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Linux Format - - LXF HOTPICKS -

We’re aware that play­ing a 4K video is too much for the small screen of a hand­held de­vice. Con­vert­ing videos for a spe­cific plat­form is gen­er­ally a good move: you’ll save on disk space, and re­source us­age (and there­fore bat­tery life) on your smart­phone or tablet PC.

Linux al­ready has a de­cent range of me­dia con­vert­ers that you can choose from. Most of them are based on the widely used FFM­peg suite. The lat­ter can be found al­most any­where, and if you chose to get rid of it, a stand­alone copy of FFM­peg will still ex­ist inside your Chromium- based web browser.

Curlew is a nice ad­di­tion to a fea­ture-rich GTK3-based desk­top. It wraps up a de­cent range of FFM­peg com­mands in a shiny and great-look­ing in­ter­face that fea­tures a header bar and stylish icons. The ap­pli­ca­tion does the sim­i­lar job to Hand­brake, another file con­verter, so choos­ing be­tween the two is sim­ply a mat­ter of per­sonal taste and vis­ual pref­er­ence.

Of the two, Curlew has the more com­pact in­ter­face and hides away its ad­vanced set­tings by de­fault. You need to open a file or a folder first, ei­ther by us­ing the but­tons on the header bar, or sim­ply by drag­ging the con­tent over the Curlew win­dow.

The big but­ton in the lower part of the win­dow shows the cur­rent tar­get format. Press it to choose from the solid list of sup­ported me­dia for­mats. Both video and au­dio op­tions are listed here, so you can use Curlew to ex­tract an au­dio track from a video, too. By press­ing the setup but­ton you can fine­tune each tar­get format and dive into its set­tings to set your bi­trate op­tions, codec pro­files, spe­cific fram­er­ates and more. The pro­gram can process files that are in a queue, so it’s per­fect for batch con­ver­sion. Granted, there aren’t that many ex­tras on of­fer be­yond the stan­dard FFM­peg op­tions, but most peo­ple will hardly be miss­ing any­thing.

At less than 150KB, Curlew’s tiny, and de­pends on Python3, GTK3 and, as you’d ex­pect, FFM­peg and Libav­conv. The project kindly pro­vides the DEB pack­age for Ubuntu and its deriva­tives.

“Curlew’s great-look­ing in­ter­face has a header bar and stylish icons.”

We don’t know if grey­backs are smart, but they are def­i­nitely fast and light­weight!

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