Digital video is a mess. There are too many file formats. Some Mac and PC browsers don’t play videos that other browsers play.
To put a video on an iPhone or iPad or other devices requires a slow conversion process. Ditto for uploading to the internet or sharing. It’s a mess. And there’s no relief in sight. What can we do? A little hardware and a little software to the rescue.
Like Peanut Butter And Jelly
The problem is the umpteen different video (and audio) file formats that we use for video. Video cameras don’t all shoot using the same file format. It’s worse online. So, to get around the mess, I cheat.
Until Macs and PCs and the internet can get their act together on a video standard we can all love and use, I use Elgato’s friendly and effective solution.
The hardware is deceptively simple. It’s an accelerator—a small USB device you plug into your Mac—and it converts your video faster than your Mac can convert the video.
Much faster. Usually two to four times faster. Think about it. That means a 20-minute video clip can be converted in half the time or faster. That means converting and moving videos from Mac to iPhone or iPad takes much less time.
Using the hardware accelerator could not be easier. Plug it into a USB port on your Mac (you have plenty that are empty, right?).
Then, it’s software time.
The included (and sold separately) Turbo.264 HD app works with the hardware accelerator to convert video files on the fly, faster than real time. Much faster. It even transfers videos direct from your HD camera to your Mac.
And, as the name implies, it’s all H.264 video. The app auto converts videos for iTunes, iPhone, and iPad so your next Mac to iDevice sync gets just the right video for the right device.
When you’re ready to share, simply click the pop up menu and the video is prepared for YouTube (including YouTube HD, and it uploads), AppleTV, iPod, iPhone, iPad—even Sony Play Station Pro. Plus, there are options for standard HD 720p and 1080p.
For quick and dirty editing, Turbo.264 HD also lets you trim video clips but as an editor, it pales to iMovie. Video quality from the conversion is impressive. The hardware accelerator comes with the Turbo.264 HD app, but you can purchase the app separately for half the price (minus a few features tied to the hardware).
Elgato may be the most Apple-like of companies that produce products for the Mac. EyeTV is my fav Mac DVR. All the Turbo.264 HD does is speed up and improve that messy download, conversion, and upload process. If you do video on your Mac, and time is money (or too much time is a source of frustration), this peanut butter and jelly solution is worthy. The only problem I’ve encountered is the lack of USB ports, but the hardware accelerator is small enough to carry along with your MacBook.