Take your Media to Go with Freemake Audio and Video Converters

One of the great things about Windows is the abundance of freeware available for just about every function you can think of, and for all kinds of users too. This is, in my opinion, one of the most important factors to take into account when selecting an OS to work with and Windows scores very high here.

However, a large range of apps also poses the problem of users having to choose the right one, particularly in the case of perhaps the most popular categories of apps – media converters.

Audio and video conversion apps have been in the spotlight since the days of the first Apple iPod and gained importance over time with the flood of multimedia devices in the market like smartphones and tablets. Given such a wide variety of devices and the fact that most people own more than one multimedia gadget, there’s a real need for an app that can handle conversion to multiple formats with a usable interface.

Freemake decided to fill that void with their audio and video converters that are aimed at users of all types and feature support for tons of devices and formats.

Let’s try them both out and see how they match up to the competition.

Overview

Freemake offers two separate free tools for converting audio and video files to and from various formats. They both sport well-designed interfaces that are a joy to work with and simplify the process of converting your media. The audio converter is a bit basic as compared to the video converter but both are just fine for personal use.

Importing tracks into Freemake Audio Converter

Importing tracks into Freemake Audio Converter

Freemake Audio Converter

Installing Freemake Audio Converter (FAC) is a snap and doesn’t require you to download additional codecs. Once you’ve done that, all you need to do is choose an audio track (or several) and import them into FAC. You can even drag and drop files onto the window if you like. The app looks great and everything is easy to find.

The window features a list of your imported audio files (with relevant information like duration, file size and current bitrate) and below that, buttons to select your preferred output format. You can convert to and from MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC, AAC, M4A and OGG.

Converting audio files is a breeze – just click on any of the format buttons below, choose a preset for the format (from a list), select an output location (like your desktop or a music folder) and click Convert. You can even have the converted files exported directly to iTunes. Conversion parameters allow a basic amount of control such as bitrate, channels, sample rate and sample size – and you can edit or create new presets for each format to suit your needs.

You can also choose to join your audio files in the order they’ve been imported into a single output file. So if you’re creating a party playlist that you want to just fire and forget, or want to put together MP3 files for an audiobook, FAC can handle it.

MP3 conversion options in FAC

MP3 conversion options in FAC

I can’t stress how refreshing the UI is compared to other converters – everything from the large readable buttons to the information display on each window and the icon design makes FAC a joy to use. On my test PC (an AMD dual-core 2.3 GHz system with 4GB RAM running Windows 7 32-bit), it took about 4 minutes a convert a 12-track WMA album to MP3, which isn’t bad.

One thing that FAC could use is a way to add information to tracks like artist, album, track number, album art and so on. Other than that, it gets the job done and looks good while doing so.

Freemake Video Converter

Freemake Video Converter (FVC) offers many more features than FAC and it was fun discovering them all. For starters, you can convert files to AVI, MP4, , WMV, MPEG, MKV, FLV, SWF, HTML5, 3GP, MP3 (for those tracks you’ve downloaded from YouTube), and even DVD and Blu-Ray.

There are also specific presets for various Apple (Apple TV, iPod, iPhone and iPad), Android, Sony, Nokia, Samsung and Blackberry devices. Plus, you can use this app to upload files directly to YouTube without having to open your browser.

FVC works just like FAC – drop in your video files, choose a format and preset and go. You can set multiple parameters for audio and encoding for your files and queue up as many as you need to. A couple of neat features you’ll notice in FVC are the ability to join multiple files to output a single file and to shut down the PC after the conversion queue is complete. A 6-minute video took about 2.5 minutes to convert on my test PC.

MP4 encoding options in Freemake Video Converter

MP4 encoding options in Freemake Video Converter

Before you convert your videos you can also do some basic editing with FVC – this includes cutting out parts of videos that you don’t want using a simple preview/timeline editor, rotating the video and flipping it horizontally/vertically. You can also add subtitles to your videos, which will get hardcoded in the output file.

Cutting a video in FVC

Cutting a video in FVC

If you were intrigued by the format list which included HTML5, you’re in for a treat – FVC not only converts the videos into the necessary OGV, WebM and MP4 formats, but also opens a web browser with a page that explains how to upload and successfully integrate those files into your website with code snippets.

Similarly, if you convert a file to FLV, you’ll get an option to generate an HTML page with a usable Flash video player that you can embed on your site. This shows a great understanding of user needs and earns the app a ton of brownie points with the web development community!

HTML5 video upload instructions from FVC

HTML5 video upload instructions from FVC

FVC comes with an optional plugin for browsers (including Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome) which allows you to download and convert videos with just a couple of clicks. Or, just copy a video’s URL to your clipboard and click Paste URL in the app, and FVC will queue the video instantly. By default FVC will pick up the highest quality version of the video that is available.

FVC can also generate simple photo slideshows – just add all the pictures you want and choose an audio file and click Convert. You can even preview the slideshow with your chosen music and choose between two transition effects and how long each image is displayed. Lastly, you can even import audio tracks into FVC – select a visualization to run with them and create a video file. This is great if you want to upload an audio track to Youtube but don’t have any visuals to go with them.

Conclusion

Freemake’s audio and video converters are well-designed and work really well for most users. While FAC could use a few more features to round out the offering, FVC is just perfect and covers all bases without becoming cumbersome.

I highly recommend these tools to anyone looking to move media between their various devices. The great price of free doesn’t hurt either, so head over to Freemake’s website, download the tools and take your media to go!


Summary

Freemake's audio and video converters allow you to convert music and video to and from multiple formats. Both apps feature intuitively-designed UIs, are easy to use and suitable for all kinds of users.

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