Freemake Video Converter: stylish, user friendly video and DVD conversion, burning, and editing program

This is the kind of video conversion program that feels like it belongs in an Apple store; slick, clean-looking, with a lot of white space and colorful buttons in it’s interface, and as little information crammed on the screen at any one time as possible. It also delivers exactly what is promised, which is always a bonus.

Freemake Video Converter offers the ability to convert videos across different formats, burn video files to DVD, convert DVDs to video files, convert and upload to YouTube, convert photos to video slideshow, convert video files to MP3 (i.e.demux the sound) or even combine an audio file with a wide selection of pre-built visualizations. It can also perform some video editing functions in the process (i.e. cut, rotate, or join).

This program employs the now fashionable interface device of offering different conversion profiles based on the type of media or mobile device, such as iPod, iPhone, iPad, PSP, Xbox, and Blackberry. And while this can be very convenient for the average user, for advanced users it tends to come at the expense of having the degree of control over the conversion process which they may like or require.

Ok, here’s a list of PROS and CONS.

PROS:

  • One-stop-shop for working with video: whether you want to convert video, cut or join videos, create a DVD, convert a DVD to video, demux video into audio, convert and upload to YouTube, or create a slideshow from a bunch of images.
  • Convert a DVD to video file: quickly and easily and in only a few clicks (as long as the DVD is not encrypted). It can also convert a DVD that is ripped to the hard drive (for DVD decrypting/ripping options see the free version of DVDFab HD Decrypter or RipIt4Me).
  • Nice and simple interface: no learning curve, no technical knowledge needed. Drag and drop your media files from explorer. The “flow” of the different processes makes sense
  • Generally excellent output: and fast processing too.
  • Freemake Video Converter Screenshot - EditorThe editor: is a simple interface that allows for cutting a part of the video, or even rotating and flipping a video. Not a common thing to have in a video conversion program, and generally pretty cool (see image to the right).
  • Supports every format under the sun: including video, audio, and image formats. Literally too many to list here, but includes every format you can think of (for video and audio), including MKV, WMV, RM, Quicktime, and flash (FLV and SWF). Go here for a list.
  • Supports every conceivable device format: with pre-set conversion profiles. (iPod, iPhone, iPad, PSP, Xbox, Blackberry to name a few).
  • Maintains aspect ratio: in all conversion operations, without adding superfluous black bars on top and bottom.

The CONS

  • Little control over the output: aside from the pre-determined profiles. You cannot decide that you want your output file to be a max of 700 megs, for example, and have no say over output video or audio bitrate, etc. It always delivers a reasonable quality output though, and often results in an larger output file than the original as a consequence.
  • Will frequently produce files that are bigger than you desire: see the point above.
  • Does not burn to a high density DVD: which is rather unfortunate. It did not recognize my double density DVD as such.
  • Does not seem to enlarge a video resolution: if your video is, say, 320 pixels wide and you choose the “480×320 iPhone MP4″ profile, your output video will not have a 480 pixel width; it will remain the same size at 320 width. Note that this is not necessarily a bad decision on the part of the software, as enlarging videos will only be at the expense of quality (and your output video will be playable on the iPhone anyway). Note that if your original video had been larger than 480 pixels in width the software would have scaled it down to selected 480 pixels.
  • Does not output to flash SWF: although it does use it as an input.
  • Does not convert audio formats to other audio formats: for a program that does SO MUCH, it seems that it should be converting audio to other audio formats , and that it would be easy to add. Consider this a wish list point not a criticism.
  • Requires MS .NET Framework 4.0: I have made my peace with .NET framework, but some will find this inconvenient. Note that installing .NET Framework 4.0 on my Windows 7 took out more that a gig in hard drive space. Strange.

Freewaregenius 5-Star Pick

The verdict: this is an amazing program. It is easy to use, delivers good results, and – most notably – does SO MUCH, from converting videos and DVDs across formats to uploading to YouTube, converting video files to DVD, demuxing video files, editing, etc.

I have come to believe, in this age of Apple and the iPhone, that a clean, easy interface trumps all other considerations, which is what this app provides in spades. Yes I would have liked a little more control over the output, but as it is the program provides a lot of functionality delivered very well; highly recommended.

Having said that, perhaps the developers of this would consider an “advanced user” interface, whereby users can specify desired file size and the program could calculate the appropriate bitrate accordingly, etc. and tweak some of the other options (e.g. desired audio bitrate. etc). One could only hope.

Version Tested: 1.1.7

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7. Requires MS .NET Framework 4.0

Go to the program home page to download the latest version (approx. 10 megs).


