How to Get Videos Onto an iPod Touch
By seapegasus on May 21, 2008
OK. I admit it, I caved in and bought an iPod touch. X-) So all I gotta do is copy my favorite videos on it and I will have hours (well exactly 5 hours, because then the battery's empty) of fun on my next 10hour-train trip. :-D
Importing video onto the iPod from a DVD is pretty straight-forward. I used a well-known application called Handbrake. With the "iPod Low-Rez" preset, a 40-min TV show takes up about 150 MB, and the image and sound quality is very good.
Thanks to Lloyd for recommending MPEG Streamclip, a cool free video conversion tool for the Mac. It cannot only encode to mp4, but it's also able to rotate videos by 90 degrees. The latter comes in handy for n00bs like me who record their vacation videos with a small digicam -- in portrait format... I combed through a couple of video forums and the main answer people get is: "Well don't hold your camera that way, stupid!" The second type of answer was to use the linux tool mencoder that you can get by installing mplayer. Read what Scott has to say about how to rotate an AVI or MPEG file taken in Portrait with mencoder.
I've got Ubuntu in a virtual machine at work, but decided to keep mencoder in the back of my head as backup plan. I was still looking for a lazy Mac solution. :-P So back to MPEG Streamclip: You can cut, crop, and yes, rotate the video. You can even re-encode video brighter or louder etc. It exports to AVI-, MOV- and MP4/H.264. (Note the strangely named "iTunes" button to select iPod-ready encoding presets.)
That's not even all, you can give the open command a URL instead of a file, and it will gladly accept youtube URLs and extract the FLV from it! (You can assign the downloaded FLV files to VLC to play them. If you only need a player and no encoder, VLC is probably the best.) Up to now, I had to use Safari's activity window to get them (double click the biggest item in the list to download the embedded video). :-P
Before I could start encoding my AVIs to MP4, I had to get some divX codeces I was lacking. I heard Mac OS 10.5 already comes with them? Well anyway, my 'old-fashioned' 10.4 didn't have them. So I also got XVID and divX (which is mostly a short-lived demo app, but I hope the codec it installed will last longer). -- And voila, my old AVIs come to live in MPEG streamclip, and covert nicely to 200MB mp4's. :-)
I bet all these apps I mentioned have more cool features that I have not discovered yet (leave a comment if you know a cool video trick)... One more tip from me is to make certain that the names of files that you copy to your iPod are unique within the first 15 letters or so, otherwise they will all look the same on the video list and you have to open them to see the full title... It's possible to rename them in iTunes, but it takes (seriously) 4 minutes to sync each rename!