Automatically convert movies / tv shows and add them to itunes

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by kramerica2, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. kramerica2 macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2009
    I got several hundreds of movies and tv shows on my computer. These movies are in MKV, XVID or DIVX formats, and what I'd like to do is:
    1. Convert all of them to .mov, .mp4 or .m4v - not only the container, but when needed actually convert the video to an itunes friendly format, and when not needed just to passthrough the video and audio.
    2. Add all of them to the right place in itunes (movies to movies, tv shows to tv shows) with all the available data (movie poster, description, season number, etc... the same data that Plex and Boxee download automatically).

    I'm looking for a software that will do all that automatically, I want to just let it run for a few days (or more if needed) and that at the end I'll see all my movies and tv shows in itunes, and will be able to stream them to an ATV, to copy them to an iphone or ipad and basically do with them everything I could do if I bought them from itunes instead of DVDs/BRs like I did.

    Is there any program that will do that?
  2. rprebel macrumors 6502


    Aug 22, 2010
    Where the bluebonnets bloom
    Since, as you say, you bought all this and have it on DVD or BD, why not re-rip the originals in .m4v instead of converting?
  3. kramerica2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2009
    You're kidding, right? I know you meant to "hint" that I didn't buy all of them, but actually I did, and at a very good price. Check your local DVD/BR rent shop, they have tons of used for sale at ridiculous prices. I'm doing that for more than 8 years. The downside? they're usually scratched to death, so first thing you do with them is rip them to your computer. Oh, and BTW, even ripping those movies that you own is illegal, so what have I got to hide?

    Now, in case you didn't mean anything, I'll answer straight forward: Like I said, I'm looking for an automated process. Inserting and ejecting the disk every time, is about as far as you can get from an automated process...
  4. important macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2009
    To answer your question on the ripping part: Handbrake. There's a guide within this part of the forum.

    You can queue up as much as you want to rip to ATV compatible formats - and even have them placed in a specific directory when the conversion is complete.

    However, since iTunes doesn't actively update its source folders, I don't think you can put your files directly into iTunes. Nor am I sure about the metadata portion you are asking about. But if you have Plex or Boxee or XBMC, those will, as you point out, automatically pull the data you want for you.
  5. kramerica2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2009
    Thanks, but you misunderstood what I want to do.. Handbrake can do only a fraction of what I'm looking for - the conversion itself. While there maybe a way to automate its conversion, it doesn't do any of the other things I'm looking for - tagging data and adding to itunes.
  6. important macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2009
    Then the answer is "no, not that I am aware of."

    I don't even think you can write a script that will put the resulting file into iTunes. Again, this wouldn't be an issue if iTunes automatically checked its designated content folder, but since it doesn't, I think you (and the rest of us) are SOL.
  7. Shoesy macrumors 6502a


    Jun 21, 2007
    Colchester, UK.
    I've been using a program called videodrive recently, it does a better job of automatically tagging then metaX (IMO) and has some rudimentary conversion options too. I really would urge everyone to give it a go - you get 20 trial conversions to start with and then it's a very reasonable price...
  8. GeekGuys macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2009
    Not sure if this will work but....

    Handbrake has a preference to send to MetaX

    MetaX has a preference to send to iTunes

    If you link these together then this might work... not sure what the command lines are for these if you wanted to use that but you could set the preferences, queue all the files up in Handbrake, then as each one finished, it would send it to MetaX for tagging. This would then send to iTunes when tagged.

    Hope it works for you.
  9. rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Meta X will add movies to iTunes automatically after added tags, but that doesn't avoid the "manual" effort of adding tags even though the app does a decent job of trawling for pre-packaged tags and/or providing sources for the information.

    Like Handbrake, you can queue up tag jobs in Meta X, and then set in running on a batch of files that it will tag, save and then copy to iTunes (if you have the preference set).

    Batching is probably the way to go for you. Set up a batch to encode. Walk away for a few hours (or days, if there's a lot of HD encoding). Set up a batch of tagging in Meta X. Walk away for a few hours while it tags and transfers your files to iTunes.

    Obviously the time element changes based on the speed of your machine. Mine (see sig. line) takes 1-2 hours to rip a Blu Ray (with Make MKV), 4-5 hours to encode it for ATV in Handbrake, 3-4 minutes to write tags in Meta X, 5-10 minutes to transfer it into iTunes and a minute or so to sync it up to my ATV menus (after which you can start playing the movie even though it takes 5-10 minutes for the whole movie to sync).