 
 
 
Samer Kurdi

Samer Kurdi

Has been reviewing software since 2006 when he started Freewaregenius.com
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  • http://blog.markwill.com/ Mark

    Thanks for this great review. I was bummed out when Handbrake’s new version took out so many options (including output to .avi, which was what I needed for my PocketDish). I scrounged up a previous version and I’m pretty happy now, but I might give this program a try.

  • http://www.freemake.com Freemake

    Hello Samer,
    thank you for the well-done review of our software. We have considered all you wrote and started working over the following features:
    - profiles editing (definition, bitrate, codec, etc.)
    - DVD-DL support
    - output size control.

    And of course all this will be free!

    Please also note that to work with Freemake freeware you don’t have to install the entire .Net 4.0, you just need .NET Framework 4 Client Profile (41 Mb).

    • TParks

      Freemake – I am trying to use your product to transfer dvds to my Kindle Fire (I have a gen 1 and an HD). The first time I did it, the video was viewable but there was no sound. The 2nd time there was sound but it was choppy and not in sync with the video (not sure why it was different the 2nd time). Do you have any recommendations for how to fix this? Thanks.

  • what

    Great way to ruin a website: put toolbars at the bottom of your site.

    Do you think that toolbars appearing at the bottom of the website are less annoying that those that attach themselves to browsers?

    What’s next? fake links?

  • http://www.sidecarfactoryclub.com wookie

    Thanks for such an interesting review.

    I’ve installed the program and looked at the program’s page looking for a feature that it seems to lack: support for subtitles (.srt files, for example).

    For all fans of foreign movies, japanese animes and, more important, for everybody who speaks any other language than English it is a VERY important thing. It’s a shame that it’s absent in so many programs.

    I think it would be interesting if, in future reviews, you considered mentioning if subtitle support is present or not in the analyzed software.

  • http://www.iphonetunes.net Tony Karakashian

    So, you’ve mentioned the issue I have with these kinds of programs: you sacrifice some disk space in using them. I’m looking for something that will allow me to a) convert my collection of videos to some standard format and also b) perhaps save a little disk space. I don’t need them to end up a LOT bigger, I just would prefer if they at least stayed the same size.

  • http://www.iphonetunes.net Tony Karakashian

    I meant to say “I don’t need them to end up a LOT smaller…”

  • Samer

    @ Mark: I too was bummed when Handbrake ditched AVI support. Do you have a link to that prior version of Handbrake btw?

    @ Freemake: thanks guys for your feedback (and a great program). Can’t wait for the new version. Considering adding this program to my “Top Freeware” page. Hope you could also get subtitiles support implemented as wookie suggested and also output to SWF? (Might as well as for everything at once, right?)

    @ What: what, exactly, is the relation between the toolbar and fake links? I may remove the toolbar, but the reason I put it there is that I am planning to start using Twitter, and seen this toolbar being used to good effect for Twitter conversations.

    @ Wookie: you’re right, I will be mindful of subtitles support in the future

    @ Tony: I’m in the same boat; I’d love to standardize all my video files and re-encode them to save disk space whenever possible.

  • http://www.boyamax.com paint

    very well article thanks admin.

  • Pingback: Freemake Video Converter, convierte archivos y audio a diferentes formatos y graba DVD

  • hippo

    If you search for HandBrake on filehippo.com there’ll be links to older versions for you to download.

  • Alex

    I install MS .NET Framework 4.0 and then install Freemake Video Converter. But it not working. If I start programm I always see NET Framework initialization error. (((( I test it on Vista and XP.

  • http://primenichemarketing.com/ Nick

    Finally a video converter I will be able to use. And it is free!

  • Alex

    With all the cons listed I’m wondering why the verdict is “This is an amazing program”. If a nice looking GUI isn’t priority but functionality, I can recommend “XMedia Recode”.

    The homepage is in German only, but the program is multi-language.
    http://translate.google.at/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.xmedia-recode.de&sl=de&tl=en&hl=&ie=UTF-8

  • Shon

    @samer: I am not sure what version took out avi support from handbrake, but it looks like it was 0.9.4 so here is a link to 0.9.3

    http://www.mediafire.com/?gzttwkzq3nq

  • http://www.sidecarfactoryclub.com wookie

    @Samer: Thanks a lot for considering subtitles in future software reviews!

    I recently stumbled upon a similar program that aims to be simple and is freeware; though on first look (I haven’t tried it yet) seems to leave more room for tweaking conversion settings and seems to support flv. As usual, subtitle support is absent (and that’s why I haven’t tried it).

