Wednesday, 24 February 2021

How to save xesc files to mp4 using VLC player

I use a screen capture tool called Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 Screen Capture to record my screen when I am illustrating "how tos" for my students. I find it a very easy piece of kit to use. Unfortunately, being a Microsoft product, the output file is a .wmv file: reasonably useless for sharing, as the most common file type is .mp4.

What I usually use to transform the files is a piece of kit called Syncios - freeware which works well - but I loose a lot of quality (read more about this piece of kit here). 

(and I really don't know why Microsoft takes such a betamax approach to some things: they would do better to go with the flow. But hey: they are who they are) 

Recently, by accident, I found another way to change the file type, using VLC player. There is an intermediary file created when screen capture takes place, called an .xesc file (a codec file). If we double-click on that file - as I accidentally did - we can open codecs in Windows using VLC player, then convert them straight to .mp4 using the built in conversion process within VLC player. I find this provides a higher quality result than Syncios.

The trouble is that the VLC conversion process is pretty esoteric. I needed to find a set of instructions to work out how to do it, so thought that others too would find this less than obvious. So, to convert, we:

  • Open VLC player
  • In the Media menu, select Convert/Save. This will open the dialogue box (image accompanying this post)
  • Click the + Add button and navigate to where your .xesc files are stored. Select as many files as you want to convert. Click OK
  • Now click the Convert/Save button.
The files will convert and save in the same directory, with the same name as the original .xesc files. We can open one of the codec files we are wanting to convert, and it will still convert to .mp4 in the background, while remaining open. 

I hope that makes life a bit easier!


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