Previous 1 2 3 Next 30 Replies Latest reply: Apr 22, 2015 5:02 AM by Frank Lowney Go to original post Branched to a new discussion.
  • betadave Level 1 (5 points)

    True, you can freely change the extension but that's not enough to make a video that plays in iBooks Author. I've made a bunch of h.264 mp4 files with AAC audio tracks that iBooks author turns its nose up at. I'm still looking for the secret sauce that let's me make videos with the parameters I want that iBooks Author will accept. It looks like I'll have to try Compressor. So far the only videos that work with iBooks Author seem to be coming from QuickTime Player or Compressor.


    Am I mising something?



  • Kelvin I Level 1 (5 points)

    QuickTime does work well for me and it's what I have been using so far with no issues, plays like a charm. I just export from QT for iPad... I think in your case compressor might be the way to go... Good luck!

  • Frank Lowney1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Although video app presets are a good alternative, especially for those who don't have a strong background in video, they can produce disappointing results.  One common mistake is to up-sample.  That is, use a preset that creates a video with a larger window, higher bit rate, or higher frame  rate than the source file or all of the above.


    Having good, clean, hi-rez source and down-sampling from there is what you want to aim for.  Since the iPad is the only target for iBooks Author, the challenge isn't as great as it is for ePub documents created with Pages where all the target includes all iOS devices and desktops too.  The iPad decodes video in firmware and has some very good scaling but it can't make chicken salad out of chicken feathers.  There is also the challenge of the new iPad with retina display. 


    To get the experience you need in meeting these challenges, download a 1080p movie trailer that you won't mind looking at over and over.  Then re-encode using the apps that you have access to and presets that down-sample to one degree or another.  Use IBAs Preview to see what looks and sounds best to you on the gear that you have.


    The presets in QuickTime-based applications (QuickTime X Player, Compressor, iMovie, GarageBand, etc.) that yield .m4v files will all be acceptable to IBA.  Many (not all), ffmpeg-based video apps (Handbrake, Miro Video Converter, Video Monkey etc.) yield .m4v files that IBA rejects.  The fact that these same video files  play correctly in iBooks when embedded in an ePub document tells me that IBA is being unnecessarily picky. I've posted the issue to the Handbrake forum and filed a bug wuth Apple.  To be heard by Apple, file your bug and enhancement requests at  You'll need to sign up for a free developer account.

  • Frank Lowney Level 1 (105 points)

    Here is the  Secret Sauce for using Handbrake output in iBooks Author (IBA).  This technique should also work with other ffmpeg-based tools whose output is rejected by iBooks Author.


    1) Make sure that Handbrake is set to apply the .m4a suffix (iBooks Author insists on this). Do this in Handbrake Preferences > General: Default MP4 Extension: m4v


    2) Select your source file in Handbrake then set up a queue with several presets ranging from iPod to Apple TV.  Start the encoding and take note of the file size and quality of the output.  Select the smallest file size that looks acceptable to you.  This .m4v file will be rejected by IBA but we'll fix that in the next few steps.


    2) Download and install Subler:


    3) In Subler, do File > New


    4) In Subler do File > Import... and select the File item in the resulting sub-menu.  Select the file you chose in step 2 importing its audio and video tracks.


    5) in Subler, do Save as using a slightly different file name.  IBA will accept this version.


    Those who use this tactic against other ffmpeg-based tools (Miro Video Converter, Video Monkey et. al.) should also enjoy success so please report your experiences with those if you please, especially if you encounter problems.

  • evernn Level 1 (0 points)

    I know I often watch movies by ipad, the m4v movies is the best video, so if you want to convert mp4 to m4v format you must download a a m4v converter, why not Google search one( ab& es%3B..0.0...1c.1.IHx8T3uTaSE&psj=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=4c6686e2 7748543e&bpcl=36601534&biw=1440&bih=716? )Such as I'm already very skilled conversion mp4 format, and appreciate them on ipad ,

  • tk0us Level 2 (265 points)

    just use QuickTime10 > Export To > Web > select a version or versions you need and the resulting files will work in Author

    Screen Shot 2012-10-30 at 8.31.09 AM.pngScreen Shot 2012-10-30 at 8.33.19 AM.png

  • sadicote Level 1 (0 points)

    Yes, I agree with you, Peter.


    i had tried doing that, you can directly rename MP4 files extension to M4V, the video files still work.


    if not try this


    MP4 Converter


    it works well on my Mac 10.5.8 system, and it is my go to converter when others fail.

  • Frank Lowney Level 1 (105 points)

    It should be mentioned that Video Converter for Mac 2.3.0 (linked as "MP4 Converter) is a $35.00 application.


    It should also be noted that iBooks Author 2.0 (now required for iBookstore submissions) handles video differently than version one did.  There is now a video optimizer built into IBA that will convert almost anything you throw at it.  So there's no need to get involved with additional video software any more.


    Also, shortly after the release of IBA 2.0, there was an update to the iWork suite that affected a system level video component used by IBA.  This corrected an error whereby "extra" tracks such as for soft subtitles, alternate audio and chapter tracks were deleted during optimization.  This deletion no longer occurs.


    Thus the handling of video by the Media Widget in IBA is much improved in version 2. 

  • Klahane Level 1 (0 points)
    Thus the handling of video by the Media Widget in IBA is much improved in version 2.



    So I have the opposite problem. I have a small (by pixel count) movie I'd like to include in an iBooks Author project. It comes from the high-speed video function of my Lumix FZ 150. It looks great on the page.

    But I don't see a way to disable zooming to full-screen. And at full-screen, the video looks horrible.

    So what I want is to disable zooming or at least make the zoomed, full-screen image boxed at its native resolution and aspect ratio.

    This might also apply to older videos with lower resolution.


