Mass convert video files
September 12, 2010 2:05 PM   Subscribe

Mass convert and import videos into iTunes the simple way?

I'm thinking about picking up the new Apple TV when it comes out. As I understand things, it can stream files off my windows box as long as they have been imported into iTunes.
I currently have several gigs worth of movies and TV shows in various formats. I've used handbrake to convert files in the past, it's how I ripped most of the videos in the first place. Unfortunately, most of my files are AVI and iTunes wants everything to be H.264. I was wondering if there is a simple way to mass convert all my files at once, and hopefully import them already tagged into iTunes.
posted by Eddie Mars to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
iSquint will change format and put them into iTunes for you in one single process. I've been doing this today with .avi files, and it's very slick - drag the files in, tick the box that says to put them into iTunes and press start. I don't know about tags as none of my files were tagged.
posted by Coobeastie at 2:13 PM on September 12, 2010

No need to convert AVIs. Drag a copy of Movie2iTunes to your Applications folder and from there to your Dock. In the Finder, drag AVI files to this AppleScript.

Movie2iTunes will place a stub in your iTunes library that points to the AVI file. The stub is very small, just a placeholder. It is an entry in the library that is like any other movie or TV show library item — you can edit the metadata of this stub like any other library item, drag it into a playlist, etc.

When you double-click on the library item, iTunes will play the AVI like any H.264 or other QuickTime-playable movie for which you have installed the requisite codecs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:14 PM on September 12, 2010

Ah, I overlooked the Windows bit. Sorry, Movie2iTunes won't work there. But there might be some similar placeholder trick that runs under Windows. Conversion is a pretty time-consuming process so you might want to take a look in this direction.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:18 PM on September 12, 2010

I'm not sure what tool you should use, but it sounds like you just need to convert from one container format to another, rather than transcoding. This should be a fairly fast operation, once you find the right tool. Conceptually, you need to pull the raw audio and video data streams out of the AVI files (demux) and then recombine them into an Mpeg4 container (remux). Some people call this transmuxing.
posted by Good Brain at 4:31 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Evom will automatically add them to iTunes (to your movie folder; it's possible you can change that), and it's much faster than iSquint.
posted by interrobang at 5:08 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For Windows, you could use Videora which will allow you to mass select videos. Just go into "advanced" mode and then select "one click convert" and then select all the videos you want.

Personally though, I hate Videora. The UI is rubbish and it's riddled with adverts but if you're not technically savvy, then this is one of the better ways to go.

However, if you are technically savy, then I'd recommend writing a batch script to make handbrake do the conversion. It comes with a a command line version called "handbrakecli" and some pretty reasonable documentation. In fact, a quick look indicates you probably want the following line:

handbrakecli.exe --preset="AppleTV" -i "VideoFile.avi" -o "VideoFile.mp4"

I'm seriously considering writing something like iSquint for Windows using handbrake as the conversion engine (yes, I hate Videora that much) but it's not something that has got off the ground - so don't expect it any time soon.
posted by mr_silver at 6:34 AM on September 14, 2010

Sorry, forgot to add that Videora will automatically add them to iTunes afterwards.

With the batch file and handbrakecli, you'll need to import them manually. However it's not that hard to wait until the conversions are all completed and then do "add folder to library" and import them in one fell swoop.
posted by mr_silver at 6:39 AM on September 14, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.

I'm using DropFolders to start the conversion process. Dropfolders uses handbrake to convert the files.
Once the files are converted, I'm using iTunes TV Tagger for TV Shows and MetaX for Movies to tag the converted files and add artwork.
Finally I use theRenamer to move all my files into nicely labelled folders.

It took about a week to convert all my files.
posted by Eddie Mars at 12:57 PM on October 15, 2010

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