The topic of converting videos is always ongoing. I'll be writing a big how-to next weekend when I'm finished with my testing. However, I decided to write a quick guide to fulfill most cases.WARNING: FormatFactory now has an iPad preset. Don't use it! It doesn't work, but the guide below will make sure you get perfect videos every time.
This guide assumes:
- You don't want to rip directly from DVD or Blueray
- Your video is not too large to fit on the iPad: 720p or below is OK
(right-click and look at Properties if you're not sure. It should be less than 1280×720)
I use FormatFactory (available from here) which has some
distinct advantages which I will describe below.
Tip: The software is free, but don't forget to uncheck the Ask.com toolbar and eBay thing during installation.
The problem with converting videos is always, what resolution should I use, what codec, file format and bitrate.
The tendency is to convert to the wrong bitrate or resolution. You shouldn't convert a video to a higher resolution than the source, and you shouldn't set the bitrate too low, or you will get poor results. Also, if you choose the wrong aspect ratio, you will get a forced black bars and the default zooming in the iPad won't work.
So you see, there are really a lot of ways to screw it up. Well not with this guide.
Generally speaking, we see a video on our hard drive and want it on our iPad, the simplest way. Here it is. FormatFactory works with every video format that I know of including .AVI, .MOV, .WMV, .MKV and Flash videos.
1) Install FormatFactory
2) Open FormatFactory and choose "All to Mobile Device" a window will open.
3) Drag your videos in this window. You can queue as many as you like.
4) Click on Output Settings -> Apple iPhone & iPod -> iPod 640 x 480 AVC (we'll change this resolution)
5) Change the resolution and bitrate to Default. In this case, default means just take what is in the source file. If it looks good on your PC, it'll look better on the iPad!
6) Confirm all the windows until you get back to the main screen and press run.
7) Wait - yes, it takes a long time based on your PC. In my experience, it can take up to twice as long as the video actually is.
8) When finished, click the "Output Folder" and drag it into the videos in iTunes and select it for syncing in your iPad.
9) Sync and enjoy!
Thats it, no mistakes! The main advantage of FormatFactory is the "Default" setting that just reads everything from the source video and duplicates these settings in an iPad compatible way.
As I said, I will be expanding this guide on the weekend for people with unusually high bitrate or resolution files to give advice on finding the "sweet spot" for down-sizing the videos. But I need more time for testing.
Update: Sweet Spot and Resolution and Bitrate Conversion Mega-Test here.
(P.S. If anyone has some advice about ripping copy-protected DVDs, I'm having trouble, please PM me and I'll put it in the guide with credit. Or write it yourself and I'll link to your post)