Tutorial: Get Your Movies on Your Cellphone

This small tutorial will show you how to transcode your videos and movies to be suitable for viewing on an mpeg4-capable cellphone.For this tutorial we are using MediaCoder, which provides many options, although it is not as easy to use as SUPER or QuickTime PRO. A few facts first:
1. If your phone does not support MPEG4/AAC and only supports 3GP (cheaper or really-low-res cellphones only support 3GP), then just use the SUPER application. For this tutorial we are not using SUPER because for its MP4 option it does not provide suitable resolutions for cellphones (although it does for 3GP).
2. If you already own QuickTime PRO, you can use that to export to MPEG4-BASIC, but unfortunately, the current QuickTime has an annoying bug that the resulted video has a small visible “twitch” every few seconds on small video MP4 resolutions.
3. VLC’s transcoding process is utterly buggy. The thing just doesn’t seem to work no matter what.

Because of the above reasons, we are going with MediaCoder. I am sure there are many other solutions out there, like the PSPVideo9, but they are not as easy to use or as flexible or as… free. Now, the MediaCoder application comes with a plugin (from the menu: Devices/Plugins/MobilePhone) that automates the cellphone-exporting process, but unfortunately that plugin is only suitable on Nokia S60 v2 phones that use the non-standard 176×208 resolution. If that’s the type of cellphone you use, then simply use that plugin to export your videos, otherwise, follow the tutorial below.

First, install MediaCoder, drag’n’drop into it the movie/video you want to transcode, and then select an Output folder from the “Output” tab (I usually output them on my Desktop). Then, from the Devices menu select Plugins/MobilePhone and then just immediately close that window. There will be two popup windows asking you two questions, answer affirmatively on both of them!

Then, go to the Audio and Nero tabs and select everything as is in the screenshot below:

Then, set the Muxer tab to “MP4Box”. Afterwards, move to the Video tab and do as it is below. However, here you have 2 options:
1. If your phone is a 176×220 phone, use 160kbps bitrate.
2. If your phone has higher resolution that 176×220, use 192 kbps bitrate if the screen is smaller than 2.4″ and 256kbps if the screen is bigger than that.

Then, move to the Picture tab and select everything as below if your phone has 176×220 resolution. Use the 320×240 resolution only if your phone’s screen is over 2.4″ (e.g. touchscreen based phones, Nokia E61/E62). The “expand to fit” option is important, because it creates the letterbox effect for widescreen movies, and this is needed for some phones (e.g. some LG phones will only work with exact 128×96 and 176×144 resolutions and nothing else).

Then, hit the “start” icon from the toolbar, and wait for the transcoding to take place. Depending how fast your CPU is, or how long the movie is, it can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours to transcode a full movie. Then, move it over to your cellphone and have fun!

In the common case of 176×144/160kbps/56kbps-AAC, you will need about 190-200 MBs of storage for a 2 hour movie. Of course, using the h.264 codec instead of the MPEG4-BASIC it would result in about 100 MBs of storage needed for 1 movie, but unfortunately, no normal cellphone as of yet supports h.264 (only the iPods do, PDA phones with TCPMP installed and the SONY PSP after a plugin installation).

Please note that the Nokia 5300 won’t work well with the videos generated with this application, it has A/V sync problems (the bug is in Nokia’s side).

Below is a transcoded sample that we used to test our tutorial and clip. It is the trailer of the upcoming movie, “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer“. Let us know how well it works (or doesn’t) in your phone model. Of course, you will need an MP4-capable cellphone to test it out (as we said above, older/cheaper cellphones only support 3GP).


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