Encoding Video Optimized for the iPad

Ken Stone's FCP by Richard Taylor

The iPad looks to be another big hit device for Apple. Over one million sold so far in the USA alone. At some point you probably will be producing videos for this device. I'm going to show you how you can make Compressor settings and Droplets to encode video optimized for the iPad.

The iPad will play video up to 1280x720p resolution, 30 frames per second in H.264 and Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz. It will also play MPEG-4 video up to 640 by 480 pixels. In this tutorial I am going to use 1280x720 H.264 video.

The quickest and easiest way to encode HD video for the iPad is to use the H.264 for Apple TV setting in Compressor. This will produce a video that is playable on the iPad and looks great.

The quickest and easiest way to encode HD video for the iPad is to use the H.264 for Apple TV setting in Compressor. This will produce a video that is playable on the iPad and looks great.

The downside to using this stock setting is the data rate is 5000 Kbps, which produces larger than necessary files sizes for great looking HD video on the storage limited iPad.

So I made some optimized Compressor settings and Droplets specifically for iPad HD video. If you are in a hurry, there is a link where you can download my customized Compressor Droplets at the end of this article. If you want to learn how I made them and how you can further customize them, read on.

First, let's look at the default H.264 for Apple TV settings in Compressor's Settings window. As you can see below, the Bit Rate is, by default, set to 5000 Kbps (I'm going to use 3Mbps = 3000 Kbps). This is wasting valuable space on an iPad with its limited storage with no improvement in iPad display quality. I'm going to make an Apple Device setting for a Bit Rate of 3000 Kbps (3Mbps). read more...

AppleCompressorFcs3H.264Ipad

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