convert mkv movies with subtitles for ipad?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by billyzenme, May 30, 2010.

  1. billyzenme macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2009
    I have some HD movies that I'd like to convert for myiPad but I'm having trouble so far and wasted a lot of time failing to achieve results.

    I'm running Snow Leopard on a Mac that's Core 2 Duo and got 4GB ram. Got Perian and Quicktime 7 pro and QuickTime X.

    My mkv files are usually like this:
    Audio: either DTS or AC3
    Video track 1: main movie video track
    Video track 2: subtitles <--- either embedded text file or an actual video with text in it.

    What I want to do is hardcode/blend-merge that subtitles track so that I can generate a h.264 file that only has 1 video track (1280*720 and 5mb/s) and AAC 160kbps.

    I tried Quicktime 7 and X and they both always look fine when I just play/watch them without any conversion but when I try converting them using QuickTime 7/X, I get a video that's either just got the main movie video track with no subtitles, or a video that's got a video track just all black (and decent amount of bit rate in it). The audio track always come out fine in the videos, but it's the video tracks that causing problems.

    I tried Handbrake but it didn't let me set the exact conversion bit rate (i want 5mb/s) and didn't even recognize my subtitle tracks.

    Video Monkey - failed to even start converting. Just generated a lot of errors.

    VLC - crashed when I tried to convert.

    Any of you got any clue or suggestions? I'm looking for a simple converting process. thx
  2. CristobalHuet macrumors 65816


    Jan 18, 2008
    EDIT: crap, I just realized you want hard-coded subs. My post doesn't apply for that then, but it could be useful for remuxing MKV to MP4/M4V.

    If your mkv's are H.264 and AAC based, you can simply remux them using Subler (open source!). That's what I've been doing. Vastly faster than Handbrake and same quality, that is, if the video is H.264 and audio is AAC. You may need to do additional tweaking to the mkv file to get it to AAC before using Subler, as you probably know, AAC is what the iPad works with.

    I see you have mostly AC3/DTS audio. A program (Windows) like foobar2000 would be needed to convert that to AAC, then you can proceed with Subler by either importing a newly created mkv or the individual streams (h264 and aac - I use mkvtools gui on Mac to extract streams really fast too). VLC can also be used for DTS -> AAC IIRC.

    Simple import the mkv file into Subler (File > New, then hit +...I didn't get this at first, that's why I'm including it, maybe you're quicker than me :p), select the audio, video and subtitle tracks, and remux to m4v or mp4.


    Hope this helped, somewhat, I hope you find what you need, rambly mess of a post lol.
  3. billyzenme thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2009
    yeah i want to hardcode the subtitles track with the main movie video track into 1 video track
  4. tuxing macrumors member

    May 21, 2010
    Handbrake for Mac supports this. You can even add subs which will work on iPad but you have to have the sub as an srt file. You can demux that from mkv or get separate srt from net.
  5. billyzenme thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2009
    I tried Handbrake but it didn't let me set the exact conversion bit rate (i want 5mb/s) and it didn't even recognize some of my subtitle tracks in some mkv files. as i wrote earlier, sometimes the subtitles included in the mkv files are not even embedded text, but rather, another video track of subtitles in it.

    since I didn't rip the files, it's hard for me to also find the right srt file with the right timing for all the mkv movies...

    So handbrake didn't work for me.
  6. billyzenme thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2009
    Nobody knows a solution? There has got to be someone who knows a program or easy process other than handbrake, which did not work btw
  7. reiichiroh macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2009
  8. billyzenme thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2009
    Air video can only convert to 640 by 480 resolution. That's no good for HD videos.

    I am looking to convert HD videos into 1280*720 resolution at 5mb/s bit rate and AC audio at 160kbps.
  9. reiichiroh macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2009
    You can adjust Max Width and Max Height inside the app for conversion settings.

    I have a MacBook unibody but my Core i730 PC does the transcoding for me using XVid4PSP.

    Why are you bothering to transcode to 720p? Maintaining the aspect ratio means 1024x576.
  10. billyzenme thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2009
    I have checked the conversion settings in air video and can confirm it cannot convert to 720p.

    Xvid4psp is a only for windows and I don't ever intend to use windows just for the converting process. I need a Mac software.

    I want to transcode because it is dumb to downscale HD movies,just for the iPad, when in fact the iPad can handle support it (just not displaying it because of the lack of full HD resolution display). Maintaining it in 720p means I can still watch it in HD on Apple TV, Mac and other devices. 1 HD file for all.
  11. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    Handbrake does allow you to specify a bitrate, though I have not used it. It also has a lot of different options for subtitles. Perhaps you just need to fiddle with the parameters a bit.
  12. billyzenme thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2009
    I know handbrake let's you specify a average bit rate and a constant quality in terms of percentage.

    What I need is like QuickTime that let's me set a bit rate CAP/maximum - a constant quality of 5mb/s.nothing higher, nothing lower.

    I tried handbrake for e subtitles too but it couldn't handle the subtitles that is another video track. Handbrake is only good for subtitles that's an embedded text file or an external srt file.
  13. arellem macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2010

    i used a program called mkvtools to convert all of michiko e hatchin from mkv for my ipad with subtitles hardcoded in. it was fast and easy. someone suggested it earlier.
  14. kidclam macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2008
    I am in your same situation.

    Try iSubtitles. Its brilliant.
  15. kidclam macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2008
    If iSubtitles seem to take a long time for MKV.
    I found MKVTools the best one for the iPad.
  16. macforumsguest macrumors newbie

    Oct 2, 2011
    Apple is a dick when it comes to movie formats. For what you need (mkv) with subtitles, you should use HandBrake. It's free, easy and the detailed steps to transfer subtitles on iPad are illustrated with screenshots here. Of-course it works best for external subtitles. For video tracks, try loading them on the subtitles track if you can. As for bit rate, the average bit rate with 2 pass will do the trick!
  17. ctbear macrumors 6502a

    Dec 6, 2010
    Instead of rendering your own videos, why not just use a player that supports mkv and subs? Have you tried AVPlayerHD?
    EDIT: hmm didn't realize this is an old thread
  18. EmmEff macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    That's not an option for my non-jailbroken AppleTV2

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