There is no shortage of video source material available both on and off-line these days, but not all of it is playable or editable on every platform. Free tools like Handbrake (here's our look at Handbrake 0.9.4) are great for ripping content from DVDs but the number of available output formats are limited.
Back in the day, VisualHub was the ultimate tool for converting pretty much any video codec into another. Plus, it allowed you crop, resize, adjust video quality and even stitch files together. Unfortunately, it's no longer available.
There's also good news. Digiarty is currently making its MacX Video Converter Pro software available for free until November 15. Video Converter Pro offers what is probably the widest codec support we've seen in a while including output to FLV, WMV, MPEG4, H264 and more. There are dozens of pre-defined profiles for portable devices like phones, the Sony PSP and even DVD VOB files. It lacks some of the capabilities of Visual Hub, like cropping and ability to define a maximum size for the output video and let it pick the encoding settings.
However, if you have Final Cut (express or pro) you can convert odd-ball formats into files that can be edited and then crop and set export settings. MacX Video Converter Pro is available for free until November 15, 2010.