7 Video Encoding Apps for Mac

At some stage you’ve probably all needed to convert videos between various formats. Whether it’s to make that YouTube video play on your iPod, or to watch something a PC-using friend sent to you in an odd format. This task can often seem time consuming and problematic, but with the right tools is no issue.

Luckily, there is an abundance of applications out there for this very purpose. This roundup covers 7 different Mac apps for encoding video into whichever format you’re after. Some are free and some are not, but all do a great job.

Handbrake

Handbrake

HandBrake

One of my favourite applications for encoding video, HandBrake has a wide range of options for exporting your video out for many different devices. These range from Apple TVs to PSPs, making it fast and easy to convert almost any type of format so that it will play on your iPhone for example.

It doesn’t have a huge range of outgoing formats to choose from if you’re looking for something obscure, but as a completely free application, it’s well worth checking out! It also does an excellent job of encoding video from a DVD.

Our detailed review of HandBrake can be found here.

Price: Free
Developer: HandBrake
Requires: Mac OS 10.4 or later

RoadMovie

RoadMovie

RoadMovie

RoadMovie has a very simple and easy to use interface which looks great. Encoding videos is as easy as drag and drop. Once the footage is in there, you can quickly customize things such as the type of device you’d like to export for.

This app has a very similar selection to that of HandBrake, but again does not allow you a huge selection of outgoing formats if that is what you are specifically after. RoadMovie also gives you the ability to add Subtitles, Metadata, Chapters, and even choose which tracks of the material you’d like to keep in the export.

Price: $25
Developer: bitfield
Requires: Mac OS 10.5.2 or later

DVDRemaster

DVDRemaster

DVDRemaster

Whilst DVDRemaster cannot encode standard video into various formats, it does do a superb job of ripping DVDs to various formats for play on the computer, Apple TV, iPod and even some mobile phones. This is great if somebody gives you a video on DVD that you’d like to backup or watch on other devices like your iPhone.

Upon testing this with a couple of commercial DVDs I owned for viewing on my iPod DVDRemaster was unable to encode these due to copyright protection though.

Price: $39.99 ($49.99 for Pro)
Developer: metakine
Requires: Mac OS 10.4 or later

ffmpegX

ffmpegX

ffmpegX

ffmpegX has a huge range of advanced features packed inside its single interface window, however this app would definitely not be the most intuitive to use. When I tried converting a short clip for my iPod Touch, it did it quickly and without hassle, however it stretched the video, and I could not figure out how to do a ‘letterbox’ to maintain the aspect ratio of the clip.

For those looking for a wide range of export options though ffmpegX looks like an excellent option. With over 30 different target formats, it certainly has the largest selection of all the apps, but the interface doesn’t quite do it for me.

Price: Free
Developer: ffmpegX
Requires: Mac OS 10.2 or later

EasyWMV

EasyWMV

EasyWMV

Don’t let the name fool you… this app is not just for Windows Media Video. By far the easiest to use, EasyWMV makes video encoding an absolute breeze. Converting anything from the native windows format (.wmv) to flash (.flv) and 11 others, EasyWMV allows you to very quickly set up your outgoing format. Whilst rather limited, (Quicktime, Apple TV, iPod, and iPhone) it gives you most of the outgoing formats that the average person will find themselves needing.

EasyWMV also has some useful settings for adjusting video, allowing you to change size, preserve aspect ratio, add a letterbox, deinterlace, and adjust the bit rate.

Price: $15
Developer: Patrice Bensoussan
Requires: Mac OS 10.3.9 or later

QuickTime

QuickTime

QuickTime Pro

QuickTime Pro, an easy upgrade from the standard QuickTime Player that comes shipped with Mac OS X, is one that I’d definitely recommend. One of the best features that QT Pro boasts is its ability to convert video easily. There is a large list of conversion options available, even wmv and flv. And it does a great job. With lots of advanced options included for those requiring them, QT Pro could be the perfect choice for you. I do find that QT Pro is fairly slow at exporting video, although I find it makes up for this in the results it produces.

