Is there a tool out there that will shrink video files to a smaller format.

I have Camtasia Studio 6&7 and use it with a Hauppauge WinTV card as well as a Sony HandyCam  DCR TRV900. I have been wondering if there is a tool (preferably FREE that will shrink videos down say to either a different format or through some kind of compression besides "Zipping it up" I know how to do that.

I usually get the files in one of 3 different formats ( .avi, .mpg, .ts) Is this possible? Is there a tool that can do this or is Camtasia Studio enough of an application.  An example I have a 17 minute video I recorded from my Sony Camcorder that is 3.48 GB. That seemed a bit large for a 17 minute video. How can I shrink that .AVI  file ?

Also one last thing, when I got the HandyCam also it may have come with an editing software in the package. I may have misplaced it.  I went to the site and did not see any bundled software. Does Sony normally include an editing software with its packages. I think I paid $2400 for the camera? Is there some place I could download that ? Or should Camtasia cover most of all my needs?
RUA Volunteer2?Tableau Trainer & Consultant Sales Exec.Asked:
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Have you tried handbrake yet? 

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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
i'd try Super video convertor
Windows Movie Maker can do that.. you most likely already have it in your computer.
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Sony HandyCam  DCR TRV900 was not delivered with some software! And Sony does not even provide something to download specifically for your hardware.

Depending on what you want to achieve you should start to read a little bit about video formats (  as well as codecs ( What I normally do before converting anything is to save the original file somewhere. In there is the maximum of information available. Then you have to define your goal (Output for archive, youtube, mobile or what ever) For each of these targets there is an optimal way. Every conversion achieving a small file size may or may not be destructive depending on the codec. Meaning if you use mp3 or mp4 all unnecessary (not visible or hearable by human beings) stuff is cut out and as a consequence 'lost' in the target file.

An alternative to handbrake or super is to get it in the right format for editing with camtasia.
RUA Volunteer2?Tableau Trainer & Consultant Sales Exec.Author Commented:
What format is typically a smaller format?
H.264 Xvid and DivX greater version 4 in this order are the smallest.
Here is a good example how this all figures out
As stated on your other post your 3.4Gb videos are DV AVI. To explain this fully you need to understand that AVI is simply a carrier for the codec inside the carrier or wrapper. The codec in this  carrier is DV that Digital Video (codec). It is a very high quality format used in the DV (professional) video cameras. To bring this  back to a smaller format and keeping it to Broadcast and DVD standard you can either use Super or Prism encoder (or any good encoder) to compress it to MPEG-2 -- note you will have to keep the original resolution so as not to reduce the quality.  Or you can use the H.264 codec if you want the file to be of similar quality and about as half as small as MPEG-2. However please note that H.264 is not as interoperable in the PC world as MPEG-2.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Personally, I would connect your Sony HandyCam  DCR TRV900 to the computer using IE1394 (firewire) and use Adobe Premiere Elements 8 (cheaper) or Adobe Premiere CS5 to import (capture) the lossless DV video. Commplete your edits, title and credits, wipes and transitions, complete and re-render the project.

Then save or output to DVD from with the software package, or Media Encode to a smaller format, but you'll have to accept the loss of quality e.g. Flash, MOV, WMV, MPG using Premiere, or if you want to make a backup, you could also OUTPUT back to DV TAPE using your Camcorder, as it also has DV Input and Output.

I've purchased many different CAMs from Sony, and I've only ever had a drivers disk for the camera for obtaining access to the storage (photos). Not for any Video Editing work. However if you purchase a Sony VAIO laptop, often is included a Suite of Sony Applications DVGate etc that can download the video and edit it on a Sony Vaio (this software does not run on non-Sony VAIO laptops).

Again, if you want an easy life, do it all in one application e.g. Adobe Premiere Elements 8. You can download a Free Trial, and it only costs $79.99, that's not going to break the bank Camtasia Studio 6&7 cost more than that, and you've got far more functionality in the Adobe Products. If you want a preferanly Free software application, your choices will be limited, especially if you want to edit video and output. (and very few output back to DV Camcorder).

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Just a note, that 17 minutes DV video that your output back to tape will be of perfect DV quality (same as oriignal tape, but with your edits and titles etc), and it won't take up 3.4GB on your hard drive, just make sure, you copy it to three tapes (a backup is not a backup, unless it's in three places!).
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
also, it's quite acceptable and normal for DV format to be this large at 3.4GB for 17 mins. You need to decide what your end (target) format will be. e.g. Web, Phone, DVD, youtube, HD video etc (as has been highlighted by other posters), but the trade-off is always Quality vs Size.
You can actually capture your footage in the DVD standard (MPEG-2) if you want -- in fact you usually have to choose your capture format in most editing software. And I'm presuming that you are already using either Firewire (Sony iLink) or USB2 to get your DV AVI files.  But one advantage of capturing in DV AVI is that Microsoft's little toy editor Windows Movie Maker will accept and save to the DV AVI format, whereas it won't deal with any of the MPEG formats as they don't want to pay MPEG LA's licencing fees and live in hope that the world will eventually convert to WMV.
Just a note: You can't get HD video from this footage as the resolution is only standard resolution.
And as MPEG-2 is both the DVD and broadcast standard you won't realise any visual degradation in either capturing or converting to MPEG-2 at the DVD standard.
RUA Volunteer2?Tableau Trainer & Consultant Sales Exec.Author Commented:
Wow I got the delux answer here. No shortage of information from this group. Thank you gentlemen.
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