace chroma box, Why?
Because I am an unwashed English dog that works in the PAL format. That’s why. No really, it looks nicer -do it.
All you have to do now is save your movie. Click the “Make Movie” button then give it a name and place to live.

If you are working in an uncompressed Timeline and your client brings a DVD that absolutely must be cut into the movie, then choose an appropriate setting from the list of those offered by MPEG Streamclip. If you are working in a HD Timeline and your client… Oh Noes! They be already in your office!
You were supposed to have your armed, drunken grandfather guarding the door. Check that he has not fallen asleep!

That’s all for now. In part two we will discuss converting batches in MPEG Streamclip.