It should be noted that with the release of Snow Leopard due in September, it is rumored that the new QuickTime X might include all Pro features… so it may be worth waiting if you are planning on purchasing the new OS.

Price: $29.99
Developer: Apple
Requires: Mac OS 10.4.10 or later

VisualHub

VisualHub

VisualHub

VisualHub is unfortunately no longer in development, and because of this I’m not sure if it is still possible to find the full version out there. It is however, a great piece of video encoding software that does its job quickly and easily.

Encoding can be done simply by dropping video in, and then selecting from the 9 main formats which to export to. There are also plenty of advanced features for complete customization of the settings. The interface of VisualHub is very friendly and possibly one of my favourites, so it’s a shame this great piece of software is no longer available.

If anybody is aware if it is possible to find the full version somewhere then let us know in the comments!

Price: N/A – Out of development.
Developer: Techspansion
Requires: Mac OS 10.4 or later

Conclusion

After giving all of these apps a go, I’d have to say that QuickTime Pro and HandBrake are my two favorites for their features and end results. RoadMovie was impressive also, and I loved EasyWMV’s simplicity.

If you’re looking to simply encode a few videos to play on your iPod or Apple TV, you may be interested to know that you can actually do this from within iTunes under the Advanced menu.

Let us know which of these you use, and any others that we’ve missed!


  • Tee Cee

    Maybe you could take a look at iVideoConverter.
    It’s based on ffmpeg and it is able to convert almost every video and audio format on the face of the Earth, with a clean and easy to use interfece.
    The advanced features allow you to chose video and audio parameters and customize them as you wish.
    A great subsitute for VisualHub, for only US$10.
    You’ll find it here:
    http://www.ivideoconverter.net
    (And no… I’m the not the developer of iVideoConverter. I’m just an ordinary user.)

  • http://cgdigg.com Chen

    And Stomp
    It’s in the MacBundleBox this year. :)

    • http://jashsayani.com Jash Sayani

      I have Stomp. Its a nice app!

  • http://www.kieru.com Rob

    I love VisualHub / iSquint – it really is a shame that the author dropped that project. I found out about QuickTime Pro’s conversion options when trying to figure out how to convert MKV files to an iTunes-friendly format. It takes awhile for it to convert a 30-minute MKV to MP4; but Quicktime can convert MKV files and integrate any subtitles associated with the file, which is a big perk.

  • Martin

    I’m missing MPEG Streamclip in your list. I discovered that app once looking for something to easily shorten existing videos in whatever format. This as well as deleting parts etc. is very easy with MPEG Streamclip. As I could not find any converter (DVD -> iPod) which would let me specify certain parts of the movie – not only full or chapters – I tried out MPEG Streamclip for that reason and well, it does that too and let’s you either just save any part of a DVD as MPEG or directly convert it to a certain iPhone format. Not as polished as other apps, but it’s very good in what it does. And did I mention that it’s free?

  • LeGaS

    There is also VideoMonkey (http://videomonkey.org). It is based on VisualHub, I think it’s worth a look.

  • fellowweb

    Has anyone already had a look at FilmRedux (former VisualHub) or PunyVid (former iSquint)? (http://sourceforge.net/projects/transcoderredux/)

    Has there still be any development going on after the original programmer’s opensourcing these applications?

    • jfen

      Although I haven’t really tested it much, an Xcode project is included in the FilmRedux sourcecode, and after building it, it looks to be very similar to VisualHub (which I guess should have been obvious). Like I said, I haven’t really used it, but theoretically it should work the same….

  • fellowweb

    And by the way: When will it be possible to receive an e-mail alert upon new comments on a post? This would be really helpful!

  • http://two3studio.net/ Neil Sweeney

    VideoMonkey (http://videomonkey.org/Video_Monkey/News/News.html) is the current replacement for VisualHub.

    “It was created after the demise of the great tool Visual Hub. Video Monkey borrows heavily from the Visual Hub video conversion tool, both conceptually and from the original code dump posted to SourceForge as TranscoderRedux.”

    I use it and I must say it’s awesome; and it’s free as well so can’t go wrong

  • Steve

    I prefer Evom (http://tlaf.com/evom/) to VisualHub and VideoMonkey. The interface is just better!

