Flash Videos, or FLVs, are one of the most common online video formats, used by YouTube and Google Video. Once downloaded, you can easily convert your FLVs to an AVI format in VLC Media Player, free for download from Videolan.org. AVIs are a Microsoft-based container, meaning it supports a number of audio and video compression options, known as codecs. Some of the most common AVI codecs, including DivX, Xvid, and H.264 compressions, are available in VLC Media Player. Note that not all programs or devices support every AVI codec, so check a user manual for the correct outputs, depending on your needs.
Launch your web browser and download the latest version of VLC Media Player from Videolan.org. Double-click the program file when your download has finished and follow the onscreen instructions for installing VLC to your computer. Agree to the licensing terms and complete the installation.
Open VLC Media Player and click the "Media" tab. Select the "Convert/Save" option and enter the "Open Media..." screen.
Select the "File" tab in the top-left. Click the "Add..." button. Locate your input Flash Video in the pop-up window and click "Open" to load it in the "Open Media" screen. Click "Convert/Save" in the bottom-right to enter the "Convert" window.
Click the "Profile" drop down box to see VLC's preset codec options. Choose the "Video - MPEG-4 + AAC (MP4)" option, if compressing your AVI as an MP4. Click the third toolbar to the right of the "Profile" box to create a new profile and set advanced audio/video output options.
Name your profile at the top of the screen. Click the "Encapsulation" tab and select "AVI." Press the "Video Codec" tab and choose an available codec from the drop down list of options. You may also adjust your video's bitrate, if needed.
Click the "Audio Codec" tab and select an audio option. For general conversions, try an MP3 codec. Click "Save" at the bottom of the screen to return to the "Convert" window.
Save your video to the same location as your FLV by copying and pasting the location of your input video -- located in the "Source" field at the top of the "Convert" screen -- to your "Destination File" field. Change the file extension from ".flv" to ".avi."
Select your newly created profile from the "Profile" box and click "Save" to begin the conversion.
The MP4 or H.264 codec options help ensure compatibility on Mac-based computers. AAC is an audio codec with similar compression standards as an MP3. A bitrate is the amount of information played per second. Higher bitrates result in higher-quality video, but certain programs or devices may be unable to play video with too high a bitrate.
Allow up to several hours for any feature-length content to convert.
Tips and warnings
- The MP4 or H.264 codec options help ensure compatibility on Mac-based computers. AAC is an audio codec with similar compression standards as an MP3.
- A bitrate is the amount of information played per second. Higher bitrates result in higher-quality video, but certain programs or devices may be unable to play video with too high a bitrate.
- Allow up to several hours for any feature-length content to convert.