Convert Avigilon .Ave File Format To .Mp4

We have a customer that needs to enable its global constituency to view recorded security video over the Internet. Avigilon's .ave format is not universal enough. How do you convert the file format of recorded video for .ave to .mp4 or .ave to .avi and then .mp4?

Is there a reason you couldn't export to AVI instead of AVE? It's offered in the export options.

That is our current method but we are looking for a high-performance utility to convert from .avi to .mp4, if we cannot go direct from .ave. The time for each of these conversions is rather lengthy.

Note: Recordings are 7 hours, 30 fps for 3 cameras. We are trying to get the combined export and conversion process down to less than 24 hours.

Greetings Joel,

I spoke with Avigilon tech support, and they basically said that you could export the footage directly to .AVI instead of .AVE (which you already knew), and that their standalone media player can export .AVE footage to .AVI, but not to .mp4.

The tech told me to use third party software to convert the files, although when I asked what kind to use, he didn't give me a recommendation and said "any converter should work".

With that being said, if you can use VLC media player, test this conversion method yourself and see if it works for you, since it's the quickest file conversion I've seen / used.

  • Open VLC Media player.
  • Click "media" in the top left corner.
  • Select "Convert / Save" near the bottom of the menu.

  • Click on "Add" to add your file, then click on "Convert / Save".

  • Next, select the codec type you would like and click "start".

  • Now, you will see VLC open and run with a time bar underneath. DO NOT CLOSE VLC, as this is the conversion process, which is usually second for second, so if you were to have 3 VLC players open with 3 conversion processes running, you should theoretically have them all complete within the 7 hours or so of recorded footage.

Try this out and see how it works for you. Also, if anyone else has any recommendations on conversion software they prefer to use, please comment!

Nice, Derek.

Also, if after testing this method, you find the performance acceptable, you can run the transcoding in batch from the command line, with the -d argument for dummy display, and quit command. VLC command-line options.

Though you still have the time of the export + conversion time to consider.

I wonder if a playback or export RTSP stream could be hijacked directly into vlc, skipping the export time?

Thank you for doing that, Derek...I agree, very nice. We will have our systems engineer and appllication engineer run through your recommended routine and see how it works and what we might be able to do with it. I will be happy to let you know the results of our effort, if that will be of value to you.

Joel, if you need exports of all footage from the same cameras every day, why not consider simply transcoding the live rtsp stream on the fly to mp4?

Instead of writing scripts to create exports and process them thru VLC, you would write them to record the live rtsp stream for a specific time period before saving the file to an archive set.

Advantages are zero latency and zero storage needed for intermediate processing. Instant availability.

Also, you could possibly even take the streams from the cameras directly, avoiding any added server burden.

If you need more particulars about how to implement, let me know...

  1. Download and install Handbrake. It's free, fast and works every time, perfectly. It's here:
  2. Export your Avigilon file as an AVI and save it on your PC
  3. Start Handbrake and choose output container as MP4
  4. Choose the destination folder where you want the converted file to appear.
  5. Click Start and wait for it to complete. A 1GB file taks about 30 minutes or so to convert. I use this all the time to put videos onto my IPAD

Handbrake image capture

To be sure that this would work, I just coverted a 5 second AVI export out of Exacq and converted it to an MP4 file. It only took me a few seconds once the source and destination folders are chosen

In my opinion, why do any of this. You can provide everyone the Stand-Alone (non installation player) that runs on machines that are domain locked down in police departments and other businesses, it's free, and it provides all of the features of the VMS client. Pixel, Bookmark searches, multi-camera, and NLE exports accross cameras, and maintaining authenticity. the original exporter can determine just what is being exported, the quality, the size etc....
adding another layer of complexity seems to be adding another layer of support. We have some clients that regularly (weekly) provide incident video (multi-camera) views to a certain government agency, and we've never had that agency mention any issue in 5 years or more.

Are there standalone Mac/Mobile versions as well?

Mac / Mobile versions of the player.... not yet, and we must be living in a bubble, as we've never been asked to support Mac IOS as a security client. I'll bet that looks good in a traditional "feature / benefit" dog and pony sales pitch.

The whole 'mobile access' thing is something that seems to be coming up more and more lately...

Our original application for mobile, was with smaller police / sherriff departments, and the officers having their smart phones on the dash or with them, the cameras in the parks would see headlights, or people in the parks in late hours. (text alerts too), the officers on their late night patrols drive through the parks making their presence known.

We've supported 100's of Ipad, Droid Pads, tablet pads, you name it, and many clients are making wholesale switches back to SurfacePro type devices, for better IT management, and a sense of being more productive with the Micro$oft suites.

Thank Goodness, as the Avigilon Mobile app remains a work in progress.

Thank you very much for your comments and suggestions. I would like share with you the results of our research. Here are the highlights:

We can use the RTSP stream from the Avigilon camera and record it using a third party application, FFmpeg.

FFmpeg is an open-source converter. The latest static build is avaialble for free at . Documentation is available at

We ran our test on it and were able to record directly into an MP4 container in real-time with no issues. We used a 1MP Avigilon Camera with shooting in 720p resolution at 30 frames per second with little processing required. Multiple stream recording worked as well with no issues evident during the test.

We test the following script to record Avigilon’s RTSP transmission:

ffmpeg -i rtsp://<username>:<password>@<IP address>/defaultPrimary?streamType=u -hide_banner -c:v copy -c:a aac -strict experimental -b:a 192k -ac 2 <Filepath>\<Filename>.mp4


ffmpeg -i rtsp://admin:admin@ -hide_banner -c:v copy -c:a aac -strict experimental -b:a 192k -ac 2 F:\ffmpeg\Test.mp4

Avigilon conducted a conference of several sales engineers located in various territories. No solution was identified until the concept of using the RTSP and then one of the engineers connected the dots.

Thanks again for your participation and I hope this is useful to you.


I also got it working on the fly from two cameras to VLC, although the support for file rotation is much cleaner in ffmpeg.

One thing I was also thinking was that it's kind of a poor man's redundancy, since it's sidesteps the VMS completely. Also, in an environment where a camera multicasted stream already exists, there would be no additional load on the camera or anything except the ffmpeg archive server.

One question, did you implement automatic file rotation yet, or did you just stop the stream manually?

Joel, I tried out your command and it works well...

One nice thing about ffmpeg is the -f segment options, which will let you create multiple output files of a certain duration without stopping the rtsp stream. For instance the following:

ffmpeg -i rtsp://admin:admin@ -hide_banner -c:v copy -c:a aac -strict experimental -b:a 192k -ac 2 F:\ffmpeg\Test.mp4 -f segment -segment_time 3600 F:\ffmpeg\camera_79_%%4d.mp4

This will continuously create multiple ouput files like camera_79_0001.mp4, camera_79_0002.mp4and so forth, each one hour (3600 seconds) long.

btw, confusingly I also posted on this thread as Undisclosed 1, though only due to inattention, sorry...

I won't ask why your cameras are accessible, and I'll assume all is secure, and you might ask your Avigilon Partner to provide you the tech document to stream your desktop to RSTP... The tech document is titled "how to stream your desktop to via RSTP into ACC."

Of course you'll stream this into an alternative recorder, but doing this will allow you to record more than one camera into the stream, zoom and pan the original footage during the creation of the export...

Maybe someone could explain how to add an mono - audio channel into the RSTP stream so you can add voice overlays to the videos.