[Beginner’s Guide] What is Transcoding? Why Is It Important? How to Transcode Videos?

Living in today’s streaming world, you must’ve heard of the term “transcoding” now and then. And that keeps you wondering what transcoding is and makes you finally land on this page. Well, this is the right place where you can find your wanted answer. Plus, you will also have the chance to get a direct insight into transcoding as we would show you how to transcode videos here for free. Read on for detailed information!

Michelle | Mar 23, 2021

What is Transcoding?

Why Transcoding Video Important?

(Free Tutorial) How to Transcode Videos?

What is Transcoding?

In the context of the video, transcoding, or video encoding, is a digital-to-digital conversion of one encoding to another. And that process commonly involves at least one of the following conversions – container format conversions such as MKV to MP4 and MP4 to MP3, codec conversions such as H.264 to H.265, resolution conversion such as 1080P to 4K, size conversion (compression), bitrate conversion, and more.

Free Video Transcoder

WonderFox Free HD Video Converter Factory allows you to do all kinds of video transcoding, including format conversion, re-encoding, bitrate changing, video compression, quality upscaling/downscaling, etc., with high efficiency. Give it a try!

Why Transcoding Video Important?

Video transcoding is needed more often than ever in today’s multimedia era, especially with the streaming industry on a tear. For example, when your device does not support a 4K resolution, but you want to play a 4K movie on that device from your Plex server, the Plex server will have to downscale the video resolution to your device-compatible resolution to secure a smooth video playback on your device. And that resolution-downscaling process is transcoding. Or a more common case is when you are doing live streaming, the raw data captured by the camera will be transcoded into various renditions so the end-user can watch the streaming content on different devices and at different quality. Such transcoding is also called cloud video encoding that is automatically done without your interference.

There are times you also need to transcode videos yourself. The common circumstances are:

1. The current video file is not compatible with your device;

If a video can be successfully played on other people’s devices but not on yours, it is largely because it is in the wrong video format that is not supported by your device. Take the MOV files, the .mov videos can be smoothly played on Apple products but not natively on Android phones. Either you can get a MOV player or transcode it to Android-friendly formats to make it compatible with your device.

Related Post: iPhone Won't Play Videos | Android Won’t Play Videos

2. The current video file is too large for your device;

This is very true in transcoding footage, a raw and unedited material recorded by the camera. It's impractical to just share the footage with others because of its big size and the unsupported raw format. Luckily, you can transcode footage in many video editing software like Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, Camtasia, etc.

Also, when you have a small device memory, transcoding the video to a smaller size file is recommended.

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3. The current video file is expected to upload to online platforms (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, etc.)

This is one of the major reasons why transcoding videos are so important. The online video-sharing platforms have their particular rules for uploading videos in terms of size, resolution, format, length, and so forth. And you have to transcode your videos to match their proper specs to guarantee a successful or smooth upload.

Related Post: Upload Video to Twitter | Upload Video to Tumblr | Upload Video to YouTube | Upload Video to Facebook | Upload Video to Instagram

From the above information, you should know that transcoding videos is crucial if you want to make your video viewable on various devices and platforms. If you are in the need of transcoding videos or want to learn how to transcode videos, you can read the next part where we have prepared a free tutorial on this matter.

(Free Tutorial) How to Transcode Videos?

Video transcoding is easy as long as you use the right video transcoder. Many people choose the open-source Handbrake to do the transcoding, but we don’t recommend that software because of its rather steep learning curve. Yet, if you are interested in Handbrake, you can check our Handbrake Tutorial. For new beginners, we would suggest a Handbrake alternative named WonderFox Free HD Video Converter Factory, also a free & safe program and with equally powerful transcoding features, if not more. And you don’t need to be a tech genius using this software. We have prepared a simple tutorial on this software below.

Reasons We Choose WonderFox Free HD Video Converter Factory over Handbrake:

1. Self-explanatory features with easier access;
2. Preset specs for all mainstream devices and platforms;
3. Advanced GPU-acceleration support;
4. More good-looking user interface;
5. Suitable for the skilled person as well as newbies;

Before start, please free download free download the software and install it on your PC.

Free Download

Compatible with Windows

100% Clean & Safe

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Step 1. Import the Video into the Transcoder

Launch Free HD Video Converter Factory and open the “Converter.” Click “+ Add Files” to import the video into this converter. Or you can throw the video into this program directly.

Step 2. Make Transcoding Preparations

>> To Transcode Format (container format & codec & platforms): Click on the format image on the right side of the workspace to open the format page. There you will see all the available formats and preset specs, including MP4, MKV, AVI, MP3, WAV, H264, H265, VP9, DVIX, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Yahoo, iPhone, Xbox, Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, and so on. Choose your preferred output format.

>> To Transcode Size/Quality: Below the output format where the “Quick setting” is, drag the slider to anywhere between 480P and 4K to quickly upscale/downscale or enlarge/downsize the video.

>> To Transcode Other Parameters: Open the “Parameter Settings” under the format image. There you will see all the available options, such as encoder, resolution, bitrate, frame rate, aspect ratio, etc. Tweak these settings in any way you like.

Step 3. Start Transcoding

When you are ready, hit “Run” to start the transcoding process.


That’s all for video transcoding and the related stuff. If you have any questions or doubts about this article, please feel free to contact me on Twitter, and I’ll be glad to help.

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