Permute: Fast, Intuitive, No-Frills Video Conversion

You have an iPod, an iPad, an Xbox, and a large media collection that you legally ripped from old DVDs. You discover that some are in an .m4v format, while others in a .avi (DivX) format. How would you easily convert that content to be able to watch it on all your various devices which require different formats? You might try downloading a free video conversion application, but most software that claims to easily convert videos is bloated and complex to use. Permute is different.

Permute makes it extremely easy to drag, drop, and convert your videos and music files. Drag a movie onto Permute and choose from the large selection of file formats. It includes formats for specific devices like an iPod, Xbox, and a PSP; as well as video formats like FLV, DivX, MPEG-1 and more. Permute makes it really easy to convert files and get you one step closer to enjoying your content. Let’s take a look at how it works!

Getting Started

Permute is easy to setup, and within seconds of installation is ready to convert content. Drag Permute to your applications folder and open it. Now select a video file or music file that you wish to convert, dragging and dropping it onto Permute’s window.

Drag and drop a video file onto Permute to start converting

Drag and drop a video file onto Permute to start converting

You’ll see a drop-down menu offering a wide range of formats for various devices. The format you will want will depend on your specific target. Most video content is formatted into an AVI because it creates a smaller file size without dramatically ruining video quality.

FLV, WMV, and MP4 works really well for embedding into a website – choose one of those if you are uploading to sites like YouTube. If you wish to mainly use this content with iTunes, select the M4V format to easily watch and sync it to your various Apple devices. Permute can convert just about any format of video.

Once you have a video file converting, you can create a queue that will run one after another. Drag another video file onto Permute and it will start a queue of videos. This won’t affect the current conversion and you can queue multiple files.

Multi Conversion

Multi Conversion

How Long Does it Take?

Conversions can take anywhere from minutes to hours depending on the length of the video, the format you selected, and the power of the machine. Permute does take advantage of multi-core processors, so it would convert faster on an eight core Mac Pro than a MacBook Air.

Permute is 64-bit application, making it faster and more memory efficient with larger amounts of data.

iTunes Importing

Permute also offers automatic iTunes importing, enabled through the Preferences windows. This can automatically add your content to an iTunes Playlist or just add it to your library. Combine this with the queue feature to take your collection of FLV videos and create iPhone specific versions automatically.

Click Permute > Preferences to enable iTunes Importing

Permute works with Audio as well. Drag and drop an MP3 to convert to a wide variety of music formats. Permute will even convert a video file and strip the video, creating a regular MP3 file! Turn your home movies of favorite concerts and create homemade live performances that you can add to your iPod.

Various Video Conversion Formats

Various Video Conversion Formats

Custom Formats for Power Users

In addition to the included conversion options, Permute offers an interface for creating custom conversions. Navigate to the Permute settings to create new custom conversions. When creating a new profile, it will ask you which format to derive the settings from.

Custom Video Settings

Custom Video Settings

After selecting the format, you can change a wide range of settings. Custom advanced settings like audio channels or video bit-rate allow you to fully control your custom video conversion. Some formats even let you custom the video size, allowing you to easily slim down a file before you sync it with your media device or netbook.


Permute makes it easy to convert your media into whatever you need. While other applications might offer more features for power users, Permute makes it simple to drag, drop, and convert. This is perfect for any users that wants something that “just works”. Within seconds you can start converting just about any video content.

I’ll give Permute an 9/10 for an amazing interface and intuitive controls. The app was created as a simple and easy way to convert large collections of videos into specific formats. Permute is fast and bloat-free, unlike several other alternative video conversion programs.

Permute is $14.95 from FuelCollective, the developers of Snippet, Eon, and Swatch.


Permute is the perfect A/V conversion tool for those of us that are not A/V experts. With its drag and drop ease of use and simple, custom settings behind the curtain, it’s the answer to all the "other" confusing and complicated alternatives.



Add Yours
  • I must say I was disappointed with this app. The custom framerate settings do not work and won’t be fixed until a future version (per Fuelcollective helpdesk).

