Everything on video conversions

This article applies to VideoDrive 2.x and is no longer relevant for VideoDrive 3.x


Do you want to watch your videos on the go? The iPhone, iPod and iPad and black AppleTV offer hardware support for H.264 videos to improve battery life. Futhermore, as of OS X Mavericks, it’s impossible to add videos to iTunes without converting them first.

VideoDrive offers 4 ways to convert your videos with QuickTime, HandBrake and Elgato Turbo.264 HD.


Choosing the right import method

Import method 5 will import your videos with the highest possible resolution (you can specify which resolution on the import tab of the preferences panel) while methods 6 until 8 reduce resolution and/or bitrate for optimal playback on AppleTV, iPad, iPhone and/or Video iPod.

You know where the videos will play based on the checkboxes on top of the main window of VideoDrive. (Un)check the boxes to switch import method.


Do I need to convert all my files?

If you import MP4, M4V or MOV videos, you do not have to reconvert them. If you want VideoDrive to not touch those videos, check the option “Import compatible videos directly” on the main window.

Futhermore, it’s possible your videos are in H.264 format while being stored in an incompatible container (most likely MKV). In that case, VideoDrive can copy the video and move it inside a compatible M4V container, without lengthy reconversions. For this, enable the option “Remux compatible H.264 tracks” on the Import tab of Preferences (beta).


Conversion Tools

VideoDrive supports several tools to convert your videos. By default, the QuickTime framework is used. However, QuickTime is not the fastest kid on the block. Therefore, you can also choose to convert videos with HandBrake or Elgato Turbo.264 (HD). You can choose the tool on the import tab of the preferences panel. Click the ‘Install More’ button to install other tools and click the refresh button to update the list if installed tools are missing.


QuickTime 7 (Pro)

By default, VideoDrive will choose QuickTime 7 if it is present on your machine. Upon conversion, your videos will briefly open in QuickTime 7, after which you will see a progress bar. Conversions can take a long time. If you wish to edit the videos first, you can enable the option ‘Allow video editing or trimming by pausing during import’ on the import tab the preferences panel.  If you have Mac OS X 10.6 or higher, QuickTime 7 might not be installed by default. If you cannot locate QuickTime 7 in the Applications or Applications/Utilities folder, it is not present. You can install it for free by following the installation instructions. If your videos do not play correctly in QuickTime X, you must first install additional codecs.

 Notes for Pro users: QuickTime 7 Pro is supported as well. If you have registered the Pro version, you are able to edit and trim your videos using the Pro version. This option is available on the import tab of preferences panel.


QuickTime X

QuickTime X has been introduced in Mac OS X 10.6 and offers the same conversion results as QuickTime 7. However, it offers less robust support for some older and exotic video formats, and can be slower. We advice against using QuickTime X. Upon conversion, your videos will briefly open in QuickTime X, after which you will see a progress bar. Conversions can take a long time or fail repeatedly if the format is not properly supported by QucikTime X. QuickTime X is only available on Mac OS X10.6 and is installed by default. If your videos do not play correctly in QuickTime X, you must first install additional codecs.


Elgato Turbo.264 (HD)

Elgato offers several hardware and sofware solutions for faster video conversions. If you have any of the supported solutions installed on your machine, you can use it instead of relying on QuickTime. For any support regarding the conversions itself, we redirect you to the Elgato Support site.  When converting, the Elgato software will launch and convert your videos. After conversions are finished, VideoDrive will continue with the import process.

Supported software versions:

  • Elgato Turbo.264
  • Elgato Turbo.264 HD
  • Elgato Turbo.264 HD Demo
  • Elgato Turbo.264 Video Converter

 Make sure the Elgato software is present in the Applications or Applications/Utilities folder of your Mac OS.

 Note for Pro users: if you have specified your own conversion presets in Elgato Turbo.264 (HD), you can reuse them in VideoDrive by filling out their name in the ‘Conversion Parameters’ box on the Import tab of Preferences. If you use import method 5, your preset will be used instead.

 Note on failed conversions:  Some errors produced by the Elgato software might not be properly reported back to VideoDrive. In that case you will receive a 9000 error indicating no valid file was produced by the conversion tool and the import process will fail.



 HandBrake is an open-source tool offering fast and reliable conversions. Not all video formats are supported though. VideoDrive offers support for the HandBrakeCLI (Command Line Interface) version. You can install this tool by clicking VideoDrive in the menu bar and selecting “Install Supported Tools”.


Note for Pro users: You can pass optional parameters to HandBrake in the import tab of VideoDrive Preferences. The guide of all HandBrake parameters can be used as reference. If you wish to overwrite the default output parameter, you need to include the --e or --encode parameter. Also, you cannot alter the file extension at the moment. Advanced logging can be consulted the detailed activity log of the latest HandBrake conversion in the  file ‘VideoDrive_HandBrake.log’ in the Console of Mac OS X. The Console is located in the Applications/Utilities folder.

Subtitles: If you have an SRT subtitle files, it will be automatically included in the converted file. You are adviced to add a parameter (see above) to determine the language of the SRT-subtitle file to avoid that any subtitle track is labeled ‘undetermined’. This parameter --srt-lang must be followed by the three first characters of the language: fra, eng, spa, ...

Compatibility with older iDevices: If you have older devices (including iPhone 3 or iPad 1), make sure to select those devices on the Devices tab of Preferences. This way, the most suitable presets for your devices will be automatically used.





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