How to Convert Videos for Your BlackBerry Using a Mac or a PC

18 Comments

Bold-9700-TV

With specs similar to that of a year 2000 era PC, the BlackBerry is an impressive little mobile computer. With screen resolution getting bigger with every year, I’m finding that video is all the more watchable on your device. So for those of you with a long bus, train, or chopper commute, here’s how to convert video for your BlackBerry.

PC users should watch this demonstration on how to use the Roxio Media Manager for Blackberry. The Media Manager is easy to use and works well, if you don’t have it yet, download it here.

Mac users don’t benefit from a supported video conversion suite but not to worry: the process is not that much harder to do. All you have to do is choose a file type you would like to convert to, choose the settings appropriate to your device, then drop the completed file into iTunes and sync using the BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac.

Choose a file type

BlackBerrys can play a number of video formats. I find that 3GP, MP4 and WMV perform well on the BlackBerry, and can be used on other mobile devices you may want to play back on too.

3GP is a file type made with mobile phones in mind and is based on the MPEG-4 video compression. Choose this file type if you also wish to load the video on to a non-smartphone too.

MP4 is a flexible codec that can perform well on everything from a small iPod or mobile phone, to a 1080p Blu-ray. Choose this file type if you wish to also sync with a video-enabled iPod.

WMV or Windows Media Video is a proprietary video codec developed by Microsoft. Originally designed as a streaming RealVideo competitor, WMV now stands on it’s own as a bona fide codec for Windows Mobile devices, Xbox 360, and Blu-ray. If there are a lot of static images in your video, WMV is perfect for reducing file sizes.

You can also convert to .AVI and .MOV if you like. Make sure you use H.263, H.264, or MPEG 4 settings if you plan to make a .MOV file.

Convert your video

Your videos will look their best if they are converted for your exact BlackBerry screen size, with the most frames per second, and with the highest data rate that your device can handle. Here is a slimmed-down list of the video-enabled BlackBerrys. If you need a detailed chart go to RIM’s detailed video codec device page.

    Bold 9700: 480×360, 2000 kbps @ 30 fps
    Storm Series, and Tour Series: 480×360, 2000 kbps @30 fps
    Curve 8900: 480×360, 1500 kbps @ 24 fps
    Bold 9000: 480×320, 1500 kbps @ 24 fps
    Curve Series w/ trackpad: 320×240, 1500 kbps @ 24 fps
    Curve Series w/ trackball and 8800: 320×240, 769 kbps @ 24 fps
    Pearl: 240×260, 768 kbps, @ 24 fps

Here are a few free video conversion programs for Mac. With these you can rip DVDs, or convert nearly any video file to a format suitable for BlackBerry.

Redux Encoder
Handbrake
Prism Video Converter

Sync with your BlackBerry

Before loading anything on to your BlackBerry it’s a safe practice to back it up first. Once you have your converted video file, drag it into iTunes and then sync your media to your device using the media tab of the BlackBerry Desktop Manager for Mac.

  • progeo

    Best is a RealPlayer SP for PC.
    Roxio is a crap, uninstaled Roxio is a horror.

    progeo

  • progeo

    Best is a RealPlayer SP for PC.
    Roxio is a crap, uninstaled Roxio is a horror.

    progeo

  • progeo

    Best is a RealPlayer SP for PC.
    Roxio is a crap, uninstaled Roxio is a horror.

    progeo

  • JsD

    I have used Handbrake on my Mac and have had luck for 99% of my videos.

    My primary goal was lowest possible size with good quality. My benchmark device is the Blackberry Storm.

    I try to stick with the following settings:
    - Format: MP4
    - Codec: h.264
    – This will yeild best possible compresion
    - Framerate: Same as source
    – Probably best to go with above and set to rate as per device
    - Average Bitrate: 500
    – I played around with several settings and I found that the quality drop was not noticable to me at this level.
    - 2-pass encoding
    - Advanced:
    – These h.264 settings must not be played with or else you will be spinning your wheels on trying out settings. Best to start out with same settings as the “iPhone & iPod Touch”. This has always worked for me. I lost a day trying to find the right configuration on the Video tab only to find out that it was the settings on the Advanced tab that was snookering me.
    - Have files saved as .mp4 and not .m4v. There is a setting in Mac OSX Handbrake preferences for this as the default.

    Please pass forward your lessons learned with using Handbrake on Mac or Windows as I would love to further optimize my settings for optimal size and playback.

    Another side note for those who have Pearl or Pearl Flip. In order to “Flip” the video so it plays full(er) screen when the phone is turned sideways, you will need to use the Windows Roxio Media Manager as it will allow you to rotate the video. Handbrake cannot do this (yet).

