Skip navigation

So, you’ve got an iPad and you’ve made its acquaintance. You might even be best of friends already. I know I am with mine.

But no matter how much you like/love your iPad, there is no way to get around the fact that, unless you buy your video from iTunes, you don’t have much ability to make the videos look nice and as professionally cool looking as the iTunes bought ones do in the app. You’ve ripped the first few episodes of your precious Lost, Season 1 DVDs and have put them on your iPad, but unlike the iTunes purchased one, you may have no artwork. You certainly have no episode summaries, content ratings, descriptions for movies, or cast and crew info. All you’ve got is whatever you named the movie or episode in iTunes and some technical information about the file. It doesn’t have to be that way.

I’m going to assume you know how to rip a DVD and get your movie into iTunes. I’m also assuming you’re using a Mac. If you’re not using a Mac I’d say that’s the first thing you need to work on. ­čśë

All you’re going to need is an application called Subler which you can find here…
…and some Google skills.

In iTunes, right click on your movie file and choose ‘Show in Finder’. Now right click on the file and choose to open it in Subler.

At first glance, it doesn’t look like much does it? For now ignore the top section. What we’re trying to accomplish doesn’t need that section. In there you can add additional physical features (audio tracks, subtitles, etc.) of your Quicktime movie. But, what were interested in is the bottom section. If there’s anything in there you can click on it in the left column and hit the delete key or press the minus button on the bottom left.

It doesn’t matter what order you do the next bit in. Basically you’re just going to be filling in the information you’d like the movie to have on your iPad.

Press the plus button at the bottom left. You’ll see a long list of choices. Any one of those items can be added to the information included with your movie file. Choose ‘Name’. This is exactly what it says it is. The ‘Name’ field corresponds to what you might think of as track title or name filed in iTunes. So, in my case, I’m going to fill in, ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

Next, I’m going to add the ‘Director’ field and put in, ‘Tim Burton’.

All of the information you need can be gotten from the IMDB at

So, looking up Alice in Wonderland on the IMDB, I’ll have all the information I could possibly want.

I’m going to add a field for the co-director (if there is one), cast, and screenwriters. One weird thing about this is that you will only ever be shown one line when editing the field, but you can put in a massive amount of information. You’ll also notice that when copying and pasting into the field you’ll need to be creative and scroll up and down editing so that everything is lined up nicely…or nice enough anyway for your taste. ┬áBasically, just be open minded and creative. You should get the hang of it pretty easily.

The last tricky thing about this process is the ‘Description’ field. There are two fields actually, ‘Description’ and ‘Long Description’. iTunes seems to use the ‘Description’ field while iPad wants the information to be in the ‘Long Description’ field. Normally, I’ll either put the same description in both fields to cover all my bases, or I’ll take a short description from the IMDB and a long description, putting them in the appropriate fields.

Ok, we’re almost done. Now click on the second tab in the bottom panel labeled ‘artwork’. Here you can paste or drag in any image into the window. This will become your cover art for the movie or TV Show. Note that in the case of TV Shows this will be the cover art for the show, not the episode.

For movie and TV cover art I usually go to Their cover art is big and of high quality, which is what you’re looking for for iPad or even iTunes, Front Row, or AppleTV. Shoot for artwork bigger than 300×300 or whatever dimensions you find you like. For music and TV you’ll want square artwork and for movies you’ll want a portrait, poster proportioned image. You can also Google for artwork pretty easily.

Finally, the third tab is simple. You can select the type of media it is, Movie, TV Show, etc. In the drop down box and tick any tick boxes you deem appropriate. This information will show up in iTunes and on iPad making your video seem all the more professional.

Save your work, command-s.

The last step is possibly the most important. For itunes to see these changes you’ve made and saved to the movie file, you’ll need to delete the movie from iTunes and choose KEEP FILE when asked. It is REALLY important that you don’t let it trash your file and hence your work. Once you’ve done that, add the movie back to iTunes. You’ll be able to find it in it’s original location in the Finder. When you choose to keep the file iTunes simply leaves the video in place.

