House Call: Uncle Sergio’s Camcorder


photo by C.P.Storm

I was talking to my Uncle Sergio at a family party a few weeks ago. He mentioned he bought a new camcorder but hasn’t been able to transfer the footage shot with the camcorder to a DVD. I told him I’d make a house call to help him out, and I was able to finally set aside some time for him over the weekend.

He has a JVC Everio Digital Camcorder. It’s a hard disk based camcorder. I connected the camcorder to his laptop via USB. From there, I was able to browse the folders. I came across some .mod files which were rather large, so I thought the video was most likely in those .mod files.

What the fuck is a .mod file? Turns out it’s a regular old mpeg-2 video stream wrapped in JVC’s silly non-standard container format. I copied the .mod files to his desktop and double clicked them. The default program that was associated with the .mod files was Nero, but the trial expired.

I downloaded and installed VLC because it usually plays almost anything I throw at it, however, it wasn’t able to play the .mod file. I did a quick Google search and discovered that all you have to do is rename the .mod files to .mpg instead. I tried it, and VLC played them beautifully.

Now, I needed a simple way to put these videos on DVD. He still uses Windows, so DVD Flick came immediately to mind. DVD Flick is a great example of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) that is way easier to use than its commercial alternatives. DVD Flick worked like a charm, and I was able to teach him how to put his videos on DVD.

Now, my Uncle Sergio is able to make DVD’s from his baby shower and the birth of his first baby. More importantly, me and my girls got to spend some time with my few days old nephew.

Next time, I told him I’d show him how to upload his videos online, so he can just send links to his friends and family. I loathe optical discs. Online distribution FTW!

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- Alpha Mesh

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