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#1 Capt Snow

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 10:34 PM

Here is a small tutorial for those of you who find yourselves unable to view the videos that you have downloaded.

First we will familiarize ourselves with some of the basic media players that are commonly used for video playback. I find that having all of them is not such a bad idea.

Basic Media Players

Windows Media Player- This is the default media player on any computer running a Microsoft Windows operating system. There are many file types that Windows Media Player can play, without the use of codecs, including but not limited to, WMV, AVI, MPEG, ASF, ASX, as well as many more. The use of codecs, can drastically increase the amount of media you will be able to view using this player.

Real Player- This is an after market media player, which usually does not come pre-installed on your computer when you buy it. This, like Windows Media Player can play a number of types of video files without the use of codecs, including, MPEG, AVI, WMV, and of course it's native file type RM or RAM. This file type can also be played using BS Player or even Windows Media Player, providing the proper codecs have been installed. More about that later.

Quicktime Player- This is the default player on most Apple computers running a Mac operating system, though it is not the only media player usable by an Apple, it is the player packaged with the OS. The link above will take you to the Windows version of the software. Quicktime Player is incapable of playing numerous file types (at least with the free version of the software), some may find it more unwieldy than the other media players, and for that reason I would suggest only using it to play it's native file type, which is MOV. As mentioned there are very few file types this media player will play in it's free form. MOV, MP4 and MPEG are three such file types.

Those are three basic popular players and just about everyone who owns a PC or Mac should find at least one of them on his/her computer somewhere.

Customized Media Players

Now for two media players which can play all of the file types of the players above by default, as well as a few file types that the players above cannot play with out help.

BS Player- This is a player that is fully capable of playing just about any file type you throw at it, though some file types require that you have the proper codecs installed first. This player is an excellent substitute for your basic Windows Media Player, as well as any other player you may be using. Taking video screen captures is also possible with this player, as I show in the small tutorial below. File types playable through this media player include, AVI, MPEG 1 & 2, OGG, WMV, ASF and many others.

VLC Player- This player is an all in one package. It comes pre-installed with almost every codec you could ever imagine, to play every file type you could ever want to play. Though it lacks the smooth appearance and ease of use of some of the other players listed, it out does them by far with the amount of media it can play from installation. No extra work is needed on this player before playing your first video, everything you need is already integrated into the player. Which means that if the video will not play through this, something larger is wrong. Though there are a few exceptions, as to videos that this media player will play, they are few. Some of which that cannot be played on this player include, RM/RAM & Indeo Video 4-5 coded videos. This media player will play all of the file types listed for the players above as well as the following, DVD(VOB), VCD, SVCD, Matroska, OGG/OGM, DivX, XviD, 3ivX, and many more.

A Solution without changing your current Media Player

For those of you who do not wish to give up your current media players, there are packages containing all of the codecs included in the players above, as well as some not included in those players, allowing you to play the video you would like to play directly through one of your existing media players ( these codec packs are tested, and have been proven to provide all of the same benefits as the players above, and more.). I recommend when using these codec packs to choose the one that best suits your needs, as some of the packs do contain codecs that most people would never find a use for. Now there is nothing wrong with installing these extra codecs, but if you know you will not be using them, you can save yourself the space by either downloading one of the smaller packs, or when installing one of the larger packs, deselecting the items you do not wish to install.

I recommend using Windows Media Player as your default player when installing one of these codec packs, as it seems to have the highest acceptance rate for the codecs included in these packs, meaning that, the included codecs are more apt to work well while being used to playback video and audio through Windows Media Player.

Please visit ET Planet, to select one of the codec packs that they provide. I personally have been using the K-Lite Full codec pack for a long time and have no complaints, and have yet to come across a video that cannot be played. All of the other codec packs provided there are just as good, but they have different codecs supplied in each, for the users individual needs.

Installing one of these codec packs, or the VLC Player above, almost guarantee's that you will be able to view the video you are attempting to view, of course there are always exceptions.

Identifying Video File Types & Codecs

Now as for identifying the file types of the videos you are attempting to play, there is a very simple way to do this.

There is a small application called G Spot Codec Information Appliance. Simply open the appliance, and browse for the video you would like information about, select it and the information will be displayed. This information includes, file type, codec used for encoding (if any), Audio codec used, Media Length, Resolution, Number of frames per second and many other helpful items pertaining to the video you are reviewing.

You do not necessarily need this appliance to discover the codec which is being used to play the media you are reviewing. The media players above provide this info for many media types. With Windows Media Player, you simply start the video, select Files--->Properties, and a window should be displayed containing the selected media's Length, Bit Rate, Type, Resolution, Audio Codec, & Video Codec. Some of these things will not always be displayed. Finding this information within the other media players above is simple and can be found by searching through your media players menus. Though it may take a few seconds longer to use G Spot, it is more thorough in providing you with an accurate idea of what is inside the video you are looking at.

#2 Capt Snow

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Posted 15 June 2005 - 10:48 PM

Taking Screen Captures Using BS Player


Once installed, go to preferences, the button looks like a little hammer.
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A screen which looks like the one below, should open.
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Where it says, "Directory for Captured Images" specify where you would like your captured images to be saved to. Like your Desktop, or a folder or where ever.

Next on the menu at the left choose "Key Definitions" a window that looks like the one below should appear.
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On this screen, choose "Capture Frame-Original Image Size", your screen should look like this.
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Notice the letter I circled, whatever this letter is on your computer, will be the letter you press to take the screen capture. You can change it to any letter you want.

Now close your preferences, and open your video by clicking the button that looks like a triangle with a line under it.

Your video will open, now browse to the area you would like to capture. Once near the correct area, you can go frame-by-frame, by pressing either your left or right arrow keys on your keyboard.

Once the correct frame is selected, make sure your mouse is over a part of the video screen, and press P or whichever key you assigned to do the capture, in the step above.

Wherever you specified to put the captured frames is where your pictures will end up.

Also, where you specified for the captured frames to go in your preferences, you can also change what type of file the frame is captured in, i.e; bmp, jpeg, etc.




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