Please note – the screenshots below are from an old version of Clipchamp, however the new version still lets you convert your drone footage so it can be played on any other device.
Many quadcopters at the lower-end of the market that are sold as kids or entry-level models come with built-in video cameras that use a specific video format for their recordings – the MJPEG video codec inside an AVI file container.
The same is true for other cheaper video cameras that are sold as kids toys, part of IP home security systems, thumb cameras and the like.
The reason for this is that recording video as MJPEG is not as processing intense as using other, more modern codecs such as H.264 and enables manufacturers of toy cameras, thumb cameras and cameras used in affordable drones to use cheaper electronics to encode & store the video stream during recording, bringing down the overall manufacturing costs of the device.
The downside is that not all computers are able to play back MJPEG-encoded video. For instance if your Windows PC doesn’t have the right video codecs installed, it won’t recognise the file coming directly off these types of camera. The same goes for some Android and iOS tablets and smartphones.
To solve this problem, it’s best to convert the video file to a more modern format – using H.264 for the video codec and MP4 for the video file container. This will ensure that you can play the videos you record with a lower-end camera without fail. It also reduces the video’s file size in most cases at no visible quality loss and thus allows for easier storing and sharing.
The best way to go about this is to use a free video converter such as clipchamp. Our team specifically built it to work on all operating systems as it runs directly inside your browser – though your videos get processed on your computer, not in the Cloud, and never leave your computer unless you decide to share them.
Clipchamp is fastest in Chrome but also works in Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer 10 and above. It can convert any MJPEG AVI file to MP4, regardless of the camera you recorded the video with and the converted clip is guaranteed to play on any modern device.
Here is what one of our users had to say (thanks for the kind words!)
Tutorial – Here is how to do it
If you want to convert an MJPEG/AVI video yourself, these are the steps involved.
Go to our free video converter and select your input file
Pick an input video from your local computer or your Google Drive account.
Choose an output setting that suits your needs
For instance, Web 720p works well if your input file is an HD video that you want to publish on the web or store locally.
The settings in the centre of the quality slider won’t take too long to convert/compress your input video and will yield very good output quality. If in doubt, leave the preselected setting and see if you like the resulting video.
Hit the “Convert video!” button and let clipchamp do its thing
After the processing is done, the finished output video file will appear in section 5) Save & share converted videos
Note the size of the compressed video – only 56% of the original.
From here, you can save the file locally, upload it to your Google Drive account or share it directly on Facebook, YouTube or Vimeo.
You can also install clipchamp from the Chrome Store for quicker access.
Does this also apply to videos shot on more expensive drones?
No, you won’t run into the same problem with the format of videos shot on high-end drones as the cameras used in those are higher quality and produce industry-standard video in MP4 or another common format. However even with footage from top equipment it can help to compress and convert it for easier processing and sharing online.