SSAFront is a hacked together HTML Application that I created so that I could quickly convert M4V (video) files into (much much) smaller M4A audio files. The impetus for this was that I wanted to put a collection of Yahoo YUI Theater and Apple Developer videos onto my iPod and listen to them while I was in the waiting room at the hospital when my wife was having an operation.
The “why” for this is that I would be there for many hours and I wanted to save on battery consumption. Since video is a major drain of power and the video content on these developer videos is of minimal value I decided to make audio only copies and turn them into Podcasts so that I could group them together.
I already had Slideshow Assembler (SSA) which was capable of doing what I needed but it only does one file at a time and I still had to build a POD file for each conversion. Hence SSAFront which is a batch processing front end for SSA. What it does is take any .m4v, .mp4, .m4a or .m4b (that SSA can read) and copy only the audio to a new .m4a file and add enough Metadata to it so that iTunes and iPods will recognize it as a Podcast – there are a number of editable fields.
On the downside this program does not allow you to create chapters, only a single chapter is created at the start of the file. On the upside you can include artwork (.png or .jpg files) and set an output folder.
To allow this front end to work with the current release of SSA (1.0.5a) there is a little funkiness in the methodology used for adding files to the file list. I will “fix” this when SSA and its helper functions get updated.
A couple points:
- SSAFront does not remember the video (or other) files that you’ve selected between invocations. You have to select the files, set the options and then do the conversion before closing the program.
- The “Defaults” and “Global” sections do have their data saved when the program is terminated – but ONLY if you use the (Exit) button, not saved if you close the application from the title bar.
- What does (Updated All Entries) do? It applies all of the entries listed under “Defaults” to the podcast data of each (and every) file you’ve loaded the name of. Why? Example: if you’ve loaded six videos from Yahoo and you want to set the artist to “Yahoo YUI” you can just enter it in this one place and apply to all.
- This has been developed and executed on a single machine and will very likely not run on some, many or all configurations other than mine. As an HTML application is uses the components of Internet Explorer; if you have not installed at least IE 7.0 install it now – if nothing else it will make your computer safer (yes, I know you only use Firefox or Opera – install it anyway).