Monday, 5 August 2013

Converting CCTV surveillance camera system videos from .264 to .AVI on Mac OS X

My challenge for today was to convert footage from a CCTV security camera into AVI format. The footage format was .264, a format mainly used by security camera systems, and this format apparently lacks headers and so cannot be read in any of the usual programs such as Quicktime or VLC. What it needed was a wrapper of some sort but I'm not advanced enough to know how to do it on my own, since video is not my speciality. A search of the internet and online forums revealed there was ONE small obscure utility that did the trick (AVIGenerator), but the utility was Windows based. Since all the computers in my house are Macs and I haven't yet dug up my Parallels cd, another solution had to be found...

And the solution is to use Wine.

"Wine lets you run Windows software on other operating systems. With Wine, you can install and run these applications just like you would in Windows. Wine is still under active development. Not every program works yet, however there are already several million people using Wine to run their software. Wine is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version."

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 10.28.11 AM.png

I downloaded WineBottler cos it came with Wine compiled for Mac OS X.

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 10.55.37 AM.png

I used Wine to run the installer and then the AviGenerator program, available here.

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 1.13.54 PM.png

To summarise the process:

How to convert .264 to .AVI on a Mac

1. Install Wine or WineBottler
2. Install AVIGenerator app using Wine. Alternatively, use WineBottler to package into a standalone Mac OS app.
3. Run the installed AVIGenerator and use it to convert the .264 video into .AVI

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 1.15.14 PM.png

Successful Surveillance Camera Video Conversion!

Is there any other easier way to convert surveillance camera videos? Probably not. I'm surprised that the process was not as straightforward as just downloading and viewing it on my computer. The surveillance camera dvr is likely to be able to read the .264 format but without the conversion to avi it will be difficult for a casual home user to view the .264 format on their mac or even pc.

Alright and while I convert the rest of the videos, in the meantime, do head on down to BAN—FAM's '1 Dimensional Society', now on at Lasalle's TriSpace (Basement 1, #B1-05) until 14 Aug 2013! (More updates on the 1ds site in a bit...)

‘1 Dimensional Society’ by artists BAN—FAM is an homage to the social theory of Herbert Marcuse's ‘One Dimensional Man’.

Marcuse theorised that the 'one dimensional society' was one that subscribed to a totalitarian democracy – a system where the state is said to maximise its control over the lives of its citizens using the dual rationale of general will and majority rule. The beanbags abstractly symbolise and facilitate satirical social criticism towards ways of operating; this work is a critical commentary on the role of choice in society.

BAN—FAM (Vanessa Ban and Andrea Fam) is a practice that spans across contemporary art, graphic design, typography, curation and critique.


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