How to Easily Convert JVC MOD files to MP4 on Mac OS X

Intro

I own a JVC Everio GZ-MG37U, which is one, if not, the first camcorder to feature an internal hard disk drive for media storage. There are pros and cons to being an early adopter, but a definite con with this purchase was that this camcorder produced a non-popular file video file container format: MOD.

There is an in depth explanation with some issues with MOD files in this article. My biggest grievance (beside lack of software support) is that for some reason the MOD files produced by my camcorder were at least 3 times larger than they needed to be due to creating the video file with overzealous quality attributes (despite having a modest quality setting set on the camcorder). Anyways, enough touting the problems of MOD and onto replacing it!

Finding MOD Files

One way to convert MOD files into another more popular format is to use software that recognizes the file format and then merely export them one by one. I did this for some time on my Windows XP machine with JVC’s Power Director software. But working with a 10 year old machine is aggravating to say the least. Also, I had no idea how MOD files I even had lying around. So I opened up terminal (cmd + space and then type: “Terminal” and then press Enter) and ran this command:

find /Volumes/My\ Drobo/ -type f -name "*.MOD" 2> /dev/null

Let me break this down for those of you that don’t understand what this does:

find is a command that searches your files/folders (you can think of this as a terminal version of spotlight, but much more powerful)

/Volumes/My\ Drobo/ this is the path to the directory that I want to search inside of, merely dragging a directory from a Finder window into the Terminal window will auto populate the directory’s path.

-type f is a flag that tells the find command that it is only looking for files (not directories)

– name “*.MOD” tells the find command that we want it to print out all files that have the .MOD extension

2> /dev/null squelches any output from the find command that is an error. If you omit this from the command you may see a lot of permission denied errors like so (which will muddy up our results):

find: ./.DocumentRevisions-V100: Permission denied
find: ./.Spotlight-V100/Store-V2/1C4A0428-9131-4DE2-9D43-E8F74294AB76/Cache: Permission denied
find: ./.Spotlight-V100/Store-V2/1C4A0428-9131-4DE2-9D43-E8F74294AB76/journals.corespotlight: Permission denied
find: ./.Trashes: Permission denied

After running the command you will see something like this if the find command found anything matching your search criteria:

$find /Volumes/My\ Drobo/ -type f -name "*.MOD" 2> /dev/null
/Volumes/My Drobo//Archives/College/BAND/Songs/Ideas/MOV010.MOD
/Volumes/My Drobo//Jams/ZK/2-26-13/ZK 2-26-13 Pt 1.MOD
/Volumes/My Drobo//Jams/ZK/2-26-13/ZK 2-26-13 Pt 2.MOD
/Volumes/My Drobo//Jams/ZK/3-1-13/ZK 3-1-13 Pt 1.MOD
/Volumes/My Drobo//Jams/ZK/3-1-13/ZK 3-1-13 Pt 2.MOD
/Volumes/My Drobo//Jams/ZK/3-1-13/ZK 3-1-13 Pt 3.MOD
/Volumes/My Drobo//Jams/ZK/3-3-13/ZK 3-3-13 Pt1.MOD
/Volumes/My Drobo//Jams/ZK/3-3-13/ZK 3-3-13 Pt2.MOD
/Volumes/My Drobo//Jams/ZK/3-3-13/ZK 3-3-13 Pt3.MOD

That is a decent amount of files… too many to warrant me having to manually convert them.

Automation

Considering I am the good kind of lazy — the kind that prefers to make his computer do the work — I wrote the following script:

WARNING: This script will remove your MOD files after creating an mpg4 copy. If you don’t want this to happen merely place a ‘#’ at the left of rm "$i" (line 28) before running the script.

Before running you will need to ensure that you have ffmpeg installed on your machine. You can do that by merely typing ffmpeg into terminal., which should get you:

