One of the thing I wanted to do with the iPad was to watch movies on the go (remember the last time you flew transatlantic and you had to watch The Karate Kid ?…) At this point, I had no Movies, nor TV Shows in my iTunes so I am really starting from scratch here.

Some of the movies I wanted to have on the iPad came from DVD (no Blu-Ray player for me at this point) and one video was a mkv file. So the first step was to import these files in a format that would suit iTunes.

For the DVDs, I used Handbrake.

Here is the procedure :

  • Download and install Handbrake.
  • Launch Handbrake
  • Insert your DVD
  • Click on Source (top left button) and select your DVD > VIDEO_TS folder.

  • Handbrake will read the DVD and determine the chapters to rip in order to import only the movie (no special feeatures, no menus, etc)
  • If you don’t see the presets drawer on the right, click on “Toggle presets” in order to see them
  • I selected and used the Apple TV2 preset myself for my rips though I read the iPhone 4 preset would have worked, too
  • I then adjusted these settings somewhat following the recommendations at the end of this forum post
    – In the main window, adjust the framerate (FPS) to 25 (if your DVD is PAL/region2)
    – click on Picture Settings (top toolbar) and change the anamorphic to strict 

    – click on Filters (the tab at the top) and adjust
    detelecine to default
    decomb to deinterlace (push the cursor to the right)
    deinterlace to slow
    denoise to medium

  • You can then click on Preview to see what your movie will look like
  • Finally, in the main window, you can modify the destination file path
  • When everything is set, click on Start

The encoding process takes about 1.5 times the movie length for me here…

Of course, if you know better presets for Handbrake to work specifically for a given device (especially the iPad2) feel free to share them in the comments. Your help is welcome.

For the MKV file conversion to MP4 I used the trial version of Video Converter for Mac

  • Download and install the product
  • Drag and drop the video(s) you need to convert
  • Once again, select the preset that suits you best (it can be iPad or Apple TV)
  • Adjust the framesize (if your source is HD and you have an iPad2, you might want to increase the output framesize)
  • Click on Convert

You can find more information on how to use Video Converter in the editor’s website documentation.

That process was very time consuming on my computer… much more than the rips from my original DVD though I must add that the resulting video, on the iPad2, is wonderful. The HD source made all the difference in the world compared to the DVD sourced material. NO, I WILL NOT BUY ALL MY DVDs AGAIN AS BLU-RAY DISCS but I’m sure some of them would benefit from the upgrade…

MP4 to iTunes to iPad

Both Handrake and Video Converter for Mac created for us some mp4 files. These files must be added to the iTunes Library.

I also feel the need to tag them. I need the director name, the release date and the cover – at least… I found the artwork in very high res at getvideoartwork. As for the tagging, a very detailed article at covers the subject of video management within iTunes.

Once your movies are ready, simply sync all your movies (or a selection on them) with your device (which could be an iPad or iPhone)

That’s it, book a long flight for your next holidays and enjoy your movies 😉



Filed under: Computing, iPad, iPhone, Mac OS X, Video

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  • About Me

    photo of Samantha Halfon Samantha Halfon
    Software Engineer
    blueKiwi software
    Paris, France
    I enjoy playing with my computer(s), listening to Bob Dylan (and related artists) and watching movies (especially if they were directed by Martin Scorsese or John Cassavetes). Sometimes, I play a little guitar... If not doing any of the above, I am either riding a small red bike around Paris, or, making videos. About my videomaking please check out World Wide Angle and its blog.