    The only wrinkle is that I cannot use Meta X's automatic upload to iTunes, because I need to ad an HD tag and cnID to my file in Subler, so that I can nest HD & SD versions of the same movie. That's a fast process, but it interrupts the workflow and cannot, as far as I know, be batched.
  10. hanssoleur macrumors newbie


    Sep 10, 2010
    This may help?

    Not being very technically minded, please forgive me if this reply offers no solution to you, but I came by this gadget a while back, and was very interested until I saw the price. It did talk about ordering your music into itunes as I remember, but alas I don't know if it would file films in there too for you.

    Again, sorry if this wastes your time.
  11. roidy macrumors 65816

    Dec 30, 2008
    Nottingham, UK
    I don't know weather rprebel was having a go at you or not but he is correct, from a quality point of view it would be better to rip the DVD's again. Everytime you convert from one format to another you lose some quality, so converting a DVD to mkv/avi and then converting the mkv/avi to mp4 would lose more quality than just doing a straight conversion from DVD to mp4.
  12. kramerica2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2009
    Thank you all, at the moment Video Drive that was recommended here came close, but it didn't work with my video files, so no luck there. I think the reason is that it uses the quicktime conversion process, and I need a program that will use handbrake or similar.

    At the moment I'm thinking of ditching the whole "move to itunes" idea, and instead of getting the ATV, I'll wait to the boxee box. Too bad, that AirPlay feature is a real killer... but, there's so much work I'm willing to do in order to use it.
  13. ecowood macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2009
    Handbrake Automator scripts and iflicks

    Hi I use iflicks as part of the Automator scripts from iTunes. It adds most of the metadata and pops the converted files into iTunes.
  14. kramerica2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2009
    iflicks works the same way as video drive. It uses the Quicktime framework in order to do the conversion, so it can't handle most of my movies.
  15. Shoesy macrumors 6502a


    Jun 21, 2007
    Colchester, UK.
    Try selecting the use old version of QuickTime option in video drive and installing perian. Worked fine for me. As always with cross encoding quality is of course a concern.
  16. ecowood macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2009
    Flaten to QuickTime in iflicks

    I flatten to QuickTime my avi etc in iflicks so they load in iTunes. I don't recode them.
  17. jaykk macrumors 6502a

    Jan 5, 2002
    Automatically Add to iTunes

    Not sure if many people know about "Automatically Add to iTunes" folder, its a neat way to move bunch of files via script.

    This is how i add files to iTunes.

    1) Convert/rip the files in iTunes compatible format to a temp folder
    2) Move that files to "Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Automatically Add to iTunes " folder.
    Any files placed in this folder is added instantly to iTunes Library. But no meta data/Album Artwork

    3) Once in iTunes, select multiple items, press get info, modify genre or video type etc.

    4) Manually add Album artwork etc.
  18. jgunn macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2008
    iflicks is great, started converting all mine today, can I ask, when you flatten and load into itunes will they still stream to the apple tv?
  19. rmanke macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2008
    iTunes has the capability to monitor a folder, and any items placed in that folder will be imported into the library.

  20. aelalfy macrumors 6502a

    May 2, 2010
    Berlin, Germany
    Tried it and it didnt work for streaming on AppleTV

  21. newagemac macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2010
    How do you do that?
  22. rmanke macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2008
    Locate the folder named "Automatically Add to iTunes" in your iTunes Music folder. (Requires iTunes 9 or later)

    MacOSX: ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/Automatically Add to iTunes/

    Windows: C:\Users\Your Username\Music\iTunes\iTunes Media\Automatically Add to iTunes\

    Anything that is placed into that folder will automatically be imported into iTunes.

    You can create an alias to that folder on your desktop, and drag items into it, or have an automated script place things into that folder, to have them imported automatically by iTunes.
  23. Bernard SG macrumors 65816

    Bernard SG

    Jul 3, 2010
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    Toast Titanium seems to be the tool that will do things the closest to your requirements. However, I don't think it will handle sources of different formats. Never tried though.
  24. dhy8386 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2008
    First off, great user name.

    The following guide will do everything you need and want. All automated. Its leverages Hazel which is an amazing tool and once you learn how to use it, youll never go back. I have tested this on a few mkvs and avis and it works great.


    Note the author is only referencing AVIs so youll need to to create rules for each file type (MKVs, etc). Also, to convert the MKVs you will want to install CLI version of handbrake for mac and leverage the automator scripts (Batch Rip * Batch Encode) found in Part 3 of this guide for the automatic handbrake conversions. Could even use it to replace the quicktime element the author refers to and just use handbrake exclusively.

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