    Maybe you can put them head to head? It’s called Hamster Free Video Converter and you can find it here: http://videoconverter.hamstersoft.com/

  • Lamby

    Like Alex above, every time I try to start Freemake Video Converter I get the message “FreemakeVideoConverter.exe – .NET Framework Initialization Error” followed by a message saying I need to install “.NET Framework,Version=v4.0″. You can then click ‘Yes’ to a prompt to download and install which takes you the Microsoft website and the full version of .NET 4.0.

    The thing is I have already installed the Client Profile version of .NET 4.0 via Windows Update and even ‘Repaired’ the installation (after getting this message when trying to start Freemake Video Converter) and still I cannot start the program. I installed Freemake Video Converter as part of the ‘Freemake Suite’ and the other program ‘Freemake Video Downloader’ starts fine without any message.

    Also, the installer obviously detected .NET 4.0 as it didn’t prompt me to install it during setup.

    The Freemake website states that it requires the Client Profile version of .NET 4.0 but I wonder if Freemake Video Converter actually needs the full package? I will fire off an email to the Freemake Support.

    System: Windows XP Home SP3, .NET 1.1SP1, .NET2.0SP2, .NET3.0SP2, .NET3.5SP1, .NET4.0CP and all updates installed.

  • nata2

    I recommend Hamster Free Video Converter. Full version is free for everybody – no limits! Converts any video to iPod, iPad, iPhone, PS3, PSP, Blackberry, xBox, Zune, Apple TV, iRiver, etc. More than 200+ devices Converts to 3GP, MP3, MP4, AVI, MPG, WMV, MPEG, FLV, HD, DVD, M2TS and others! Integrated video player, , Drag-n-Drop!

    Supports 40 languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Japan, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, Korean, etc.) http://videoconverter.hamstersoft.com

  • Splangy

    Installed it on my Win7 x64 and it R-O-C-K-S. This makes fixing the lousy iPhone videos a snap. It also does a beautiful job of converting video to iPhone.

    5 stars and I see why it’s top rated. THANKS!

  • fung0

    Any user willing to install a gigabyte of .NET 4.0 to run a little utility program has clearly lost all perspective. Any developer that’s willing to rely on a runtime that’s so obviously bloated does not deserve support.

    There are better solutions out there.

  • http://www.chipoyun.com/3d-smackdown-amerikan-guresi.html smackdown oyunu

    Installed it on my Win7 x64 and it R-O-C-K-S. This makes fixing the lousy iPhone videos a snap. It also does a beautiful job of converting video to iPhone.

  • Nishant

    Having same problem as Alex and Lamby on my windows vista machine. Anybody has any idea what is the issue here?

  • David

    Good review but you should check the latest version (1.3.0) as-well.

    It is SO much more…

  • gary croft

    Need some help joining, How to do-I click on button and ON comes up but nothing happens,can I join 3 or 4 files or just 2? Any info would be helpful and Certainly Appreciated.

  • Michele

    I have a problem with the 2.1.5.I open the app>>>>starting…>>>Program error:unable to generate a temporary class(result=1).error CS0002:unable to load message string from resources.

    Why?

    I have Win Xp sp 3 with the framework etc…help please

    Thanks

    M

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  • Jake

    I found that when i converted to the psp format it doesn’t actually work on my psp. It says video format not supported.

  • BW

    Have been converting a few Chinese movie with subtitle for iPad. Still OK to accept UTF-8 only, although I have to change the coding from UTF-16 to UTF-8. The problem is, not all lines of subtitles are included. Seems randomly omitted, and as a result, about 80% of lines included only. Anyone had experience in this?
    Besides this problem, the software is nice and straight forward as I don’t like to deal with those difficult settings.

  • Rasputin

    For some reason with some dvds I’m trying to convert into MP4 the language output is not English – any suggestions or thoughts greatly appreciated!

  • deewinc

    Dear,

    The program used to work so fine until like a month ago when it did began to crush before it starts whenever I execute it& it displays the following information.

    Problem signature:
    Problem Event Name: CLR20r3
    Problem Signature 01: freemakevc.exe
    Problem Signature 02: 3.0.1.0
    Problem Signature 03: 4ef07b72
    Problem Signature 04: NLog
    Problem Signature 05: 2.0.0.0
    Problem Signature 06: 4c9fe180
    Problem Signature 07: 11e
    Problem Signature 08: 31
    Problem Signature 09: System.TypeInitialization
    OS Version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.256.1
    Locale ID: 1033
    Additional Information 1: 0a9e
    Additional Information 2: 0a9e372d3b4ad19135b953a78882e789
    Additional Information 3: 0a9e
    Additional Information 4: 0a9e372d3b4ad19135b953a78882e789

    Trying to let it look for a solution online does not help& I have uninstalled it, re-install it& even went as far as getting a newer version but still the above info is being displayed.