  • Oxide

    Don’t forget the amazing Conversion app too.

    http://www.logicielmac.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=180390#180390

    • http://www.cuby.co.nr Henry Bennett

      Conversion does indeed look amazing! I’ve just downloaded it to give it a go and I’m very impressed at its interface, features, and ease of use!

      Great find, thanks.

  • Hansgerd Zappenduster

    MPEG Streamclip ist the king. Apart from converting and cutting clips, repairing streams, it does joining and, some of the best features, “saving as”. You can change the container-format of a video for example from .mov to .avi without converting (no quality loss). Very handy if your DVD-Player likes avi’s but no mov’s. One more thing: it’s free (unbelievable).

    • http://www.tufuga.net Devin

      I was also going to mention Mpeg streamclip. The program has really come a long way since I started using it years ago. It has a lot of exporting options these days. To me, the workflow in the program feels very similar to quicktime pro. Square5 is the place that makes this. And Martin is right, its free, and thats the right price for me.

  • Mayhem

    Don’t forget RipIt (http://www.ripitapp.com)

    • Rickey

      +1

    • Bruce

      +1
      also Visual Hub, iFunia Video Converter

      Am I saying it too loud?
      :-)

  • http://dezinerfolio.com Navdeep

    I love VisualHub… really simple and does the job!

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  • MJ

    I prefer the free Evom! http://www.tlaf.com/evom

  • http://www.cuby.co.nr Henry Bennett

    Thanks for sharing all your different encoding apps! There’s even more that I was unaware of than I thought there would be. Evom looks nice, as does Conversion!

    Keep them coming.

  • http://www.macosxscreencasts.com Zettt

    VideoVangelist is also one of those successors to VisualHub. Has almost the same features as iVideoConverter.

    I use both + MPEG Streamclip. But I think I will delete MPEG Streamclip in favor of VideoVangelist and iVideoConverter, because MPEGS deosn’t do FLV videos at all. :(

    What I don’t like about VideoMonkey oder PunnyVid or whatever it’s called is that they currently only support Apple Devices and nothing else. I really need FLV and some other formats as well.

  • Long Chuanren

    Question here: I recorded some video in VR format on my Sony camera. My Mac cannot have it imported into iMovie. Does anybody has any solutions? Many thanks. Long

  • http://christopher-scott.com Christopher Scott

    Also, if you’re a Flash developer, you already have Flash Video Encoder, good for queuing up FLV’s, setting cue points, cropping, scaling… simple stuff.

  • Bill

    Visual Hub can be compiled from source, and is now called FilmRedux, fyi.

  • http://www.vimeo.com/sleo sleo

    I write once again – sorenson squeeze – ultra pro soft.

  • crazyb0y

    I’m still searching a powerfull encoder software more customizable, like megui or virtualdub or gordian knot for windoz :( but i can’t find it…..

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  • http://www.subcorpus.net/blog/ subcorpus

    handbrake has to be my favorite …
    great little software …

  • parkland

    It should be noted that using FFMPEG based software for commercial purposes is legally questionable. http://ffmpeg.org/legal.html

    That being said, I like FFMPEG on the command line and Handbrake is a lifesaver.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/newshare Zaithyn Galter

    Great apps for mac.
    To name another powerful Mac media software/app here: DVD Creator for Mac.

    Check details on http://www.squidoo.com/newshare

  • sero

    I heard Macvide VideoFlash Converter (macvide.com) is good app…

  • http://www.martinvaresio.com.ar Martin Varesio

    I recorded some video in VR format on my Sony camera

  • Joel Drapper

    My favorite at the moment is Permute. http://fuelcollective.com/permute

  • Joel Drapper
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  • http://www.longodvd.com jacksmitha

    Another powerful DVD Ripper for mac I suggest is Longo Mac DVD Ripper from http://www.longodvd.com , it’s very small but smart, can rip DVDs to iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, PS3, PSP, AVI, mp4, mp3, mpg and other formats on mac with easy.

    Hope useful for you.

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