The interestingness of a piece of video on the Internet can often lie in direct proportion to the level of obscurity of the file format in which it is encoded.
VLC has never once failed to open whatever obscure piece of video I’ve dropped into it and I highly recommend it. VLC – or more formally, the VLC Media Client – is a video and audio player created and maintained by a globally-distributed army of computer programmers. They’ve graciously decided to give their tool their tool away for free (as in beer and speech). Subsequently, it can be used on just about any computer made in the last 20 years – not only Mac and Windows machines, but also 11 different flavors of Linux and eldritch beasts like Solaris and OS/2.
Occasionally I want to share some of these interesting yet obscurely formatted videos with family and friends or just keep them around as archival footage. That means I need to convert them into a format that natively works within the Apple ecosystem. While spunky VLC can be used to do this too, I always turn to a more focused tool with a similar nerd pedigree: Miro Video Converter. It spun-off from the fruits of yet another army of programmers who created Miro, a free, open-source video and audio player that can actually be used as an iTunes alternative.
To use Miro Video Converter, you simply drag your video files into its main window, pick the type of device you want to watch them on, and click the Convert button. I always use “Apple – AppleTV” as my target device, which produces results consistent with “Apple – Apple Universal.”