If you save videos to your hard drive for offline playback with flash video detection software on a somewhat regular basis, you might have surely noticed that the format for these videos can be in F4V. The F4V container file format is, in short, a higher-quality FLV file encoded with H.264 video standard (for more explanations, see the excellent Digital Video Formats Explained in plain English). Most powerhouse media players, such as VLC and Splayer, and Adobe Flash Player (which you should have as a plugin if you use Chrome, otherwise, get it at the official site) can read F4V files without much as a hiccup.
However, if you fancy editing this type of video, even simple edits like trimming, you might have a hard time finding compatible programs as not many any video-editing software available for free, can handle it. Most software that claim to do this are of the commercial variety, which you’ll find roaming the web and Google search results (try MakeUseof’s master list of search tips).
To remedy this, the most likely route to go will probably just be to re-encode into a common container file, such as AVI. Here are some converters that can convert these tricky-for-DVD-burning F4V files. Finally, those rare clips from Tudou and similar video-sharing sites won’t have to go to waste.
I first expressed my satisfaction with the open-source Avidemux video editor, noting how it could embed subtitles in MP4 and FLV files, file types which the more commonly-used application for permanent subtitle “burning”, VirtualDub, doesn’t support (while it can do plenty of other tasks, like merging multiple videos). It actually can also read F4V files.
If you have some experience using VirtualDub, you probably won’t have much trouble using Avidemux. If you’ve never used it, here’s a quick rundown. After you open the video you want to use, Avidemux initially will ask you whether you want to use another non-crashing mode, but since it might also lead to changes applying to inaccurate frames, I usually choose ‘No’.
You might also get a warning about rebuilding your frame index, which you can usually just click ‘Yes’ to.
The generic name of this application may not hint at specific file formats, but rest assured, it does handle the file type in question. There’s a collection of video-ripping and converting software from this software publisher so just perform a search on CNET’s download.com for your specific device. Make sure to opt out of the DVDVideoSoft toolbar, unless you desperately want your homepage and default search engines to be changed to DVDVideoSoft’s web search.
As the name suggests, you’ll be able to convert the video to an iPhone-friendly MP4. This converter is simple as simple gets. You can choose 3 quality presets that change settings for formats according to the device that the video destined to reside in. There are the standard options to mass convert and to turn off the computer once conversion is completed, but there are also some unique features — namely, the ability to add converted videos to a new iTunes playlist, change the theme, and the fact that it’s available in 12 languages.
Now, I’ve only seen listed these two which worked great for me, but you might have luck with other video converters. I know I tried Hamster Video Converter and it couldn’t open this file, while I did have more luck with Daniusoft Video Converter Pro, which is paid. Surprisingly, I did get a few converters that don’t actually list F4V in their supported file formats to read it fine, so I’d recommend trying whatever converter you have first.
If you want to skip conversion altogether and own an iDevice; try these recently-featured free apps, VLC and OPlayer. If you know of an alternative for Android handsets or know of converters that support F4V, share it with us in the comments!