    Cheers,
    JsD

  • JsD

    I have used Handbrake on my Mac and have had luck for 99% of my videos.

    My primary goal was lowest possible size with good quality. My benchmark device is the Blackberry Storm.

    I try to stick with the following settings:
    - Format: MP4
    - Codec: h.264
    – This will yeild best possible compresion
    - Framerate: Same as source
    – Probably best to go with above and set to rate as per device
    - Average Bitrate: 500
    – I played around with several settings and I found that the quality drop was not noticable to me at this level.
    - 2-pass encoding
    - Advanced:
    – These h.264 settings must not be played with or else you will be spinning your wheels on trying out settings. Best to start out with same settings as the “iPhone & iPod Touch”. This has always worked for me. I lost a day trying to find the right configuration on the Video tab only to find out that it was the settings on the Advanced tab that was snookering me.
    - Have files saved as .mp4 and not .m4v. There is a setting in Mac OSX Handbrake preferences for this as the default.

    Please pass forward your lessons learned with using Handbrake on Mac or Windows as I would love to further optimize my settings for optimal size and playback.

    Another side note for those who have Pearl or Pearl Flip. In order to “Flip” the video so it plays full(er) screen when the phone is turned sideways, you will need to use the Windows Roxio Media Manager as it will allow you to rotate the video. Handbrake cannot do this (yet).

    Cheers,
    JsD

  • Terry

    Desktop Manager for Mac does not support syncing video. Only audio. But you can drag and drop video files from iTunes to the Media Card using mass storage mode.

  • Terry

    Desktop Manager for Mac does not support syncing video. Only audio. But you can drag and drop video files from iTunes to the Media Card using mass storage mode.

  • http://blackberrycool.com/ W4LNUT

    @JsD – Thanks for the compression tips, glad to know every video-enabled BlackBerry can handle your 500 kbps specs

    @Terry – I was able to sync Video using the BlackBerry Desktop Software by making a playlist and dropping the converted video into the playlist. It feels sort of funny syncing video in the “music” tab but it still works.

    @progeo – Thanks for the PC suggestion, if you guys want to grab a copy of RealPlayer SP go here —–> http://download.cnet.com/RealPlayer-SP/3000-13632_4-10073040.html

  • http://blackberrycool.com/ W4LNUT

    @JsD – Thanks for the compression tips, glad to know every video-enabled BlackBerry can handle your 500 kbps specs

    @Terry – I was able to sync Video using the BlackBerry Desktop Software by making a playlist and dropping the converted video into the playlist. It feels sort of funny syncing video in the “music” tab but it still works.

    @progeo – Thanks for the PC suggestion, if you guys want to grab a copy of RealPlayer SP go here —–> http://download.cnet.com/RealPlayer-SP/3000-13632_4-10073040.html

  • http://blackberrycool.com W4LNUT

    @JsD – Thanks for the compression tips, glad to know every video-enabled BlackBerry can handle your 500 kbps specs

    @Terry – I was able to sync Video using the BlackBerry Desktop Software by making a playlist and dropping the converted video into the playlist. It feels sort of funny syncing video in the “music” tab but it still works.

    @progeo – Thanks for the PC suggestion, if you guys want to grab a copy of RealPlayer SP go here —–> http://download.cnet.com/RealPlayer-SP/3000-13632_4-10073040.html

  • JsD

    @W4LNUT – FYI, I only tested on Pearl Flip, Storm1 and Storm2

  • JsD

    @W4LNUT – FYI, I only tested on Pearl Flip, Storm1 and Storm2

  • JsD

    @W4LNUT – FYI, I only tested on Pearl Flip, Storm1 and Storm2

  • Pond

    I am not happy… I just loaded the Roxio v4.5 Desktop manager with media manager. It is currently sitting like a lump on my desktop, frozen solid; greyed out and sucking CPU like a pig. I assume from the earlier post from progeo that even just a simple uninstall will not be the end of my woes. Any help would be very much appreciated.

  • Pond

    I am not happy… I just loaded the Roxio v4.5 Desktop manager with media manager. It is currently sitting like a lump on my desktop, frozen solid; greyed out and sucking CPU like a pig. I assume from the earlier post from progeo that even just a simple uninstall will not be the end of my woes. Any help would be very much appreciated.

  • http://www.easydvdburning.com/ DVD Burning

    Nice share! Haven’t tried this, hope it works for me.

  • Anonymous

    I want to know how to use a computer to convert videos for my BlackBerry. 

  • Anonymous

    I should have a try of your tips:)