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Movies and Video For people making movies and editing video with their Mac.

converting mkv to avi files is the bane of my mac existence

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Member Since: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 2
thinkblot is on a distinguished road

thinkblot is offline
Hi all,

Have been searching for ages for answers. Iím new to mac-forum so please let me know if I should have posted this somewhere else, or missed something in my searches, etc.

Hereís what Iíve been dealing with: I downloaded some unlicensed anime in mkv format and I would like to convert them into avi format. The mkv files have two audio tracks (English and Japanese) and one subtitle track.

On VLC, the audio is perfect and the video stutters and gets stuck (itís pretty bad, i.e. not tolerable).
On MPlayer, the video is perfect and the audio is choppy and broken.

Ideally, I would like an avi file with two audio tracks and separate subtitle files. I realize, from reading other forum threads, that a lot of people do not like the avi format and will suggest that I keep the mkv format since VLC does play them. But my computer (old school PowerBook G4, Mac OS X.4) apparently canít handle them and Iíve never had a problem with aviís.

This is the method that Iím trying to use:

1. Use mokgvm2dvd1.0.2 (earlier version of MKVTools) to extract the subtitle files.
2. Use VisualHub (1.34.1) to convert the video to avi.
3. Watch the resulting avi with separate subtitles in VLC.

I donít like to convert the files using mokgvm2dvd1.0.2 because the video quality is very poor compared to that of VisualHub.

Iíve tried ffmpegx to convert the files to avi, but the resulting file canít be played with VLC (audio, but no video).

Iíve tried avidemux but canít seem to get anywhere with that program.

My version of Handbrake (for Mac OS X.4) canít open mkv files.


1. For some reason, with these mkv files, nothing happens when I open them with mokgvm2dvd1.0.2. Iíve extracted subtitles and audio tracks before but, for these files, nothing happens. Activity Monitor shows that mokgvm2dvd1.0.2 and mencoder are running and taking up a lot of processing power, but nothing ever shows up - and Iíve let it sit for a few hours. So, I am unable to convert or extract files.

2. I canít choose the audio track in VisualHub. It automatically chooses the English audio track (it doesnít matter if it is the first or second track - I tried different files to test this).

Unfortunately, techspansion has discontinued VisualHub and removed all support forums but I cannot afford to buy another video converter and I donít feel confident enough to try out ďbuilding Film ReduxĒ (or whatever that means). Plus, my copy of VisualHub works like a charm - so why change to something else?


1. What are some possible reasons that mokgvm2dvd1.0.2 would be unable to open an mkv file?
2. How can I choose an audio track in VisualHub?
3. Is there a better method for converting .mkv to .avi?

Keep in mind that Iím a true newbie to video conversion - it has been quite the ordeal to get this far. Just let me know if Iíve left out some important information.

Thanks in advance to anyone willing to help me out.
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Member Since: Oct 10, 2009
Posts: 2
thinkblot is on a distinguished road

thinkblot is offline
Please, does anyone know how to choose an audio track when converting in VisualHub?
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Member Since: Jul 23, 2008
Posts: 10
veritas1 is on a distinguished road

veritas1 is offline
Is there any reason why you want avi files so bad? I know you never had problems with avi before but that was prob due to the video resolution more than anything. How big are these mkv files? doesn't avi have a file size limit of 2gb?
I have never done this but I believe mp4 can handle subtitles, don't know whether they have to be hard encoded or not though.
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