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Deep in the Code

Converting WebEx Video Files to MP4 Format

I recently used WebEx to record a video conference that I intend to post on YouTube at some point in the future, though getting the video file into a format that is acceptable has not been as straightforward as it should be.

When using WebEx to record video, you can either choose to record on the server or on your computer. I chose to record on the server, then download the file to a PC for format conversion. First of all, in order to play or convert the file, you will need the WebEx Network Recording Player. This is because WebEx files are stored in a proprietary format with the “.arf” extension. I found that downloading the player through the link on the website did not give me the most recent version of the player (29.9.0.10068, as of 10-8-2014), but a version that was a couple of years old. The older version could not play the video I had just recorded, so I had to look for the current version, which I was able to find using these instructions.

Once you have the newest player installed, load the “arf” file and stop it from playing by clicking the stop button. Now you’re ready to convert the file. Use File –> Convert Format –> (whatever format you choose: WMV – Windows Media, SWF – Adobe Flash, or MP4). I chose MP4. This conversion process may take awhile, possible as long as the video is. Here’s where I ran into trouble. I selected the filename which I wanted the destination file to have, and it created that file (empty, at this point) along with a few other temporary files that were used for the conversion process. When the conversion process was complete, the MP4 file was deleted but a file with a seemingly random filename and a “.tmp” extension was left. Due to a bug in the conversion process, no MP4 file was present at this time.

I decided to see if the “tmp” file held the converted video, and fortunately it did. I changed the extension to mp4, and was able to open the file in Windows Media Player. Now, after some editing, I will be able to upload it to YouTube. Success!