Ubuntu recognizes a variety of video formats. The formats created by the MPEG group, Apple, and Microsoft dominate, however. At the heart of video formats are the codecs the encoders and decoders of the video and audio information. These codecs are typically proprietary, but free codecs do exist. Here is a list of the most common video formats and their associated file extensions:
• .mpeg The MPEG video format; also known as .mpg
• .qt The QuickTime video format from Apple
• .mov Another QuickTime video format
• .avi The Windows audio visual format
Win32 codecs (the common name for codecs that are supported under Windows) are not available with Ubuntu from the word go. Instead, you need to do a little hunting around in order to enable them. The easiest way to get a hold of the codecs is to download the EasyUbuntu script and use it to install the codecs (See Chapter 4 ).
If you need to convert video from one format to another, you use encoder applications called grabbers . These applications take raw video data from a video device such as a camera or TV card, and convert it to one of the standard MPEG formats or to a still image format, such as JPEG or GIF. Ubuntu does not supply any encoder applications (other than ppmtompeg which encodes MPEG-1 video), but you can find them at http://www.freshrpms.net/ or another online source (see the "Reference " section at the end of this chapter).
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