That’s it! You’ve now got a professional looking video file that will work as intended on iPad.

It’s a cheesy title. I’ll grant you that. But it’s cheesiness is appropriate for the emotion this item from Apple elicits in one fortunate enough to have their hands on the almost mythical iPad. How could something possibly live up to the hype and apparent hyperbole about a tablet, a category of device that’s never fared that well or proven to be something people want? And yet January of 2010 arrived and Apple not only announced a tablet but one that fell far short of what anyone expected. Apple announced to the anxious masses of Apple fans and Apple skeptics, a device that was not only not a computer in the strictest sense but was essentially, to observers, a giant iPod Touch.

What no one saw, what no one realized, was that in making a non computer, Apple had gone beyond making a mere tablet, running the same OS X as my Mac Mini. What they made was something new based on technologies that began with the iPhone. The iPad is no more a big iPod Touch, than an F-18 fighter jet is just a suped up Beachcraft. The iPad is your pad of paper and pen plus your organizer with an added amount of research tool and art studio. It’s your portable DVD player (actually more akin to a portable Blu-Ray) with a sprinkling of MP3 player. All this is wrapped into a device that is a little thicker than a legal pad and certainly no longer or wider. It is no stretch to say that when you have one, it will be your constant companion. It will be something different to everyone that has one, and to each it will be an essential, a tool that without you will feel set adrift.

Herein lies the dilemma of the converted. The lover of their iPad is filled with such joy and excitement, such amazement, that we literally feel compelled to not only tell everyone we meet about it, but to describe it in such endearing terms that one would think we must be talking about a puppy, kitten, or small hairless human spawn. It truly is everything Apple claimed it would be and more. In fact it’s my feeling that Apple was rather restrained in their praise of it.

There is a price for my enthusiasm though. As I enthuse about iPad (yes I dropped the article) I am making myself a target of an unlimited amount of derision, mocking, and disgust. I will be labeled a fan boy follower, a Jobs following sheepy fashionista facebooking twitterite with no brain of my own who blindly buys whatever Apple cares to dish out. No one but the converted will believe anything other than the above.

What I find particularly interesting about this criticism is that it is absolute hypocrisy. If we forget for a moment that Apple made good on the promises they made about their product, that it is truly something wonderful, and imagine that I’m experiencing an irrational amount of emotion about a product created by a commercial entity, I have one question. How am I so different? According to stereotypes men experience the same emotional highs about cars and trucks, boats, sports teams, and shooting things. Women; shoes, makeup, jewelry and hairless human spawn. Now I don’t personally believe or hold these stereotypes as true, but we accept them nonetheless. Just look at Sex in the City, we believe these emotions are just fine and more than normal. How then is the Apple enthusiast any different?

The answer, is that the Apple enthusiast is treading on ground that is actually important and can not be ignored. It’s feared that the Apple enthusiast is getting instep not with a product but with an ideology. The derision comes from the fact that people fear change which is what Apple is all about. Apple makes their business one that doesn’t simply create electronics but that shapes the way we conduct our increasingly digital lives. For the naysayers every iPhone in a person’s hand on the bus or train is a sign that things simply aren’t going their way. We, the Apple enthusiasts must bear their ill will and pay for their disappointment

I, and I believe most Apple enthusiasts, do not blindly follow Steve Jobs, joining some cult of Apple, but rather observe a man with a company conducting its business responsibly and according to what they believe people want, not what they think people should want. I and many other iPad owners have not drunk the cool-aid, but rather have seen the evidence, waked the walk for myself, and realized that, for me individually, Apple is laying the path I want to walk, for now. I do so well aware of what I’m doing. I don’t shell out my hard earned money easily or lightly and when I do I tend to make the right decision, for me.

So with all that said, when I say that the iPad is a life changing productivity enhancing digital friend that you will come to love and cherish, it is not emotion but knowledge based on thought, consideration, and experience Apple users are rarely given credit for.