    I have NET 4.0 since there are other programs that depend on it so I don’t mind about it. It’s a great& easy tool to use& I have gone as much as using Xilisoft, Quick Media, AVC& others& this software beats all those softwares even some are premium pants down.

    That’s why I still want to use it for it’s perfect& quality output. Any help?

  • Ted

    To me, the best features of Freemake are its simplicity, and its preciseness in editing. And speed of conversion is good to very good. However, there’s a log list of drawbacks, and the developers have just added two big ones, and a third that may be just my imagination.: 1) you can no longer download the program file and install it at your leisure where you see fit. Instead, they’ve gone to a two-step process that I consider outrageous. You must download a small installer. When you click that, the big download begins and it installs the program automatically. You can retrieve the full install from your temp location, but the program is already installed by then. I have no idea what advantage this has for the developers, but it is a severe nuisance to me.

    The second new irritant is a “like us on Facebook” panel they put in the processing window during conversion. You can dismiss the window that takes up most of the processing window, but it comes right back the next time. I suppose that once you “like” them, the panel goes away, but I sure don’t like being nagged into liking something.

    Thirdly, the output on my conversions to MP4 seems to be ever so slightly less clear, brighter and less saturated than on version 2.3.4.2 that I’ve gone back to in order to avoid all of the above.

    Oh, and I forgot something else. updates occur almost weekly, a nuisance in itself, but even worse is that you can never tell what’s updated and their change log is never up to date.

    All that said, I do a lot of editing, and there is no one single program that does it all, and none allow for easier editing than Freemake. Xmedia Recode has a enormous speed advantage in straight conversion, however, when you simply want to go from, say, MPG to MP4 without editing anything, and XMedia Recode also provides much more fine-tuning ability, but then it become much slower that Freemake when processing the final output. However, XMedia allows for precise cropping, and Freemake does not. Freemake offers several varieties of auto-cropping, none of which appear to actually work.

    And Freemake will not handle WTV or DVR-MS files recorded through Media Center. So I convert them very quickly with XMedia, and then edit them in Freemake. Then I take that edit and run it through Handbrake which also crops accurately and can significantly shrink the output further without noticeable quality loss. I can also deinterlace and denoise at the same time.

    Now about Freemake’s generally superb editing ability, there are some quirks, not all of which I’m likely to remember here. The biggest one, aside from being unable to edit the aforementioned WTV files, occurs when you reach the very end of your newly edited file and you want to mark the end point for deleting the last portion. If you hit the fast forward button by mistake, and it’s easy to do, the program will freeze and you will lose your entire edit… and your mind, at least temporarily.

    Also, there’s a fast forward button as I said, but there’s no fast reverse, so it can get very tedious trying to find the point you want to go back to by holding the single frame button down. Avidemux actually offers far superior forward and back buttons and equally precise editing, but it can drive you nuts with it’s own quirks, such as sound being out of synch or a dreaded warning message that you can’t start at the frame you want to start at.

    Lastly (I know), if you want to undo an edit in Freemake, there’s no undo button. You have to right-click the editing screen and click “undo edit.”

    Still and all, Freemake does what it does better than any other program I’ve found, but I’ll never”like” it on Facebook no matter how much they annoy me, and I won’t upgrade again until they start posting their changes and stop the two-step hassle… So to the Freemake guys, thank you so very much for what you’ve done… and please stop doing what you’re doing!

  • AtomAnt

    Was working well until now! Click to launch then it simply loads but it does not show! I uninstalled then reinstalled! Nothing! Any advice?

  • http://www.bestwebmconverter.com WebmConverter

    Freemake is great but it takes so such computer resources at conversion, it also needs .Net Framework to be installed. As a sophisticated user, i am not going to look for the program with a fancy interface, i just need the work to be done easily with my oddly computer. If there are some one like me, just give Format Factory a try.
    BTW, Freemake does not batch convert files.

  • http://n/a Rhiannon

    I downloaded this program and its awesome and fairly easy to use but i was just wondering is there a way/place to save the work i did with this program?? For ex – i have several short video clips of a dry lightening storm here and i was able to cut out blank parts and make them all into one 2 min video and i see where i can save it on youtube or even my ipod touch but is there a way to save each of the video clips that i did work on in the program? or the only way to “save” it is to put it on youtube etc? Thanks God bless – Rhiannon