How to Convert RealMedia to MP4 Using Linux


Converting a RealMedia video file to an MP4 file can be a tricky process no matter what operating system you use. An MP4 (or MPEG-4) file consists of a video file and a separate audio file. Various MP4-compatible formats can be used for the video file, including Apple's H264 format. The audio is usually an AAC file. However, even if your conversion software can correctly convert the separate parts of the MP4 file, you still need to ensure that the two files are stored in the right "container." The process is straightforward with FFmpeg, a standard Linux utility.

Things You'll Need

  • FFmpeg
  • Install FFmpeg if it is not already installed. Since FFmpeg is a standard utility, it should be available from within your package manager. For example, in ArchLinux, type "pacman -S ffmpeg" in a terminal.

  • Convert the file. Type the following in a single line from a terminal:

    ffmpeg -i REAL_FILE -vcodec mpeg4 -sameq -acodec aac -ab ABITRATE EXPORTED_FILE.mp4

    This converts "REAL_FILE" to an MP4 with the same video quality as the original file (the -sameq switch), with "ABITRATE" as the audio bitrate, and with file name "EXPORTED_FILE.mp4."

  • Play the converted file on any video player that supports the MP4 format such as Mplayer or VLC. If you are not satisfied with the audio, use a different "ABITRATE" setting in Step 2.

  • Follow this example: convert a RealVideo file named "test.rm" to an MP4 file named "test.mp4" with an audio bitrate of 92 kilobytes per second.

    ffmpeg -i test.rm -vcodec mpeg4 -sameq -acodec aac -ab 92 test.mp4

Tips & Warnings

  • You cannot convert a low-quality file into a high-quality file by using high bitrate settings.
  • For Web files, an audio bitrate of 92 or 128 kilobytes per second should give good quality.
  • The order that you type in the switches in FFmpeg is important.

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