Audio and video files can be confusing. There are all different kinds of file formats, different software to play the files, and the variety of error messages that can come up when a video or song doesn’t play as it’s supposed to. A while back I found a set of tools that will do a TON of things with audio and video, and it’s completely free – but you need to watch for a few things while doing the installation.
What you get with Free Studio 5 (DVDvideosoft.com) is actually 48 different free programs (why are they free? I’ll get to that in a minute). You don’t have to do 48 downloads and 48 installations though. They all come in a “suite” of software that has a nice interface that allows you to choose what you want to do. Note: there is currently not a version to install on a Mac but they have said that this could be available in the future.
When you go to the link above, you can download and install the program (but DON’T do that until you read this whole article – see the “Caution about installtion” part at the end). You will then see this (click the image to see it full size):
You will see that the various programs are divided up into 8 categories:
- MP3 and Audio
- CD, DVD, BD
- DVD and Video
- Photo and Images
- Apple Devices
The best way to see what all of the options are would be to just click on each category and see what is listed there. But here are a few examples (I talk about different examples in the podcast – you can click the Play button at the top of this post to listen to that):
In the YouTube section:
Have you ever watched a video on YouTube that you liked, then went back to view it again and it wasn’t there? Videos get removed for lots of reasons. Using the “Free YouTube Download“, you can grab the video from YouTube and save it to your computer, so that you are able to view it even if it gets taken off the YouTube website.
See a documentary on YouTube that you would rather watch on your big-screen TV? Use the “YouTube to DVD” program to burn that video to a DVD so you can play it in your DVD or Blu-Ray player (you will need a DVD burner on your computer to do this, but most newer computers have this anyway).
In the MP3 and Audio section:
If you have some MP3 music files on your computer, but you want to listen to them in your car’s CD player, just run the “Free Audio CD burner” to create a playable CD that will play in any CD player. You can also do the reverse – take music from a music CD and convert them to MP3 for playing in your iPod or smart phone by using the “Free Audio CD to MP3” app.
In the CD, DVD, BD section:
You might have a video on your computer that you took with your camcorder, and you want to distribute it on a DVD to other family members. Sure, you could just upload it to Facebook, but maybe not everyone in your family uses Facebook (it’s true!) or maybe you just don’t want to put it on the internet. Just pull up the “Free DVD video burner” and burn it to a playable DVD. Creating a DVD is not always very easy, but it is with this program.
In the DVD and Video section:
Lots of options in here, including converting from one file format to a different format. Some formats take up a lot more space than others, some are better quality, some play only in certain types of players, so whatever format you have you can convert it to almost any other format.
In the Photo and Images section:
Have you ever wanted to send someone a video of your screen, in order to show them exactly how to do something? You can with the “Free Video Screen Recorder”.
In the Mobiles section:
Convert videos to be viewable on just about any brand name of smart phone, or even to table format.
There are a lot more options than what I have listed here – like I said, you really need to install it and explore what is there to see all that is available.
Caution about installation
The question you might ask is: why would a company offer all of these great programs for free? Because they make money on the “extras” that they hope you will allow to be installed along with the main program. They are hoping you will just fly through the installation and not notice that they are installing other software and toolbars at the same time. We’re not falling for that!
Here is what you will see during the installation, and what to watch out for:
The first license agreement agreement is fine, so you can click Accept and then Next (there is another one later on which you WON’T want to agree to, but this one is okay):
But then… next thing you will see is the toolbar installation window. You do not want this toolbar. In general, I try to avoid all toolbars because they slow down your browser and take up space (and in some cases they track too much personal information). Here is what this screen looks like:
All three of those boxes will be checked by default and you want to UNcheck each of them. However, if you uncheck the top one first, the other two are “ghosted” and cannot be unchecked (that’s another trick – some users just give up and leave them checked). Uncheck them from the bottom up and click Next.
The next thing they will want to do is to install some “acceleration” software on your computer. You don’t want this either. Just click No:
Finally, one more piece of software they want you to install (to “protect” you). This one is also a little sneaky. They are counting on people just flying through the installation and checking whatever boxes say “I accept…”. Not you! Make sure the “I accept” button is NOT checked before you click Next:
After you have successfully navigated these 3 screens, you should see the final “Finish” windows, which will complete the installation. It’s nice that companies offer free software, but it’s unfortunate that to do so they must try to install all this junk software on your computer. They have to make money somehow I guess. We’ll just let them make their money on other users!
If you use the Freestudio 5 suite of tools, I would love to hear what you think! Leave me a voice mail by clicking on the button over to the right, or drop a comment below.