Tips for Importing Video into iTunes

You can import videos into iTunes; it just takes a little extra work. Unfortunately, you cannot just drop files that you have download from the Internet or uploaded from a camera into iTunes. Most videos found online or that come from video cameras are in the .avi, .mpg or .wmv format, and the iPod only supports MP4 format.

This does not apply to video content that is directly purchased from the iTunes Store. This content is immediately playable on iTunes and iPods, as is anything made with QuickTime in an MP4 format (.mov, .m4v or mp4). 

Converting Video
To get video into the proper format, you'll need to convert it with Quicktime 7 Pro. You can also convert videos with iMovie and Final Cut Pro.

If you do not have access to QuickTime, you can use one of the utility programs that are available, such as Videora iPod Converter 2.5 for Windows. Utility programs contain a file-conversion wizard that is easy to use. It will convert the file to an MP4 format and automatically resize it so it displays correctly. This means that your converted video will have the best aspect ratio and resolution for viewing on an iPod.

Other video converters are available, like Cucusoft's iPod Video Converter and the Next Video Converter. Next Video Converter has a simple interface that allows you to convert DivX, XviD, MOV, RM, RMVB, MPEG, VOB, DVD, WMV, and AVE to the MP4 format.

Video Conversion Tips

  • Have plenty of hard drive space. Video must be decompressed before it can be converted. Uncompressed video chews up gigabytes (GB) of drive space, which can cause slow performance or system crashes if you don't have enough memory.
  • Set your resolution. The best resolution for iPod videos is 640x480 at 1.5Mbps for .MOV files and 640x480 at 2.5Mbps for MP4 files.
  • Smaller files mean less resolution. If you want the highest quality video, you're going to be dealing with very large files. The more you compress the video, the more information is lost. If you're trying to create small files, you'll need to experiment with different settings to retain as much of the original video quality as possible. Too much compression will wash out colors, pixellate the images (making them appear blocky) and reduce the frame rate (which makes motion jerky).
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