Friday, July 15, 2011

Splitting WMV Files

I was recently approached about splitting a 480+MB WMV file into smaller files so that the video could be published online with GoToMeeting. My initial suggestion was to split it using Windows Movie Maker, since the user was running Windows XP. He tried this and it froze early in the process. I decided to try it on my newer, faster machine using Windows Live Movie Maker since I'm running Windows 7 on my desktop. No problem splitting the video into segments, but once I went to save the new clip I ran into issues with the program freezing. It froze at 9% and had to be killed from Task Manager. Tried it again and it froze at 12%. Tried it again and it froze at 13%. It was a pretty frustrating exercise, let me tell you.

I hit the Good Book of Google to see if other denizens of the internet had encountered something similar. I found loads of links and posts about the same issue with both WMM and WLMM, but no good suggestions. Most of the responses, usually from MS support, were along the lines of "try it in Safe Mode", or "it must be something else you have installed on your machine interfering", or my favorite, "try reinstalling it". I ran updates for my video card driver and the application itself based on some other information I found online, which cost me a good 1/2 hour of productivity and yielded no results. I gave up on this avenue pretty quickly, figuring it would be easier and faster to simply find some freeware that would do the job rather than chasing this application's performance issues down a rabbit hole. Unknowingly, the search for a free utility to split the wmv file turned out to be its own rabbit hole.

There are loads of links to software out there that claim to do what I needed, but very few actually work, and most are actually dangling carrots that present themselves as freeware but are really trials that don't fully function until you purchase/register the software. I tried AVS Video Editor, AVS ReMaker, and Daniusoft Video Converter to name a few.

I finally stumbled across a program that did the trick. It was Radioactive's AsfBinWin. It pretty much did what I needed with no muss, no fuss. I imported the wmv file, set start and end points for the clips I wanted to create, named the output file, and off we went. Took less than 5 minutes from start to end. Really wish I had seen this sooner. But, I learned something new and got a new utility to put in my kit. And now we have to 280-something MB files instead of one whopping one. Now the search is on to find a smarter way of delivering training videos to our clients.

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