Create Video for an iPod Using Thin Liquid Film

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Thin Liquid Film is specifically designed for converting videos to an iPod compatible format. It also supports transfering files to an iPod. I've been aware of it for a while now, but only recently got around to giving it a try, and I must say that I'm impressed. If you own a video iPod then Thin Liquid Film is a must have app.

Installation

While there aren't any deb or rpm packages available, Thin Liquid Film is still easy to install by using a simple "sudo ./install.py" command from the terminal. It installs to the /usr/local directory.

Due to the lack of a package, dependancies need to be managed separately. Fortunately Thin Liquid Film's installer does a great job letting you know what you have and what is missing. Most dependancies are straight forward, but two might trip up Ubuntu users.

Thin Liquid Film expects the default shell to be Bash and won't work properly with Dash, Ubuntu's default shell. To change it type the following two commands:

sudo rm -f /bin/sh
sudo ln -s /bin/bash /bin/sh

The second issue is XviD. The version of FFmpeg in Ubuntu's repositories was not compiled to support it. To find a version that will work I suggest adding the Medibuntu repository. You can do this by executing the following commands:

wget -q http://packages.medibuntu.org/medibuntu-key.gpg -O- | sudo apt-key add -
sudo wget http://www.medibuntu.org/sources.list.d/feisty.list -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/medibuntu.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Replace feisty.list in the above line with dapper or edgy if you use one of those two versions instead.

If you have problems, detailed instructions can be found here.

Usage

The easiest way to use Thin Liquid Film is through the service menu for Konqueror that is created during install. All you have to do is right-click on the file (or files) that you want to convert and select Add to thinliquidfilm from the Actions menu. The app will be launched with the file(s) already selected.

If you are like me and use Dolphin you can copy /usr/share/apps/konqueror/servicemenus/thinliquidfilm.desktop to ~/.kde/share/apps/dolphin/servicemenus to enable the Action in it as well.

For those not starting Konqueror or Dolphin, Thin Liquid Film can also be run from the command line or by typing thinliquidfilm into the run dialog. A menu entry does not currently exist, although I have requested one.

Once in the program I was impressed with its appearance. The interface is layed out very well and it's simple matter to determine how to get started. The artwork on the buttons is very attractive and helpful tool tips appear when hovering over them with a mouse.

Output settings are all listed to the right without requiring a trip to a configuration dialog. Simply select the options you want then click the Encode all files button at the bottom of the window.

A nifty feature worth mentioning is the preview button. It loads quickly and plays a short clip to show what the end result will look like. MPlayer is required for this to work.

The Final Word

As I mentioned at the open, Thin Liquid Film is a must have app. Converting video to an iPod compatible format couldn't be any easier. But if your media player needs a different format you'll find yourself wishing it supported more profiles.

The author started a thread on his forum a while back indicating that support for other devices could be forth coming and asking for recommendations. If that does come to pass then this excellent program should find a greater audience.

Aside from supporting more devices, the best thing that could happen to Thin Liquid Film is for it to get packaged and included in some repositories. I look forward to that day.

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