How do I Convert MOV to Mp4?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Apple® QuickTime® uses a digital file format called MOV (.mov). MOV is called a container format because it is capable of holding contents of different types and formats, including, but not limited to, audio, video, images, text, and sprite, each of which is stored on a different track, but it was created so that developers could also extend it to contain other media types. MP4 is both a shorthand name for part 14 of the MPEG-4 (Moving Picture Experts Group) standard (.mp4) and for the entire MPEG-4 technology, including .m4v, a type of MPEG-4 file. Since,m4v is the Apple® file format used on a variety of devices, including iPhone®, iPod®, and Apple TV®, it can be useful to convert MOV to MP4 for playing the movie on an iPod®, for example, while converting to .mp4 can be desirable for posting to online sites such as VIMEO®.

Woman doing a handstand with a computer
Woman doing a handstand with a computer

A lot of different file types can be imported into an MOV file. These include AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format), AVI (Audio Video Interleave), AU (Audio Unit), MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MP3, QuickTime® movies, WAV (Waveform Audio File Format), etc. However, no matter what file types an MOV starts out with, to convert MOV to MP4—whether .mv4 or .mp4—is very easy with QuickTime® 7 Pro or with other video converters.

The key to convert MOV files to MP4 with QuickTime® 7Pro is understanding the ‘Export’ menu of choices. To begin with, open QuickTime® 7 Pro. Use File > Open File to open a .mov file. Then navigate to File > Export. A dialog called ‘Save exported file as…’ will open. In the top drop-down menu labeled ‘Export:’ you will find a range of choices. Choosing either ‘Movie to iPhone’ or ‘Move to iPod’ will prepare for an .mv4 conversion, while choosing ‘Movie to MPEG-4’ will prepare for an .mp4 conversion.

In either case, there will be an options button to the right of the ‘Export’ drop-down, where you can make further choices about video, audio, and streaming by choosing the individual tabs for each of these items. The video format choices include the video format, the data rate, the image size, the frame rate, and the key frames. The audio format choices include the audio format, data rate, channels, output sample rate, and encoding quality. A summary of the results is given at the bottom of the dialog for convenience, so that you can see the choices for all the tabs while looking at any individual tab.

If you don’t need as many options, you can quickly and easily convert MOV to MP4 in iTunes® if you have version 6.0.7 or later. Begin by opening iTunes®. Choose ‘Movies’ in ‘Library’ and select the MOV file you wish to convert. Navigate to the Advanced menu and choose ‘Convert Selection for iPod,’ and conversion will begin immediately. This either makes things simpler, looked at one way, or prevents you from making the fuller array of choices offered in QuickTime®.

If you want to convert MOV to MP4 with other software, it is possible to find freeware or paid software to do so. The steps will likely be quite similar to the steps you take in QuickTime® 7 Pro. Three possible differences are being able to drag files to the converter interface rather than opening the files, editing capabilities, and the need to specify the original file format.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments

howtoupp

You can use Avdshare Video Converter to Convert AVI to iTunes supported MP4, M4V or MOV without re-compressing video data or losing any video quality.

Melonlity

There is a lot of great freeware that will let you convert from and to just about any video format you'd like. A little digging around can turn up some great stuff, but be careful -- for every great, open source video conversion package out there, it seems there are at least two that are packed with spyware. With a bit of research and some advice from people who know about such things, however, you'll find some video conversion packages that are free and have no strings attached.

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