Random Technolust - Hey, that CLI thingy still kind of rocks...

Monday, March 15, 2010
As an old school geek, I like to use the command line, whether it be Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. Not because I am some kind of curmudgeon who has something against GUI's and their drag and drop interfaces. I prefer it for the speed. Whether it be running XCOPY in Windows to move files around or using GREP to search a hard drive for files, I can do the job in the half the time at the command line.

Today, I had a project that required me to convert 120 hours of video in AVI format into something more palatable for iDVD. When I need to convert video files, whether it be for my phone or just to get them smaller, I turn to HandBrake. Sure, there are other tools out there to do the same job, but HandBrake  is the tool I use.

Let's get back to the task at hand. How do I convert hours and hours of video without using the GUI? HandBrake offers a handy dandy CLI version called, you guessed it, HandBrakeCLI. A little while later in BASH and I am converting piles of files at breakneck speed. Here is the command in all it's simple CLI goodness.
for i in *.Avi 
         do  ./HandBrakeCLI -i $i -o /OneWeekFastForward/MP4/03_08_2010/$i.mp4 -a none -r 24 -e x264
In case you are wondering, I am converting AVI files to MP4 files with no Audio (-a none), a frame rate of 24 fps (-r 24) and using the x264 encoder (-e x264). This format seems to make Final Cut and iDVD happy. I am converting each 24 hours of video in 1.5 hours, so this job will be done in 7.5 hours. Command Line Interfaces are geek-tastic. Get to know yours today.
The OS X Command Line Tutorial
The Windows Command Prompt
The Linux Command Line Tutorial
A BASH Tutorial
Windows Command Line Batch Files 
If you are curious about the Windows Command Prompt equivalent for HandBrakeCLI to the BASH command, here it is:
for %i in (*.avi)
    do HandBrakeCLI -i %i -o E:\MP4\03_09_2010\%i.mp4 -a none -r 24 -e x264
echo %1

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