Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)


10/24/05,11:00 pm



What are Podner's minimum system requirements?

Podner requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, QuickTime® 7.0.3 or later, and iTunes® 6.0 or later. Also, while Podner processes each movie file, you will also need approximately 3x the hard drive space of the original file.


Does Podner require QuickTime Pro?

No. Podner is based on QuickTime but does not require you to register QuickTime Pro. If you meet the minimum system requirements, you can use Podner as soon as you download and install it.


Is Podner as slow as QuickTime Pro?

For most files, no. Podner provides MPEG-4 and H.264 encoding options, which gives you the choice between fast, average quality in larger files vs. slow, good quality in smaller files. Podner also includes an H.264 MultiPass setting, which is extremely slow in most cases but produces excellent image quality. We recommend MPEG-4 for most files, which is definitely faster than QuickTime Pro's iPod to Movie (320x240) export option.


Why not just use QuickTime Pro to do all of this?

Podner is tightly focused on making it a snap to move your video clips from a wide variety of formats to the two formats the video iPod supports. It allows you to load one or more video clips, set how you want them encoded, choose the name and genre that will appear in iTunes, pick a poster frame that works in iTunes, then takes care of the rest, including moving the file to the iTunes music folder and adding it to your iTunes library. Podner provides additional compatibility, quality, and performance benefits above and beyond QuickTime Pro's iPod to Movie (320x240) option and iTunes' built-in Convert Selection For iPod option. For instance, try processing MPEG files with QuickTime Pro or iTunes. Podner can usually handle these files with ease.


Which Encoding and Quality should I use for my video files?

In general, MPEG-4 provides adequate quality in a reasonable amount of processing time, at the expense of some additional file space. We recommend MPEG-4 for most video files.

H.264 produces great quality in smaller files, but does require more time than MPEG-4 to achieve these results. H.264 MultiPass produces even better quality in about the same file size, but needs 2-3x as much processing time as H.264.

Output quality, and file space requirements, will increase as you move the Quality setting from Good to Best.


Can Podner set the poster frame for my video clips?

Yes. In one swoop, Podner can re-encode your video files and set the poster frame for each. Other tools require you to perform each step separately.


Can Podner process DVDs or VIDEO_TS folders?

Due to legal concerns Podner is not prepared to handle data directly from DVDs and VIDEO_TS folders. You might look into a free application named HandBrake, available at handbrake.m0k.org. We are not affiliated with the author of HandBrake and have not quality-tested HandBrake. That said, some of our users have reported great success converting their DVDs to MPEG-4 files and later reformatting for the iPod with Podner. Your mileage may vary and we will disavow you if you are caught and tortured by Big Brother.


Does Podner support Windows Media formats?

Podner can process Windows Media files when you install the Flip4Mac WMV Import solution, available at www.flip4mac.com. In many cases, Flip4Mac's extensive WMV compatibility produces superior image quality compared to ffmpeg-based video conversion utilities.


Is Podner compatible with AVI files with DivX content?

Yes. Download the free DivX package at www.divx.com/divx/mac to enable full DivX compatibility.


Is Podner compatible with AC-3 audio?

Yes. Podner can process files with independent AC-3 audio tracks with the help of version 0.3 of the QT AC-3 Codec, available at sourceforge.net. This solution is open source and not officially supported, but appears to work well in our tests.


Does Podner Support MPEG Muxed Audio?

Yes. MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 are not fully supported by QuickTime, which can only export the video from source data in these formats. This presented a challenge to Podner, which is based on QuickTime. We're pleased to say that by extracting the audio independently of QuickTime Podner does export both video and audio from most MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 sources.

Audio and video synchronization for these files, however, is hit or miss. During our research we experienced successful audio and video synchronization in over 80% of our test files. The remaining tests resulted in synchronization issues, unpredictably ranging from slight to very noticeable. We repeated our tests with several leading video conversion tools and their results ranged from somewhat less successful to slightly more successful than our own success rate. Essentially this means that an MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 file that you plan to convert may export with excellent audio and video synchronization, but there is really no guarantee.

Synchronization problems are well known to those experienced in re-encoding MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 source files. Video/audio stream discrepancies are normally handled transparently by the MPEG standard's advanced timing mechanisms. MPEG decoders can use timing information embedded in each video and audio sample to compensate for corruption and/or the disappearance of parts of the source data. But extracting the audio separately and adding it to another type of movie file, such as an MPEG-4 or H.264 file, removes any timing information from the audio stream. To reach perfect synchronization beyond this point, especially with less than ideal source material, the movie file's contents would have to be reviewed in a video editing application, stretching or scaling the audio and/or video to match key events in the video stream until synchronization is achieved.

Because of these considerations, we cannot make any assurances about the outcome of exported MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 file formats. We have made every possible effort to ensure compatibility within our limitations and believe we are on par with current consumer tools. If you experience synchronization problems that are not present in the source material, feel free to let us know.


Is Podner available for Windows?

No. Podner is very dependent on the Mac OS X operating system and cannot easily be made to work on Windows.


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