    Any ideas?

  • Frank Lowney Level 1 (105 points)

    Here are a few screen shots of my including a 1080p movie trailer into IBA 2:

    1) Drag and drop the video onto the IBA 2 page:

    IBA 2 Video during optimize.jpg

    Note how IBA 2 proceeds to optimize the video for this environment. When that's done, it will look like this:


    IBA 2 Video after optimize.jpg

    Next we use the  Inspector's Widgit tab to set Layout and  Interactivity in the video. 


    IBA 2 Video Inspector Settings.jpg


    To get the effect that you said you wanted (play in place, no full screen), DO NOT check the "Full screen only" setting.  That's all there is to it.  Here's what my movie looks like playing in IBA on an iPad:


    IBA 2 Video playing on iPad.jpg

  • Klahane Level 1 (0 points)

    To get the effect that you said you wanted (play in place, no full screen), DO NOT check the "Full screen only" setting.  That's all there is to it.  Here's what my movie looks like playing in IBA on an iPad:


    I wasn't clear enough in my post. I have the movie set up just as you show, and get the same result. But note the small double arrow in the lower right of your image. That's a zoom-to-full-screen button. Also, you can unpinch to zoom to full screen.

    And the movie doesn't just show at its native resolution when in full-screen, it's zoomed so that it looks very pixelly.

  • Frank Lowney Level 1 (105 points)

    I see.  So you want to prevent the reader from taking the video full screen?  I don't believe that is possible any more than you can prevent the reader from changing font size.  Apple is keen on its customers being able to adjust things to their liking.


    That being the case, you'll want to use video that will scale well on the iPad.  My example video looks great at full screen because it began life as 1080p.  I think that you'll find that 720p video also does quite well on the iPad.  Search on "optimizing video for iPad" for some very good info on how to do this.  Of course, this all assumes that you have control over the clips that you will be using.


    If you don't have control, perhaps a little social engineering in the title or comments will help.  For example, using old video clips from the Internet Archive can be a challenge in this regard.  Advise the reader that, for best results, to let the video play in place.


    Even if you're not the creator of the video, you may be able to find a version that will be better than others. For example, this 1946 video on How to Study ( can be downloaded as MPEG4 (640x480 55.1 MB *.mp4) or h.264 (640x480 208.9 MB *,m4v).  Opening thse two videos in QuickTime X Player reveals that the primary difference between them is the file size and that is caused by the bitrate.  The H264 version is 3.15 MB/second whereas the MPEG-4 version is .832 MB/s, much lower.


    Time to experiment.  Dragging each of these two versions of the same film (original was probably 16mm) into an IBA 2 project,  we find that both scale to full screen reasonably well.  However, the higher bitrate H.264 version looks ever so slightly better.  So even a 640x480 movie can look good in your IBA project if it has a decent bitrate.


    So what did IBA's optimizer do to these two videos?  We can deconstruct the project to find out.  Here's how. First export to a standard *.ibooks file.  Next, duplicate the file and change the suffix from *.ibooks to *.zip.  Then, use a utility such as the free Stuffit Expander to unpack this ZIP file.  You should wind up with a folder.  Open that folder and look ito the subfolder named OPS, then assets, then media.  There you'll find all of your videos.  We can now examine our two videos to understand how they may have been changed by IBAs optimizer. 


    Right off, we  see that they are now both *,.m4v files which is Apple's special container for H.264/AAC video. The original MPEG-4 file was in an *.mp4 container but was also using the H.264/AAC CODECs.  No real change there.  Opening them in QuickTime X Player, we see that they are both still 640x480 and have the same frame rate.  No change there.  The only substantial differences are with the bitrates and, consequently the file sizes, so lets document those:


    Original *.mp4 file:---------- 55.1 MB----------0.823 MB/s

    Original *.m4v file:----------208.9 MB---------3.15 MB/s


    Optimized *.m4v file #1:-- 54.9 MB----------0.823 MB/s (this probably came from the *.mp4 file)

    Optimized *.m4v file #2:-162.8 MB---------2.500 MB/s (this probably came from the original *.m4v file)


    So, optimizing didn't change the .mp4 file much but it did reduce the bitrate and file size of the .m4v file.  The optimizer had more to work with in the *.m4v case so that would explain why it looks slightly better.

  • Klahane Level 1 (0 points)

    I think I may be on to something: I put the movie in a Keynote slide, then put the Keynote presentation in a Keynote widget. The result of unpinching that is the movie playing at its normal size on a background that fills the screen. I'll tinker more with that idea.

  • Klahane Level 1 (0 points)

    Another tack occurred to me. I created a movie in iMovie with a plain black background (still made in Photoshop) at full-screen size. Then I put my 320x240 movie into that using Picture in Picture. I adjusted the size and placement of the PiP and saved it out as a QuickTime movie.

    Dropping that into iBooks Author works fine, and the effect in full-screen mode is what I want, no fuzzy blow up.


    I haven't figured out if there's a way to avoid having the big, black border show on the page. There's no way to edit the mask like with a still.


    Anyway, there are two ways to deal with small movies in iBooks Author.

  • Frank Lowney Level 1 (105 points)

    I liked your Keynote solution but missed the ability to set a poster frame and present the reader with a "play" button.  To deal with that, I created a two slode Keynote.  The first slide had a screen shot of a frame in a 320x2440 video.  I then placed a semi-transparent (50%) play button on top of that.  The second slide has the actual video.  I set the Keynote widget to plat full screen.


    The reader taps the widget once to get the first "play" slide.  A second tap goes to slide 2 and autoplays the video at its native 320x240 window size.  I used the "Black"template so, in landscape mode, it's like viewing a movie in a darkened theatre.


    Of couse you could achieve the same effect with an HTML widget but Keynote is easier in this case.