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Academic Technology


How to Auto Batch Convert Folders of Video (OSX)

DMPMichael Smith

This week I began transferring a stock video library from 24 DVD-R discs to a hard drive for easier access. The videos were originally encoded with Photo JPEG format and were enclosed in a .mov or QuickTime container. If you don’t know what all of that means, don’t worry, the gist of the situation is that I had 750 video files organized into folders. These videos had very large file sizes. I wanted to convert them from PhotoJPEG format to MPEG 4. It was important that the new video files are very high quality and that my folder structure remained the same.


There are several consumer apps available in the Mac App Store that can do this but I’ve never been satisfied with the quality of the converted files. You could also use a professional app like Apple’s Compressor but I found myself spending to much time setting up the process and adjusting parameters.

Keep it Simple

My favorite MP4 video conversion software is Handbrake (free). Handbrake gives you a lot of control over the compression process. It also has a queue where you can batch convert multiple videos. This works fine for a few videos but you have to manually add each video file and wait for it to be scanned by the program. This would take a while to do 750 times!

Screenshot of the Handbrake interface
Screenshot of the Handbrake interface
Screenshot of the Handbrake interface

The Solution

A quick web search led me to HandbrakeBatch by OSOMAC. The software is free and open source. The developer asks for a donation to charity if you find the software helpful. You can find a link to make this donation on the site. The developer describes the software:

HandBrakeBatch: a fully independent application which uses HandBrake video converter under the hood, and allows you to drag & drop a bunch of files at the same time, and convert them using any of the default HandBrake presets.

Screenshot of the HandBrakeBatch interface
Screenshot of the HandBrakeBatch interface
Screenshot of the HandBrakeBatch interface

So, this program was exactly what I was looking for. Once installed and opened you:

  1. Select a preset that you have already made in Handbreak or select one of the default presets.
  2. Then you drag all the files into the queue window.
  3. Make sure you select on output folder. In my case I used the source folder to keep my folder structure.
  4. Then hit Start.

A few minutes (or in my case, hours) later and you’ll have a bunch of high quality, lean video files. Would you have approached this a different way? Post a comment with your suggestion. Also, if this post was helpful to you please share it and leave a comment below.