Essential, Free Video Utilities

Whether you’re already immersed in the fast-growing world of web video content, or you need to do a little studying first, free—and nearly free–video capture and conversion utilities can quickly give you a lot of flexibility. I archive and publish video online, and many bloggers and other web workers are increasingly doing so. In this post I’ll provide some of my favorite grassroots video utilities. They’re useful for many kinds of tasks.

SUPER, which stands for Simplified Universal Player Encoder & Renderer, is a free download from eRightSoft that makes it very easy to do things like convert Flash video files to other formats. For example, the videos you’ll find on YouTube are in .FLV format, and SUPER can instantly turn them into .AVI movies, .WMV movies, and many other formats. It’s a Windows program. For Mac users, iVCD is a similar program that’s very easy and good, although you will have to pay a $29.95 fee for it after your free trial, if you decide you like it.

If you have a Video iPod, Jodix Technologies’ Free Video iPod Converter is very good at taking video in almost any format and converting it. With it, you can take .AVI videos, .WMV videos or videos of many other types and make them watchable on your Video iPod with only a few clicks.

Many users of the iPhone don’t realize that there are already some useful, free utilities for converting video files to view on their phones. Windows users can go with DVDVideoSoft’s completely free offering, and Mac users should definitely check out MP4 Converter Software Studio, although you do have to pay a small fee if you like the free trial for it.

Finally, one of my favorite video utilities of all is SnagIt, from TechSmith. You can use it as an image editor and for screen captures, but the application also makes it very easy to just click and capture videos, after which you can save them to a hard drive, or to DVDs, or e-mail them, etc. SnagIt is $39.95 after a 30-day free trial, but it’s completely worth it. I also regularly use and like its big brother Camtasia Studio—if you’re moving into high-end video editing and production.

Do you have any good video software tips?