Tricycle is an open source, user-friendly video converter


Everyone has different needs when it comes to converting videos. Some want to watch them on their phones or TVs, while others may be looking for a format that’s suitable for sharing the content on social networks.

Tricycle is an open source, user-friendly video converter

Forget premium video converters, there are plenty of free ones that do a great job. Handbrake, is perhaps the best of the lot, though it may seem intimidating for most users.

Tricycle is an open source video converter that is designed for user-friendliness. The interface has a lot of boxes, but don’t let that scare you. Use the browse button to navigate and select the video to convert. When you have added the source, the program will display the media’s duration and resolution in tiny boxes above the source’s path.

Tricycle video converter - add a source video

Select the video encoding format, you can choose between AVC and HEVC. IF you are not familiar with the latter, I recommend sticking with AVC because not all devices can play x265 videos, so you’re better off avoiding the HEVC container.

Tricycle video converter - set video encoding type

The next option in Tricycle is the quality, it has three levels that you can choose from; good, better and best. The higher the quality, the bigger the file size. If you have a HDR monitor or TV, you may want to enable the option that makes the video compatible with the display tech. The size menu allows you to pick the video’s resolution such as 1080p, 720p, and 480p. Optionally, you can crop the video, and remove the black bars at the top and bottom. The video converter will maintain the aspect ratio as the source file, but you can switch to 4:3 or 16:9 if required.

Tricycle video converter - set video resolution

If the video that you are converting is of poor quality, you may want to toggle the option that reduces Noise, to make it appear better. The subtitle section doesn’t let you add one to the video, but if the media already has closed captions muxed in, you can remove it with a simple click. Pick the video output format from the destination dropdown menu at the bottom of the screen, you can pick one of 2 choices; MP4 or MKV.

Let’s move to the audio section, which is on the right pane of Tricylce’s interface. There are three options here, to select the soundtrack that you want, the audio format it should be converted to, and the mixdown (stereo or mono channel) setting. You can add multiple audio tracks to a video, and customize each track.

Hit the monitor icon near the top left corner of the window to preview some scenes (still images) from the video. If you’re happy with the settings, click the play button, and Tricycle will begin converting the video. It relies on FFmpeg for the encoding process. The conversion takes some time depending on the size and quality of the source media, and on the settings that you chose. The status bar at the bottom of the screen shows you the progress of the conversion task. Wait until the Transcode Complete window pops-up.

Tricycle video converter - task completed

Tricycle is compatible with computers running on Windows 7 and above, and macOS 10.3 or later. The program requires .NET framework 4.6.1 to run. Coming to the quality, aka good, better, and best. The only differences between those are the data rate and bit rate.

The program converted a 691MB 1080p video to 281MB (Good), 355MB (better) and 445MB (best). You should decide if the higher quality is worth the larger file size, if you’re a data hoarder you may want to stick with the “better” quality, though I think “good” to be perfectly acceptable.

Tricycle video converter - file size and details comparison

Tricycle is very heavy on resources, it reached a maximum of 95% CPU usage, and about 750MB of RAM during my tests (1080p video conversion). Naturally being taxed to the limits, the processor temperature shot up significantly, though not close to extreme levels. I’d say you will need a powerful CPU to use Tricycle. The program cannot batch convert files, and considering the resource usage, that’s probably a good thing.

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