avidemux_logo.jpgIn this guide I will describe you how to convert a video file to Xvid/H264 using Avidemux. For those who haven't heard it before, Avidemux is a free video editor for Windows, Linux and MAC. In this tutorial I have used the Linux version.

The idea of writing this guide came to my mind while I was copying videos from my digital camera to my computer. I own a Canon Digital Ixus which although it is and old model I am very satisfied from its images quality. However it captures video using the MJPEG format and PCM audio codec. This means that for a 30 seconds video at 30 frames per rate it needs about 53MB of space in my hard disk disk drive. Although that there are very cheap hard disks nowadays I thought of reencoding these videos so that don't need so much space. So let's move with the guide.

This is the main window of the Qt version of Avidemux. Click on File > Open to load your video file.


First I will convert my video to Xvid with mp3 audio using AVI as container.


Select MPEG-4 ASP (Xvid) from the Video drop down list and press the Configure button. Here you can select Average Bitrate (Two Pass) Encoding Mode with 800 kbit/s Average Bitrate. This will give a very good quality with good video size as well. Unless you want to experiment with your videos leave all the other settings to their default values.


Next select MP3 (lame) from the Audio drop down list and press the Configure button. Here I have selected Stereo Channel mode, with CBR bitrate at 128 kbit/s.


Next click on the Filters button. Here select the Resampling (Hz) option. 48000Hz is fine. You can also use Dynamic range compression.


Note: If you don't choose the correct options an error message will appear saying

Encoder initialization failed
Not activated, make sure number of channels and bitrate are compatible with encoder!
Error initializing audio filters

Make sure that you have chosen AVI as the output format and now you are ready to save your video. Select File > Save > Save video and give a name to your video. Press Ok and the conversion will begin.


The size of my encoded video is now only 2,9MB with very good quality!

Now I am gonna try another video codec. From the Video codecs list select MPEG-4 AVC (x264). Again in the Configure options select Two Pass Average Bitrate encoding with 800kbit/s bitrate. Leave all the other settings as they are.


In the Audio codecs select AC3 (lav), and in the Filters options select Resampling to 48000Hz and Dynamic range compression enabled.


This time as container format select MKV (matroska) and you are ready to save the video.


The size of my x264 video is 3,2MB but it has much better quality than the xvid one.

Of course you can experiment yourselves with both codecs and with different bitrates to see what is best for your eyes and your needs.

Avidemux is a powerful video tool which also allows you to edit your videos add filters on them and has many other options. However this is going to be another guide! I hope I gace you a little help on Avidemux, enjoy!

Comments (6)

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Good Rip Info
Satyam , July 03, 2010
Thanks alot for this...much appreciated
J , July 22, 2010
just want to point out
I just wanted to point out to you that the mkv is bigger because the audio is raw and the avi the audio is mp3 try to pick the ac3 audio for mkv it will get a much smaller file size.
Badee , August 21, 2010
You are right Badee. It's my fault that I forgot to set a codec for the audio.
axel , August 26, 2010
thanks for this guide. I kept getting the error about Build Chain - Didn't know I had to check the boxes in the audio filters for resampling and range compression.
Eric , June 15, 2011
Thanks. good tut
A very complete tut. I think it covered everything.
Ambareesh , July 14, 2011

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