I love watching movies and videos on my iPad. Its easy to sit on the Sofa an watch all of the home movies and other videos. The problem is iTunes, thus iPhones and iPads, only accepts mp4 videos with a specific codec. This means common formats such as .avi, .mkv, and many other video formats can’t be played on on your iOS device. There is a solution to this problem, we are going to convert the videos into a format that iTunes accepts, allowing us to play the videos on our favourite iOS device.
To convert videos download a piece of software called Handbrake. It is free and does what we want. The first part of this app will detail how to convert one video.
Open the video file within Handbrake using the dialog box that opens when the app starts. You can access this from the source button on the menu bar. Once the video file has been opened and read we can now set up the video to the correct format.
The next step is to convert the video to a suitable size. You can use the presets in the right hand side to pre-select a size (the button is in the menu bar). The maximum any video should be is 1920 x 1080p. This is full hd and you really don’t need to go any bigger. To alter the video size select the picture settings in the top right hand corner. Ensure you select ‘Keep Aspect Ratio’ to ensure the video doesn’t end up a fully size.
The source file size is listed at the bottom of the floating widget. By reducing the video size you also save on disk space. For example, you really don’t need a 1080p video on an iPhone you can reduce the file size down to 1280 x 720p. For iPads I still recommend 1920 x 1080p.
Once you have selected the video size ensure you have selected file format as MP4 and the codec as H.264 (x264). This is the format that iTunes accepts and plays.
Audio wise you can usually keep the same format as audio tends to come compressed. You can alter the bit rate to reduce the size of the audio file. Keep it around 160 for good quality.
When you are ready to convert the video file press the start button. It will convert the video file to the destination selecting within the app.
Once this is complete you can then import the video into iTunes.
Batch Converting Videos
If you want to convert more than one video you can. Its just as quick. There are two ways to open files the first is to select each video individually adjust the settings and then press the ‘Add To Queue’ button. This allows you to adjust each video individually.
If you want to add more than one video file using the same format you can easily do this within Handbrake. Using the source button in the tool bar select the folder you want to open. Don’t however open the folder within the dialog box, just select the folder. When you select open, it will import every video into the app.
Change the video settings as previously described then go to File > Add All Items To Queue. It will ask you if you want to apply the settings to all videos, select yes.
These will then be added to the queue. You can view the queue from the toolbar. When you want to convert the videos press start and it will convert each video.
Handbrake is a great bit of software. It takes a little bit of work to understand how to operate the app but once you get the hang of it, it is very simple to convert many files into iTunes compatible formats.
The default settings are good enough for the majority of applications. There is no need to increase the size to greater than 1920 x 1080p as this may not play well on your iOS device and will take up plenty of space. The smaller the video size, the smaller the file.
Once you have found the settings you like you can batch up all of your videos to run over night. It does create duplicates of the original, so you can delete the original file on import.