How can I convert an AVI movie to play on my iPhone?
A friend of mine gave me a copy of the movie Tomb Raider (I already own the DVD, but I want to watch it on my iPhone 3GS while at the gym) and I can't figure out what to do with it. The file is in ".avi" format and when I double-click on it I get an error from QuickTime Player, and have no idea how to copy it onto my phone. HELP!
First off, you're right. AVI is a common video format, but not well supported on the Mac OS X system. What you want to do is convert it to a format that works with Apple iTunes: once you do that, you can very easily sync it with your phone next time the phone's plugged in and watch Tomb Raider (a favorite of mine too, btw) to your heart's content.
To accomplish this video format conversion on the Mac, I decided to try something new. Truth be told, I'm always trying different software for these sort of applications, and this time I downloaded Any Video Converter, after having read some good things about the app online.
The trick is that the app needs to be both easy to use - obviously - and powerful enough to handle the many different video and audio codecs that are involved in AVI movie files without glitching, producing crummy video quality or messing up the audio. Not always easy, and that's a classic problem with QuickTime, for example. Try to open up an AVI file in QuickTime Player and odds are fairly good you'll see a warning that QT can't even open the file because it doesn't know about the format.
(if that happens to you and you aren't interested in conversion, check out VLC as a much better video player for the Mac that supports a ton of video codecs and formats: videolan.org)
Back to the video converter, though. So I grabbed a copy of Any Video Converter and tried it out with an AVI copy of the great movie The Usual Suspects...
Start the app and the first step is pretty obvious:
I dragged my "AVI" file of The Usual Suspects onto the target area and the app promptly scans it to figure out basic info and displays it:
Question is, what format do I want? Any Video Converter has a ton of output formats, but for this project I want Apple iPhone, standard iPhone resolution:
The app will show you more detailed info about the video you're about to convert once you select it too:
Ready? Click on the orange "Enccode" button on the top right:
That's all there is to it. Conversions take a while, even on a reasonably fast machine, so be prepared. The Usual Suspects is almost two hours long and it took almost an hour to finish up the conversion.
Once it's done, though, you now have a ".mp4" file that you can just drag and drop onto your iTunes application and it shows up in the Movies section. As you can see here, I have quite a few:
Plug in your phone, click on the "Movies" tab within your phone config, check the box next to that specific movie:
Press "Sync", and you're done. The film's now on your iPhone, ready to enjoy while you're on the bus, at the gym or even in a really boring meeting!
Any Video Converter costs $29.95 and is a digital download for your Mac system. At $9.99 / film in iTunes, three conversions will pay for the app.
Disclosure: the links to Any Video Converter are affiliate links. By purchasing the app through this link you'll help us keep the lights on here at Ask Dave Taylor Central and your end price is identical to if you went to the site and bought it directly. Thanks!
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