    What this means in practical terms is that, if I have a video shot with my D-SLR (that saves movies at 30fps), when converting with permute, it will always convert to 24fps, regardless of the custom settings used. End result, a non-smooth video experience, with a couple jumps because of the frames that are removed.

    I also found the end picture quality to be below average, when comparing with Handbrake, for instance.

    THe only advantage I see in this software, is the ability to batch convert easily

  • Apart from moving the file to iTunes, does this app do anything that can’t be done with FFmpegX?

    • The simplicity :)
      But I don’t think personally that that is worth 15 bucks.

    • FuelCollective made this app for users that want simplicity. Sure Handbrake and other applications offer more advanced features, but this app is for the users that want drag and drop simplicity.

  • seems like the only g00d thing about this app is the sexy interface =)

  • So this is like Evom, instead it is not free. Great.

    • Evom is in beta right now. It’s going back to the same $15 like it was before. I’m not sure about the price though, but it wasn’t free.

  • Tried this out this weekend. My converted movie had no audio.
    Then I used old, reliable Visualhub. It did it faster, better, with more options, and it had audio… Id replace Visualhub with something with a better UI, like Permute, but it just doesnt do as good of a job.

  • Thanks everyone for your honest opinions, we do care about our product and users very much and we’re always listening, as you may find a bug or two, we try to work those bugs out quickly and release updates. In fact, we have an update for Permute that’s coming out soon.

    We’d love to hear any more thoughts, ideas, bugs, or feature suggestions at

    • I got one question.
      I tried to convert from mkv with sub/ to mp4. the sub is gone after the conversion.
      What do I have to do to keep the sub?

  • My only issue with it is the arrow on the home screen is really blurry and the shadow on the text, “Drop Media Here” is a bit OTT. Also it looks a bit silly because the grey bar across the bottom is larger and darker then the bar across the top. It just doesn’t look very symmetrical.

    Sure I’m being picky, but when the simple interface is it’s main selling point, I think they could have put a bit more effort into the design…

    Overall it’s a really great app. I love the simplicity. That’s why I use this instead of handbreak.

  • I tried it out and loved it. I purchased it too! It is perfect for many dead simple conversions and if I want more control then I’ll use one of the other solutions I have to do that.

    I have used A LOT of other tools and this is really the easiest I’ve found. I have a lot of iphone (cell phone) video that I take and this is really the perfect conversion tool for it.

  • Good recommendation!

    Appstorm is my favorite site for Mac Apps recommendation. So much Gems here!

    Here is a challenging one – what is a good Video Softwares for viewing and organization. For Photos there is iPhoto. There is just any for videos.

    It should be able to incorporate metadatas like Director, Actor, Genre and Tagging.

    iTune is just too slow for this purposes.

    Many thanks.

    • I tried a couple of apps but after much effort trying organize my videos as well as my music; I finally found iDentify 2

      It let’s me organize my videos into itunes with all the meta-data filled in and artwork as well. It was so good I stopped using the others.

      Here are the names of the ones I can remember:

      Delicious Library 2

      but there were 2 more I’m forgetting right now.

      • Hi Phillip,

        Multiplex is so cool! Many Thanks!

        But it seems that they have stopped developing it for almost a year!

  • have anyone tried Miro converter? it has similar drag n drop interface and it’s free..

    • Actually i thought Miro looked almost the same (drag and drop, same preferences at the top, etc), except you can choose the video format, Though I admit, miro is great! Though I complement with Handbrake for the odd time.

      • i just tested Miro, Permute and Evom to convert an AVI file to MP4. the result is Miro is the fastest and have the smallest file size.. not bad..

        but this is just a simple test.. dont take my word for it.. you should try them out urself.. that’s what trials are for, rite?

  • I want to like this but it’s just too slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
    I can run a file thru vh lets say in 10 min and this one takes 30 min but the interface is nice.

    I think the best paid one is easywmv, it’s fast and once I set it for stand video how I want them just right-click > open with easywmv
    (it converts most file types not just wmv )

  • I was wondering why someone would miss this free awesome app “ReduxEncoder”. Try it and it is free :)