Converting DVD movies for the iPad using Mac OSX

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(listed here so people can find this page when asking search engines these questions)

The Goal:

Take whatever source you have (DVD or video file) and convert it to an MP4 (mpeg 4) video file at 1024 x 768 resolution so it can be played on an iPad. A typical DVD movie will take up about 1 to 2 gigs when converted.

How to get there using free software on Mac OSX:

How you do this depends on what operating system you are running. This page covers how to convert video for your iPad using Mac OSX.

Start with a clean slate:

Blow away any previous tools and software you might have installed that you don't need and you think might conflict with getting a good DVD rip. Also blow away any old media files you don't need. This process is fairly heavy on resources so generally the more room you have and the less things that can get in the way, the better.

Software you need:

Rip and Encode

1. Insert DVD and start Handbrake

Put the DVD you want to convert into your DVD-ROM drive and quite the DVD Player application if it starts. Start Handbrake. The disc should be recognized and the name of your DVD (in my case "DVD_VIDEO") should show up with a number of pulldown menus for title, angle and such.

2. Pick the Longest Track

The longest track on the DVD is usually the main movie. Pick it from the Title pulldown. If they all seem about the same length, Google the name of the DVD and "handbrake" and see if you can find some hints on which one to pick. If you don't find anything there, trial and error will eventually get a good copy although of course it takes a long time.

3. Select Output Preset

Use the handy "Presets" tray on the right side of the screen. If you don't see it, hit "Toggle Presets" at the top on the right. Select "Apple" and then "iPad". You might also want to click "Make Default" down at the bottom of the presets window to save yourself next time around.

4. Set Audio Prefrences

Back in the main window, select the "Audio" tab and check to make sure the language you are interested in is selected. In my case here, English or French were the options. Leaving the other settings to defaults is probably best.

5. Encode

Click Start and wait for it to finish. It is normal for this to take over an hour depending on the length of the movie and the speed of your computer. In my case here it took just under an hour.

6. Put it on your iPad

Start iTunes and find the file you made above. Drag it into your iTunes library. You'll see a blue box light up around your library when you have dragged it to the right place.

7. Sync your iPad

Connect your iPad and find the movie you just added to your iTunes library. (in my case, "Manhattan Murder Mystery") Click the checkbox next to it and sync your iPad.

That's it. Enjoy!

-Anders Brownworth

About Me:

Name: Anders Brownworth
Home: Cambridge, MA, USA
Work: Writing iPhone and Android applications at Bandwidth.
Play: Technology, World Traveler and Helicopter Pilot