When we reviewed MetaX back in August, it was the ultimate way of getting your videos into iTunes. The application is still awesome and works for most, but it does have one little flaw – It can only add/edit tags. The video conversion has to be done by Quicktime Pro or the now defunct VisualHub.
Just a few days old, iFlicks (beta) is a video converter and meta tagging application built into a single windowed interface. The clean UI is very mac-like and sports just the right amount of controls.
Behind the Scenes
The developer Jendrik Bertram, a computer science student explains his purpose behind iFlicks.
“I originally started developing iFlicks, because I didn’t like the existing solutions. I have tried Videodrive (which I personally don’t like at all) and thought I could do way better while charging less. MetaX and Lostify were always too unstable (mostly do due AtomicParsley, I think) and don’t provide the full functionality of iFlicks (converting, automatic metadata and easy integration in iTunes).” says the excited developer.
The truth is that Bertram has been using Apple’s own built in Folder Actions and iTunes scripts to produce these results. It is only recently that he decided to add the frontend GUI and media tagging abilities to the application, “I for myself almost never use the GUI” claims Bertram.
So while the über geeky developer prefers to use ingenious solutions, I’m glad that we have a pretty GUI to operate the application from!
iFlicks is designed for getting media into iTunes. With just five conversion options, it covers the four main platforms of Apple. iFlicks has fixed settings for the iPhone, iPod and AppleTV, which will take any video and make it compatible with those devices. If you just need video for playback on the Mac, iFlicks will just either save the file as a Quicktime Movie, or even as a reference file (which is super quick).
The output size (iPhone setting) for a 175MB avi video clip was a slightly smaller 152MB, but the video quality suffered. It looked just fine on the iPhone though. However, unlike VisualHub, iFlicks doesn’t have the option to turn off the H264 encoding, which results in a slightly long conversion time (20 minutes for that video on my 2Ghz iMac Core Duo).
iFlicks accepts any video that you can play with Quicktime. So if you have the latest Perian plugin installed, it’ll include most of the video formats you can find.
Whilst iTunes 8 has created it easier for tagging, it still is quite a pain. iFlicks automatically connects to themoviedb.org and thetvdb.org for grabbing tagging info. It is not as good as MetaX’s integration with IMDB or the TagChimp service, but it works. I did notice that it failed to grab poster frames for certain videos (even though it found the correct tags), but the developer claims that he’s working on that.
If iFlicks doesn’t automatically find the tags, you can help it find them by using the search tool. This works very well and I could find most of the tags this way. Of course, you can then manually edit the tags for each of the clips using the tag editor.
iFlicks is still in its early beta stages, and will remain free until it reaches the final version. All things considered, I think iFlicks is already ready for primetime and is safe to use to get all your media automatically added to iTunes, tagged and organised. Even though it has a few rough edges, the UI is brilliant (the progress indicator inside the dock icon is just gorgeous).
If you are stoked about getting your media into iTunes and don’t care too much about the tagging every aspect of your video files, iFlicks is the way to go. Go download the beta, and of course when it does come out of beta, we should be able to have a giveaway just for you!