$ ffmpeg
ffmpeg version 3.1.4 Copyright (c) 2000-2016 the FFmpeg developers
  built with Apple LLVM version 8.0.0 (clang-800.0.38)
  configuration: --prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/ffmpeg/3.1.4 --enable-shared --enable-pthreads --enable-gpl --enable-version3 --enable-hardcoded-tables --enable-avresample --cc=clang --host-cflags= --host-ldflags= --enable-opencl --enable-libx264 --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libxvid --disable-lzma --enable-vda
  libavutil      55. 28.100 / 55. 28.100
  libavcodec     57. 48.101 / 57. 48.101
  libavformat    57. 41.100 / 57. 41.100
  libavdevice    57.  0.101 / 57.  0.101
  libavfilter     6. 47.100 /  6. 47.100
  libavresample   3.  0.  0 /  3.  0.  0
  libswscale      4.  1.100 /  4.  1.100
  libswresample   2.  1.100 /  2.  1.100
  libpostproc    54.  0.100 / 54.  0.100
Hyper fast Audio and Video encoder
usage: ffmpeg [options] [[infile options] -i infile]... {[outfile options] outfile}...
Use -h to get full help or, even better, run 'man ffmpeg'

If you don’t see the above output after entering ffmpeg into Terminal, you need to install it. Here is a handy article that walks you through it.

In order to run the script you will need to change its permissions to be executable so that you may run it. You can do this by entering the following into Terminal:

chmod u+x convert.sh

Now you may run it by changing (cd) to the directory you want to run the command in and typing the following (assuming convert.sh is also in that directory):

./convert.sh .

It’ll start working its magic and will produce output that looks like:

$./convert.sh .
base path: .
searching dir: ./EXTMOV...
converting file: ./EXTMOV/3-28-08.MOD...
ffmpeg version 3.1.4 Copyright (c) 2000-2016 the FFmpeg developers
  built with Apple LLVM version 8.0.0 (clang-800.0.38)
  configuration: --prefix=/usr/local/Cellar/ffmpeg/3.1.4 --enable-shared --enable-pthreads --enable-gpl --enable-version3 --enable-hardcoded-tables --enable-avresample --cc=clang --host-cflags= --host-ldflags= --enable-opencl --enable-libx264 --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libxvid --disable-lzma --enable-vda
  libavutil      55. 28.100 / 55. 28.100
  libavcodec     57. 48.101 / 57. 48.101
  libavformat    57. 41.100 / 57. 41.100
  libavdevice    57.  0.101 / 57.  0.101
  libavfilter     6. 47.100 /  6. 47.100
  libavresample   3.  0.  0 /  3.  0.  0
  libswscale      4.  1.100 /  4.  1.100
  libswresample   2.  1.100 /  2.  1.100
  libpostproc    54.  0.100 / 54.  0.100
Input #0, mpeg, from './EXTMOV/3-28-08.MOD':
  Duration: 00:00:17.02, start: 0.232822, bitrate: 9300 kb/s
    Stream #0:0[0x1e0]: Video: mpeg2video (Main), yuv420p(tv, smpte170m), 720x480 [SAR 32:27 DAR 16:9], 29.97 fps, 29.97 tbr, 90k tbn, 59.94 tbc
    Stream #0:1[0x80]: Audio: ac3, 48000 Hz, stereo, fltp, 384 kb/s
[mp4 @ 0x7fb94397f800] Using AVStream.codec to pass codec parameters to muxers is deprecated, use AVStream.codecpar instead.
    Last message repeated 1 times
Output #0, mp4, to './EXTMOV/3-28-08.mp4':
  Metadata:
    encoder         : Lavf57.41.100
    Stream #0:0: Video: mpeg4 ( [0][0][0] / 0x0020), yuv420p, 720x480 [SAR 32:27 DAR 16:9], q=2-31, 2800 kb/s, 29.97 fps, 30k tbn, 29.97 tbc
    Metadata:
      encoder         : Lavc57.48.101 mpeg4
    Side data:
      cpb: bitrate max/min/avg: 0/0/2800000 buffer size: 0 vbv_delay: -1
    Stream #0:1: Audio: aac (LC) ([64][0][0][0] / 0x0040), 48000 Hz, stereo, fltp, 384 kb/s
    Metadata:
      encoder         : Lavc57.48.101 aac
Stream mapping:
  Stream #0:0 -> #0:0 (mpeg2video (native) -> mpeg4 (native))
  Stream #0:1 -> #0:1 (ac3 (native) -> aac (native))
frame=  510 fps=145 q=3.6 Lsize=    6667kB time=00:00:16.98 bitrate=3216.0kbits/s speed=4.84x    
video:5938kB audio:714kB subtitle:0kB other streams:0kB global headers:0kB muxing overhead: 0.235574%
[aac @ 0x7fb943981600] Qavg: 52037.402
removing file: ./EXTMOV/3-28-08.MOD...

Let it do its thing and before you know it you’ll have all those pesky MOD files converted into something far more space efficient and usable!

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