Maintaining an organised iTunes Movie library

by Adrian on October 26, 2011

Here’s how I maintain a nice iTunes movie library with artwork and show information:

I want all my movies and series to be organised with cover art, proper episode titles and where possible a plot summary. To achieve this I use a couple of simple movie conversion and movie meta-data lookup apps on my Mac.


I first convert downloaded avi files to apple h.264 format using the software that came with my Elgato turbo.264 Video convertor usb software and hardware. This video processor speeds up the processing speed, but most of the time I just use the Elgato software without bothering to plug the USB accelerator in. Converting a 45minute TV episode takes about 4 minutes on my machine, which is fast enough.

Like all codec conversion systems, there are hundreds of settings, but I tend to keep everything pretty standard and target the iPad or Apple TV. These settings seem to suffice:

This MP4 file will have no meta data (programme art, episode information etc). All this information is available online via various web databases, but the best automated grabber for movies and tv shows I’ve found is called iFlicks.

To populate this meta data I first change the file names to a standard format to give iFlicks the best chance of finding a match (which it does 95% of the time). I use:

ProgrammeName S##E##.mp4

e.g. Greys Anatomy S04E01.mp4

Then I simply drag the converted and renamed .MP4 files into iFlicks.

iFlicks uses the filename to lookup the programme data.

I use the following conversion setting in iFlicks…

All this does is add in the metadata to the original file without any conversion, so is really quick.

Handbrake Very occasionally (about once in every fifty files) the turbo.264 conversion doesn’t sync sound accurately due to the original encoding not being very good. In this case I use Handbrake to transcode from avi. Handbrake is slower and more manual but always works.

Once the iFlicks metadata is added I move the new file to my Movies drive then drag it onto iTunes.

A valuable companion to iFlicks is MetaX. It has good meta info lookup facilities and lets you reopen and edit tags, which iFlicks doesn’t. It is also free.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Adrian Evans October 29, 2012 at 10:38

send me your recommendations and I’ll post them under “suggestions for other less capable hardware” ;-)


Steve Kidd October 29, 2012 at 10:34

That’s all very well but what if you have a proper computer? Do you go for DVD decrypter, DVDFab, AnyDVD, Handbrake, ffmpeg?


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