Erik’s Brain

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Getting Videos Onto the iPad Is Hit and Miss

One of the first things I did when I got my iPad was try to get some of my paid video tutorials onto it. I’ve got a couple of screencasts from Peepcode. I’ve got a screencast series from Pragmatic Programmers. And I’ve got a ton of videos that I’ve downloaded from Lee Brimelow’s goToAndLearn site. Some of the videos were gobbled up by the iPad immediately without any problem. Some were rejected. But I think I figured out an easy way to convert the videos that don’t get loaded onto the iPad.

I’ve got “Meet the Command Line” and “Meet Mercurial.” Now Peepcode is nice enough to give you iPhone ready versions (640x384) of the files along with higher res versions (1000x600) that are meant to be played on your computer. The iPhone videos naturally load right onto the iPad. But I’ve got a 1024x768 screen on this thing and I want the high res versions! The formats of the two desktop videos appeared identical to me. But only the Mercurial video was accepted by the iPad and the command line video was not. This is still a total mystery to me. But I seem to have found a solution that works. Using Quicktime X, you can “Save As” and use the HD 720p preset. As long as the video’s dimensions are under 1280x720, it won’t resize the clip. It just re-encodes it in a different format. However, it might give it a slight gamma shift, making the video appear a little bit lighter. I can live with that in this case. But the important thing is that you end up with a video that loads onto the iPad. I should also note that, now that I’ve done this conversion so I can watch the 1000px version on my iPad, the 640px version works just fine for a screencast that consists of mostly command line input.

The high res videos from Pragmatic Programmers didn’t load on, either. Those guys are only 800x600 and running them through the Quicktime X HD 720p conversion did the trick. The only goToAndLearn video that I tried to load onto the iPad worked without a hitch.

So I can’t give you a reason why some worked and some didn’t. Having one Peepcode video work and the other not work really threw me off. I don’t know if there is a way to glance at the video’s info and know for sure if it’ll work without a conversion. At least I know how to fix things if they don’t work straight away.

Another weird thing with how iPad handles chapters in the video files. First, you can’t access chapters as quickly as you can when viewing on the iPhone. That raised an eyebrow. And if you’ve got the video classified as a TV Show in iTunes, you can’t access chapters at all on the iPad. Weird. Hopefully Apple will address that issue in the next OS update.

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