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Convert Your Videos - Idiot Proof (Windows)

Discussion in 'iPad Help' started by NumbLock, May 23, 2010.

  1. NumbLock
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    NumbLock iPad Ninja

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    Hi Everyone,

    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.

    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.

    :comingsoon: 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!

    [​IMG]

    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.

    Enjoy!

    (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)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 25, 2010
  2. Checkpoint
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    Checkpoint iPad Fan

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    What about the FPS? Should we change that and if so, what should we change it too?
  3. NumbLock
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    NumbLock iPad Ninja

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    I've always left at the default. I'm at work now, but I suppose that it could also take "Default" as a setting - so it would take whatever the source is set to.

    Just a disclaimer though: I'm not having 100% success ripping DVDs with this app, especially on newer DVDs. But for videos that I have on my hard drive, I love it.
  4. Checkpoint
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    Checkpoint iPad Fan

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    Oh alright. Thanks for the quick response and awesome guide! I usuallu just downloaded torrented videos so its working perfect for me.
  5. Bremen
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    Bremen iPad Addict

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    Numlock, you are a newbe's best friend!

    You write well (I think you said you are a tech writer) and your tutorials are very helpful to folks just starting out. Good stuff :)
  6. NumbLock
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    NumbLock iPad Ninja

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    Thanks guys. Right, I'm somewhat of a technical writer IRL. The iPad community has helped me out and I like to pay it forward.
  7. zman
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    zman iPad Fan

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    Nice tutorial! :)

    In your opinion, is FF faster than Handbrake?
  8. NumbLock
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    NumbLock iPad Ninja

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    The problem I had with Handbrake is that I couldn't find any "Default" setting. I mean, the video resolution varies based on some factors, and most people tend to way overconvert. What you really want to be "Idiot proof" is to just take what is in the video resolution like it is in the source file, and convert it all exactly the same in a format that the iPad can read.

    As I said, most people way overconvert and think they need some HD resolution. In fact, the DVD resolution is rather lower than most people assume, and the resolutions vary a lot (from Wikipedia):

    At 25 frame/s, interlaced (used in regions with 50 Hz image scanning frequency)
    720 × 576 pixels
    704 × 576 pixels
    352 × 576 pixels

    At 29.97, interlaced (used in regions with 60 Hz image scanning frequency): 720 × 480 pixels
    704 × 480 pixels
    352 × 480 pixels

    So all of these people trying to convert to something higher are getting 1) no improvement in video quality 2) taking way too long 3) huge file sizes and 4) Weird cropping

    That is why I'm writing this guide. I say "writing" instead of "wrote" is because I still haven't found the perfect way to convert even copy-protected DVDs.

    In summary, I like FormatFactory because it supports "Default" settings: what comes in, goes out in iPad format with no unreasonable file size, "just right" quality (based on the data rate in kbps) and no fuss.
  9. zman
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    I see your point.

    How long does an average movie take to convert in FF? :confused:
  10. NumbLock
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    NumbLock iPad Ninja

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    Long enough that I've never seen one end. I just go do something else. Depending on the source really.

    One popular 2+ hour 1080p movie took about three or four hours I guess.

    Realistically about as long as the movie is I guess - but again, I don't sit there.
  11. Checkpoint
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    Checkpoint iPad Fan

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    Uh oh, my Format Factory is acting up! When I try to convert a video and its at about 95% through the conversion it will just go back down to 0% and stay at 0% for hours at a time... this has happened to multiple videos.

    Anyone got an answers?
  12. NumbLock
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    NumbLock iPad Ninja

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    No, sorry. That has never happened to me (more than 100 videos converted so far)
  13. NumbLock
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    NumbLock iPad Ninja

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  14. Bogy
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    Bogy iPF Novice

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    I am a pastor who uses a lot of film clips in PowerPoint presentations, and I have been using Format Factory for the past two years. It converts pretty much anything to anything. It also is simple for me to only convert the clip I need. I bought my iPad last Sunday, and in preparation I had converted one episode of Lost to mp4 with Format Factory. Then, after reading another thread here I decided to try Handbrake. Converted 4 episodes last nite (and today, it was still running when I was home for a few minutes earlier this afternoon). I am going to compare the quality between what I did with FF and Handbrake and if I can tell any difference. If I can't, I'm going to go back to FF and see if its any faster.

    I have had great success with FF after trying a bunch of other alternatives, both paid and free. They update regularly, and I am sure it won't be long and the iPad will be on the list of devices.
  15. Kevisty
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    Kevisty iPF Noob

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    Nice sharing,well, I used to convert videos and rip DVDs for my iPod with Handbrake, it's also a free one, but quite complicated,especially for beginners. After i got a Mac and an iPad, one of my friends got me an Aimersoft DVD Ripper for Mac, which i am using now.
  16. kctay
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    kctay iPad Fan

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    No, no help here, the OP's instructions don't match the current version of FF either.
  17. NumbLock
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    NumbLock iPad Ninja

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    I'm going to break rule 1573 of unwritten Internet forum protocol by bumping my own post. There are again lots of open threads about video conversion.

    FormatFactory has one very important feature: keeping the default output video resolution without forcing black bars.read my original post for details.
  18. daltonbaker
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    daltonbaker iPF Novice

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    For PC users, try SUPER. It's pretty good:

    MPEG Streamclip is very good if you run OS X
  19. markk100
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    markk100 iPF Novice

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    Hello Numblock...

    Quick question for you...do you have an easy way to get one from DVD to the steps you describe above?

    I've literally never ripped, re-formatted, or anything before, and I'd like to be able to take my Netflix rentals on the road with me when need be. (That's not illegal, is it?) I see it as I've already paid for the rights to that film and so long as I don't copy it or re-distribute it, I'm within the rights of my rental, no? Man, where the heck have I been all these years, I'm only 34 years old! :)

    Well, in any event, you mentioned that your above tutorial assumes you've got the information off the DVD already, or that's how I read it anyway. Curious if you had a good pre-step instruction list. For a PC...

    Tschuess,

    M
  20. kctay
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    Mark,

    I believe if you read both threads, the OP states he doesn't have a reliable DVD Ripper solution. I use the following:

    Any DVD - from Sly soft
    DVD Shrink - free
    DVD Decrypter - free

    I start AnyDVD and have it running in the system tray prior to loading the DVD I want to "backup", once AnyDVD has scanned the protection method, I fire up DVD Shrink and open the disk to analyze the disk in the drive. You can then control the file size of the movie by compressing the image, or cutting out menu's etc. DVD Shrink will then burn the file as an ISO to your hard drive without any copy protection that was present before. DVD Decrypter can be set in DVD Shrink so that it opens automatically when DVD Shrink is done creating the ISO image. Simply put a blank DVD in your drive, and burn to disk. You now have your "backup" of your original DVD.

    There are plenty of sites to visit to get detailed instructions of all three of these programs. AnyDVD will also rip to the hard drive and has many other features; you cannot however compress the image if space is a factor.

    Once you have a DVD without copy protection, Handbrake for example will convert your files from the DVD you “backed up†to work on the Ipad directly. I’m not sure Format Factory does this, but I’ll bet it does. Once you have burned to disk, you will have a VideoTS folder, and AudioTS folder on the DVD. Don’t bother with the audio folder. You will find a few VOB files in the VideoTS folder, use a free program called “joinvobfiles†to make one file to convert on Format Factory, it works great. That way you don’t have to convert each VOB file individually, and you have the complete movie in one file.

    Hope this helps.

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