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Posted by Jason Copper- Contact Author

Top 5 Free Video Converters for macOS Catalina

Alerts in iMovie and Final Cut Pro indicate that legacy media files won't be compatible with macOS Catalina, and users can detect and convert those files natively before system update. However, there are masses who fail to notice that alert before updating, and end up here eager to find a trustworthy converter tool to help transcode buntch of incompatible video/audio formats on macOS Catalina.

Choosing a free video converter for macOS Catalina should be easier and faster now. Because this macOS version only supports 64 bit applications which has already set a higher bar for blooming new converters and many old transcoding programs. But the fact is, without a set standard, we are still at sea picking an ideal video converter for daily use on Catalina.

Criteria like FREE of charge, perfect compatibility, dummy-proof, fast & stable, abundant input/output codec support, lightweight, instant support, and bonus features surely add up to the best video converter choice. But no single converter can cover all, and we should choose wisely.

Criteria

FFmepg

Handbrake

Smart converter

Prism

Videoproc

FREE of charge

50% OFF

Dummy-proof

X |How to convert MKV to MP4

No.4

No.1

No.3

No.2

Fast & stable

No.2

No.3

No.5

No.4

No.1

H/W Acc

Abundant input/output codec support

X

X

Lightweight

No.3

No.4

No.1

No.5

No.2

Instant tech support

X

X

X

X

Bonus features

X

Open source - FFmpeg free transcoder for mac 4.2.1 for macOS Catalina

Speaking of free converters for macOS, FFmpeg indeed rules. FFmpeg is an open-source free project widely used for formats transcoding, very powerful and developer-driven. "It supports the most obscure ancient formats like Indeo, up to the cutting edge HEVC videos." Many multimedia projects adopt FFmpeg as their key component so that they can provide format transcoding features along with other utilities. However, without a GUI, users are still afraid of using it, seeing it as a tool totally for tech nerds. Using FFmpeg generally requires users to be familiar with command lines, but to convert a media format, one only need to remember or copy the same one simple command line – $ ffmpeg -i input.mp4 output.avi

Video file extension
FFmpeg - Free Video Converter for macOS Catalina

Pros: Cover old legacy formats, weird formats and corrupted files
Cons: Not very user-friendly, something of a long learning curve

Open source - HandBrake 1.2.2 free video converter for macOS Catalina

On macOS Catalina, you should never miss out HandBrake! Being as another open source transcoding solution besides FFmpeg, Handbrake caters more for user experience. It provides an easy to use GUI while borrowing the exact libavcodec, libavformat and libvpx developed by FFmpeg team. So, you can enjoy both the efficiency - batch converting video formats/converting to target devices – and the powerful transcoding engine. And you may like HandBrake for another reason - you can tweak HandBrake into a DRM remover and Blu-ray Discs decrypter.

 

Intermediate video codecs
Handbrake - Free Video Converter for macOS Catalina

Pros: Powerful and efficient
Cons: Malware alert

FFmpeg vs HandBrake: which open source free video converter for macOS Catalina to choose?

For most users, we still recommend HandBrake for efficiency as GUI is much easier to operate and understand. Legacy codecs and formats do exsist but they are not regular visitors. And in most cases, HandBrake is capable enough to meet up your transcoding need. Also, as open source media converters, these two programs do not have tech support teams to be there whenever you need. It might take months or a year to get a reply from those developers without the guarantee of correct answer.

Freeware - Smart Converter 3.0.1 converter for macOS Catalina

Simple and focused. I would say that this Smart Converter 3.0 new version is a real doer. It's lightweight, device targeted and totally idiot-proof, especially in comparison with FFmpeg and HandBrake. With a self-illustrative user interface, this Converter for Mac clearly squeezes all the key functions and needed media info on its cute small panel.

 

Smart Converter - Free Video Converter for macOS Catalina

Pros: Opt for low-demand users.
Convert only the incompatible track of a file.

Cons: You have to rate before use.
Does not support batch transcoding.
Advanced users may find this tool a bit shabby.

Freeware - Prism Free Video Converter 4.27 for macOS Catalina

Deeply loved by many users dealing with major formats - MP4, WMV, MOV, MPEG, FLV, but Prism video converter has a very limited format support. It does not support SVCD and TOD as input format, and not allow for Bluray, Matroska, ogg, svcd, ts, tod, video cd, webm as output format. Also, if you tend to convert a video to Apple TV or Nintendo DS devices, this freeware is unable to help.

Prism - Free Video Converter for macOS Catalina

Free Trial - VideoProc No-brainer Video Converter for macOS Catalina

Simple 3 transcoding steps: Add video - Choose format - Convert & done (Safely download VideoProc )

VideoProc, though a video editor, moonlights as a robust and cover-all video converter for macOS Catalina.

It provides video preview with self-explained media info listed beside its thumbnail. To choose the target format, one can decide the output type by codecs, formats, or devices if one is not so familiar with the specs. One can even select the output profile for specific applications like to iMovie, Final Cut pro, or ProRes etc.

No hardware acceleration
VideoProc - Video converter for macOS Catalina

The lightening fast transcoding speed pushed by hardware acceleration only makes you wow at the conversion outcome - up to 47x real-time faster! VideoProc also supports DVD to digital conversion, and converting online stream to offline files (like M3U8 stream to MP4/MP3) so that users can obtain varied videos from as wide sources as possible. And as said with a video editor, VideoProc makes it easy to tweak the converted videos a bit like trimming, cropping, merging, spliting, 3D to 2D, adding filters, adding subtitles, etc.

Pros: Video converter with basic editing utilities

Cons: Not fully focused video converter with varied utilities.

Verdict - Free Video Converter for macOS Catalina

The reason why we do not list free online video converters for Catalina is that we all know online video converters are unstable and disposable tools for one/two time usage. Those online free tools have too many limitations regarding uploading file size, upload/transcode/download speed, network requirement, and have hidden risks of file corruption. Whereas the above listed free video converters for macOS Catalina are all local applications, stable and fast, they are all excellent picks for varied users who might want to go through a test themselves.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jason Copper

Jason, once worked as a professional software tech supporter, is talented in software error detecting, fixes and software test reviews with sharpened technical insight. He also has a peculiar taste in movies, music, comics, TV Sports shows. Feel free to find him on Quora.

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