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Old 04-03-2006, 08:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Video I-POD User Guide

My video iPod User Guide
Created By: T. McNally
Published on Thursday, March 2nd, 2006
In December, after some serious thinking, I decided to get me a video iPod, the fifth generation of iPods. I already have a third generation iPod, but took some time to find arguments to convince me (and my dear Fredrika) that it was a good idea to get another iPod just one year and nine months after the first one.
How could I motivate this to myself? Well, there were some factors that pushed me over the brink:
Being able to watch video
I think the MPEG 4 format is awesome, and I love watching videos on it. To me, the screen size is just fine.
The color screen
Color is always nice, right?
The design and size
It looks oh-so-good, weighs practically nothing nowadays (4.8 ounces/136 grams) and is almost thin like a leaf.
The price
I got a 30 GB one, definitely sufficient for me, and it’s actually cheaper than most of its matching alternatives (not to mention that the alternatives usually weigh three times more and are five times as thick).
I commute at least two hours a day (and if you meet me in real life, give me a hug and please tell me you share my pain) and watching videos is about the best way to kill time (perhaps for sex, but that isn’t really suitable on the suburb trains…).
I’ve also seen that there a number of porn movies available in iPod format. I sincerely don’t want to know what people are doing with an iPod in one hand and… shivers
Besides, if one would want to get off holding an iPod, the design of the iPod would be such a turn-on by itself.
A disturbance is that the software isn’t perfect, it has a tendency of sometimes freezing when the battery goes low and you’ve just watched a video. Just remember to hold down the Menu key and the Play key to soft reset it and you will be fine. Aside from that, I wish they would’ve thrown in an AC adapter. One doesn’t want to fire up the computer only to charge something through an USB port (and why does the computer have to be on for that?).
Conclusively, if you’re looking for a MP3 player with a nice hard drive, I most definitely recommend getting an iPod. I hesitated for a while, took the plunge, and haven’t regretted it for a single second!
If you don’t have movies in the MPEG 4 format, you can use free tools such as the Videora iPod Converter for Windows and iSquint for Mac to convert it.
If you have QuickTime Pro ($30 and worth every penny) or the latest version of iTunes (free!), this is, by far, the easiest conversion that we’ll talk about.
In iTunes, after you’ve added your video to the library, right click it. Select Convert Selection for iPod. iTunes will let you know if your video is already in the correct format. If it’s not, your video will slowly be converted to an H.264 video. iTunes will keep your video proportional - it won’t be stretched - and your new video’s dimensions will, in almost every instance, be 320 pixels wide by some number equal to or less than 240 pixels high. UPDATE: I’ve heard several complaints of iTunes creating iPod videos without sound. You should probably avoid using iTunes to convert your videos. Use iSquint instead.
In QuickTime Pro, open your movie and, in the file menu, select Export… and in the export drop-down, select Movie to iPod (320 x 240) and click Save. QuickTime will create an optimized H.264 video with AAC audio. Apple’s got a detailed tutorial here.
You may want to go pour yourself a cup of tea or take a nap. If your file is large, QuickTime’s slow conversion process can take several hours.
If you’re an inexperienced user, I recommend using QuickTime Pro or iTunes because they’re absolutely foolproof. However there are other much faster, more powerful and free applications for converting your videos. Read on!
Don’t have QuickTime Pro? iSquint!
Even though QuickTime Pro does lots more than create iPod compatible videos, there are several free utilities that will convert your movies to iPod formatted videos. My favorite is iSquint because it’s fast, powerful and free.

iSquint should convert almost any video file format you may run into.
Although it’s still a little buggy (I had trouble with a couple of muxed MPEGs), iSquint can quickly convert gobs of different video formats. iSquint supports more formats than even QuickTime can handle - MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, WMVs, AVIs, and more!
Using iSquint
Get the latest version of iSquint here. After you download iSquint, make sure you copy it to your Applications folder.
Run iSquint and drag and drop your files onto the iSquint window. In most cases, there’s only a handful of settings you’ll need to tweak. Optimize for iPod creates a video that’s no larger than your iPod’s screen. Optimize for TV will create the largest picture possible for the best quality video output. You can read more about optimizing for TV output above.
If you’re not satisfied with iSquint’s defaults, there’s an advanced tab for tweaking things like the movie size and framerate. Make sure you adhere to the iPod video specifications!
Downloaded Video Woes
Us Mac users are living in a PC-centric world. You’ll soon realize that many of the videos on the file sharing networks can be very Mac-unfriendly. Although iSquint can handle almost every one of them, there’s a couple of problems you may run into that I’m going to attempt to solve right here.
Problem 1: iSquint won’t convert my file.
iSquint didn’t like a folder full of muxed MPEGs that I had downloaded. The solution: Convert any videos that iSquint doesn’t with a powerful, easy to use, and, best of all, free program called MPEG Streamclip. Just drag and drop your video into MPEG Streamclip and select File : Export to MPEG-4. In the export window, select either H.264 or MPEG-4 compression. Click the iPod button at the top and then Make MP4.
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