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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. 😉

All you’re going to need is an application called Subler which you can find here… http://code.google.com/p/subler
…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 IMDB.com.

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.  Basically, 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 getvideoartwork.com. 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.

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