Help me convert my iPod video, please!
November 21, 2006 4:06 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to convert my videos for iPod viewing?

Ok, here's the story: I have lots of dvds (mostly TV dvd box sets) that I have legally (well, I suppose it's questionable what with the DMCA and all, but I'm going for fair use here) converted to divx in order to watch them on my computer. I would like to convert them to ipod compatible video so that I can watch them during my commute, or on my lunch break at work, or during random downtime when I've got my ipod on me. The problem is, every single ipod video converter I've found seems to be COMPLETE GARBAGE. My requirements aren't all that complicated, but I haven't found a converter that does what I need:

1) Maintain the aspect ratio. So if I throw a bunch of widescreen videos in with a bunch of non-widescreen videos, it will convert them all to 320 by (insert appropriate value to maintain aspect ratio). This is the primary feature that I can't seem to find anywhere.

2) Convert without doing that lame "live preview" thing that shows every 10th frame or whatever. I don't really need this at all, and it just slows things down.

3) Let me do a batch of videos, rather than having to do it one at a time (one at a time would be... painful)

I'm perfectly happy to pay for a good piece of software that'll do this, so long as I'm sure it can do what I need. Really, the biggest pain in the arse is the aspect ratio bits. I could probably live with the live preview if I didn't have to manually sort my stuff between widescreen and non-widescreen when converting.
posted by antifuse to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
if you are on the mac check out Visual Hub . While I havent tried it with doing ipod video, it does have quite a few options. I use it for converting those pesky .flv files to mpeg movies.
It is very simple to use and you can do batch conversion as well.

but if you on the pc side...cant help sorry.
posted by ShawnString at 4:11 AM on November 21, 2006

try the videora ipod converter. it does exactly what you want, is free and very good.

it is basically a front-end for mplayer. if you are able to write dos batch files you could automate the mplayer process further.. but that's probably something you'd have to figure out, rather than be talked through.
posted by ascullion at 4:24 AM on November 21, 2006

on a mac, instant handbrake is pretty good.
posted by ascullion at 4:25 AM on November 21, 2006

I don't know about videora - when I used it, mainly with divx movies, it had problems with the audio going out of sync. From what I could find out before I lost interest it was to do with the way video and audio streams were interlaced or something. I suppose if you had the DVD and could rip it to mpeg-2 first you might be able to avoid that though. Or you could spring for quicktime, although that also can't seem to read divx at all AFAICT.
posted by claudius at 5:08 AM on November 21, 2006

Response by poster: Sorry, I should have mentioned, this is for Windows please! :)

And videora doesn't do automatic aspect ratios, at least it didn't the last time I checked. I'd prefer not to have to rerip, as that would be a humongous pain in the ass.
posted by antifuse at 5:46 AM on November 21, 2006

MediaCoder has done alright by me (using the Digital Media Player plugin) and while I've not had a problem yet with varying aspect ratios, I cannot speak for certain as to its ability to automatically handle them. On the other hand, there is no preview unless press the "preview" button and it does handle queues. My only peeve with it at the moment is that for some reason because it uses Mozilla's Gecko rendering engine, the program connects to some sort of localhost miniweb server or something and thus it triggers a firewall warning with whatever firewall you are running.
posted by The Bishop of Turkey at 6:03 AM on November 21, 2006

Popcorn does this pretty well for me on my mac.

3gp Converter does an excellent job on my xp box and has a wide variety of settings. (does much more than 3gp...)

Also worth mentioning - Total Converter, used the trial for awhile- worked great.

I don' t have a video ipod but I use these for my moto Q and 3gp Converter has been the best I've found anywhere and leaves the least amount of artifacts.

You didn't say though- Mac or PC? Handbrake could do it on the mac, but you'd probably have to start over with the DVDs.
posted by eleongonzales at 8:40 AM on November 21, 2006

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