SUPER for Windows performs video conversion (encoding), file joining, and video recording on a huge number of file types. To date, no free (or paid) video software in its class matches the versatility and broad file-type compatibility of SUPER. The short end is that it will convert, merge and record, almost any video or audio file type around.
On the downside, SUPER isn’t the most user friendly of software, and worst of all, it requires that you install adware. Were it not free and one of the most useful programs of its kind around, I would not recommend it to anyone; however, it will save you a great deal of money if you ever need a solid video converter or recorder.
WARNING! MUST READ
As of early 2013, SUPER forcibly installs JollyWallet and DefaultTabSearch, known adware products. According to some users, eRightSoft provided little advanced warning that their program installs adware—however, keep in mind that the software is free.
Even so, you should consider uninstalling both adwares, as they are overly intrusive. For those seeking to avoid ads, I will cover how to cleanly uninstall the adware after installing the main software, below.
Because of a maze of ads on the eRightSoft site, installing SUPER can cause some difficulty. To get started, first navigate to the installation page and scroll down to the very bottom of the page. Locate the “Download SUPER setup file” link and download the file.
The installation process will force the installation of two adware. However, it will appear as though you have some control over which software is installed—don’t worry, you don’t. Even so, opt out of the first two adware options, and then complete the installation process.
After installing the main program, you will want to immediately uninstall the adware. As of 2013, the two software that you will uninstall are JollyWallet and DefaultTabSearch. If you accidentally installed the optional software, the WhiteSmoke Toolbar, then you should get rid of that, as well.
If you already know about how to remove software, skip this section. If you’d like a refresher or just a quick walkthrough, keep reading.
There are two methods that you can use to remove the adware JollyWallet and DefaultTabSearch: First, you can simply uninstall both from the “Add or remove programs” menu within Windows. However, for those who want a full sweep of their PC, try using Aaron Couch’s guide to the excellent SpyBot anti-malware toolkit.
Using “system scan”, SpyBot fully removed the remnants from both adwares, without any trouble. However, the fastidious may wish to try Malware Bytes.
What’s a Codec?
A movie on film is made up out of a lot of still images. The average film contains about 30 pictures-per-second of footage. Putting this in perspective: in one minute of film, there are around 1,800 pictures!
Raw audio and video files can occupy a tremendous amount of space. For example, uncompressed audio, also known as a WAV file, can crunch down to a fraction of its original size. The various size-reducing methods, such as MP2 or MP3, rely on removing the storage burden of sounds that occur outside the audible range. For instance, what would sound like silence to a human being in WAV, and yet takes up space, takes up no space in MP3.
Unfortunately, there are many kinds of video and audio codecs, because each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some are proprietary, while others are open-source and available for free.
An important point: Most YouTube videos can only be edited using special software sold by Adobe, known as Flash. Also, YouTube does not want people downloading their videos—they prefer that we “stream” (watch a video live) rather than download, because downloading a video allows us to edit them—which causes a conflict with intellectual property rights laws. Additionally, the act of copying a copyrighted work violates the law in most countries. However, despite this unwieldy legal burden, there exist a great many works within the public domain.
One of the first methods of compressing videos is referred to as MPEG-2, which is the codec that will be used when the United States switches from analog (uncompressed) to digital broadcasting (compressed using MPEG-2).
If we were to transfer a film to video, such a large number of images can absorb a lot of space on a computer’s hard drive, so to reduce its size in a digital medium, software engineers developed many different methods of compressing video and audio data down into a smaller, more manageable format—software used to compress video are known as video and audio codecs. Video codecs compressed visual imagery, while audio codecs compress sound. Unsurprisingly, a movie on YouTube contains two components: an audio and video layer.
SUPER’s Video Conversion Process
Once you circumnavigate the adware laden installation, it’s time to get to the meat of SUPER: video conversion. The process is five-part: First, select the container format to use; second, choose the video codec; third, choose the audio codec; fourth, choose the video output settings; fifth, choose the audio output settings.
Before getting started, however, make a quick note of some of your video file’s properties: Right click on the video file and select Properties from the context menu. Then select the Details tab. Write down the following details, under the video sub-heading:
- Frame Width
- Frame height
- Data rate
- Total Bitrate
Under the audio sub-heading, in the same menu, write down the following:
- Bit rate
- Audio sample rate
These will later be used when you convert the video. If you fail to properly input these figures, there may be issues with the outputted conversion.
After collecting the required information, simply fire the software up. At the main menu, drag-and-drop your video file onto SUPER’s interface.
Next, pick an Output Container, an Output Video Codec and an Output Audio Codec.
Click on the drop down menu for container—you will see a huge number of file types. For simplicity, choose “MPG”, although keep in mind that you can pretty much choose almost any imaginable format.
I find that MPEG-II works best for the video codec and MP3 as the audio codec, although you may choose others, with reckless abandon. If something goes wrong, you can always redo the process.
After that, go to Video and input the information collected earlier. For video scale choose the value corresponding to frame width by frame height. So if your numbers were a frame width of 320 and a frame height of 240, you would pick the 320:240 video scale size. If you divide 320 by 240, you will get the Aspect, which stands for “aspect ratio”.
Finally, for Frame/Sec and Bitrate kbps, if your numbers don’t match up, choose the closest value. You can also go lower for these numbers—ultimately, the lower these numbers, the smaller the file size, although there will be a corresponding drop-off in quality.
For Audio, also try to match up the information gleamed earlier. Keep in mind that Sampling Freq adds two zeroes.
And, finally, check the Active box and then press the Encode (Active Files) button. After a few minutes the Active box will uncheck, meaning the video is fully processed.
SUPER is the de facto king/queen of video conversion, including both free and paid software. While the ad maze on the primary website combined with the mandatory installation of adware on your PC somewhat dampens the experience, the ultimate utility of converting video for free far outweighs the “price” (it is free, by the way).
If you need to convert any video format, even the insanely difficult to convert SWF format, consider giving SUPER a try. For those who would like an ad-free, although diminished, experience, check out four other free video converting software.
Image Credits: Stop via MorgueFile.com; Chalk via MorgueFile.com; Heroes via MorgueFile.com