With so many people using devices like the iPad, iPod, PSP or the AppleTV these days, more often than not they will want to be able to watch videos on them. And their videos, not someone else's. Well, I'll show you how to quickly and easily convert videos for your swanky new device using a program called RipBot.


First off, RipBot is an encoding GUI (graphical user interface) that combines the power of a number of tools into one easy-to-use package for the rest of us. It simplifies a lot of the conversion process for us, which is always nice! Plus it's free. And who doesn't like free?

Getting Started§

Okay, let's get started. Download RipBot (it doesn't need to be installed, just put it somewhere you will be able to find it) and start it up. It will have some pre-requisite programs that it will inform you of (most of you should already have these installed anyways). Just download and install those too if you don't have them. Chances are your going to use them again later on so don't worry about "bloating" your system. Your not.

Once RipBot has been opened, you should see a window like the one below. All it is is a queue showing all of the videos you have yet to convert or have converted. Right now mine is blank (and yours is too) but we will see what it looks like with some content later on. For now, just click the Add button.  

The main window of RipBot.

Choose Your Video Source§

RipBot should prompt you to select a video source. If you have read some of my other tutorials you will know that you can even select Bluray movies as your source. For this example, however, I'm just going to go with a generic clip that I want to see on my iPad or iPod. Select your clip and click OK.

Selecting the input video that we will be encoding.

Set Your Encoding Parameters§

Now it's time to set your encoding settings for your output video. Follow my two blue arrows and select your desire profiles for your output video and audio streams.

The main configuration window for encoding a video in RipBot. The Video and Audio encoding profile drop down menus are highlighted.

Let's start with the video steam. From the drop down, select the [MAIN 3.0] SD . PSP . iPadprofile. If you wanted to convert the video to an iPod compatible format, you would select the iPod profile. Same thing for any of the other options displayed.

The selection of the video encoding profile. The profile pointed to is that of the SD, PSP and iPad profile.

Now let's look at our audio profile. I selected the 96 kbps AACprofile because it sounds just fine for most things, and I don't want to take up too much space. If you want a higher quality audio track, then use a higher bitrate profile like the 128 kbps AAC profile.

Selecting the 96 kbps audio encoding profile.

Video Encoding Mode§

Just to be complete, I'm going to change my video encoding mode to use a 2-pass mode with a bitrate of 1024 kbps. After that, click on the Properties button so that we can adjust and tweak a few additional things so that we can ensure that our video is ready for our desired playback device.

Setting the encoding mode to 2-pass and the bitrate to 1024 kbps. The 'Properties' button is highlighted.

Tuning To Your Device§

One of the nice things about the iPad is that it has a gorgeous 1024 x 768 screen. And we would like our videos to fill up the screen as much as possible, right? For the most part yes, but there are a few tricks to doing so.

First off, we want to pick an output resolution. Now, there are two things we can do here. We can either manually upscale our video to fit the 1024 x 768 iPad screen, or (as this Apple employee noted), we can save on space and encode our video to 640 x 360 and let the iPad (which has a pretty sweet upscaler apparently) upscale the footage on playback. I have shown both settings below, but I leave the choice up to you.

The video resize selection drop down menu. The Custom [1.78,1] profile is select, but the SD-PC profile is also highlighted.

Again, for the sake of being complete, I'll show you how to manually upscale your video. First select the Custom [1,XX:1](the XX will very depending on your input. In this case its "78"). What this line does is tell RipBot that we want to upscale the video but keep the original aspect ratio so that things don't look weirdly stretched.

After selecting the **Custom [1,78:1]**profile, two additional fields will appear, but only the "Width" field will be editable. Enter our desired width of 1024 pixels and you should be good to go.

Adjustment of the output video resolution to 1024 by 576 pixels.

Now, you will notice that there are several other things that we can tweak, and we can even add denoising filters and the like, but to keep this guide from getting obsessively long, we are just going to stop after adjusting the resolution. Feel free to experiment on your own! When you are done click OK.

Setting Your Desired Output Format and Size§

You should be back at the main window now. First off, ensure that your Save As radio button is set to ".mp4", as this is the only format that is supported by iTunes. It may even be necessary to rename your output file to ".m4v" on occasion but only do so if your run into trouble when importing your video to your iPad.

As I mentioned earlier, I set my encoding mode to 2-pass with a bitrate of 1024 kbps. One very cool option that RipBot supports is specifying your desire output size, instead of just the bitrate. All that is necessary is to change your encoding mode to 2-pass and then select the Lock Size [MB] checkbox. Fill in the field with your desired size and enjoy! The video bitrate will adjust based on your specified output size.

A small option found in the video configuration window for setting the output size of your encoded video.

When all is said and done, set your output path to where you want your video to be stored and press the Done button. You should return to the main window.

The Queue and You§

See? I told you I'd talk about this window again!

Okay, your newly configured video should be added to the queue. As you can see, you can queue up any number of videos to be encoded. This is very useful for those of you who like to leave your computer on at night. Simply queue up enough videos for the night and then go to bed and wake up the next morning to a delightful surprise!

But in all seriousness, the queue is quite useful. I use it all the time when encoding TV shows for my iPod.

Whenever you are ready to start, just click that Start button! Enjoy!

The main RipBot encoding which now contains a queued job.