I had this discussion with a friend where we both found out that there is surprising amount of very useful little apps and tools in Mac's software world that people use on daily basis and which are worth of spreading word about. Here is first of the programs I did not know about few months ago - and today I barely can imagine working without them.

VisualHUB is simple but very powerful video convertor for Mac. It is simple in the user interface:

All you have to do is to drag and drop source files into the file area and select the target format and parameters. Then press Start and wait - surprinsingly short time. VisualHUB is very fast - the duration depends on the source format and the destination but  (unlike with iMovie) it does not take hours to render 20 minutes movie ...

It supports all usual formats - MOV, MP4, MPEG as well as AVI and what I find very useful is suport for PSP. The VisualHUB is the easiest and most reliable way I have tried so far to transfer the DVD movie to the PSP - for the kids to watch in the car.

What we use it for to transform the source files for screencast generated by CamStudio on Windows (AVI) into the format that can be loaded into the iMovie (which happens to be MP4 with H264) so that clarity of screen is retained. We also use it to produce AVI version of the screencast playable on Windows Media Players - for the Windows users stubborn enough to resist installation of Quicktime or free players such as VLC. Before this, I have tried few other options, none of which really worked. VisualHUB does pretty good job at compression - the 420 MB MOV file got compressed into under 100 MB file AVI (with very acceptable loss of quality). The result of exporting the same MOV file into AVI with Quicktime Pro produced over 600 MB that was visually worse than the VisualHUB AVI output.

I am not an expert in video formats and video conversions (therefore it is quite possible that I could have done it better with some more digging with QT Pro) - and I do not plan to become one. Which is why the VisualHub is such a great tool for my needs.

Highly recommended - and thanks to Gabo who introduced me to this little gem.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated or anyhow interested in sales or marketing of this product. The only reason I am recommending it is because I like it and find it useful.