How do I convert movies to 1080p MP4 files?

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How do I convert movies to 1080p MP4 files?
Movies can be converted to MP4 to watch on the go. (musique image by Christophe Schmid from

MP4 (MPEG-4) files have become a common video format due to the proliferation of Apple's iTunes and iPod products that use the file type exclusively. The MP4 format specification is based on the QuickTime format but its technical configuration makes it a "container" format that must be treated differently. To convert movies to the 1080p size in a MP4 format, you will need specialised conversion software.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Determine the format of the movie. If your movie is on a commercially bought DVD, converting it might be difficult if not impossible. Most commercial movies are copy-protected and it is illegal to "rip" the movie from the DVD. If you are able to legally convert the DVD, you will need a program such as DVD Decrypter, Easy DVD Rip or Xilisoft DVD Ripper (see Resources). The programs will typically convert the DVD movies to VOB files that must then be converted to MP4 files. If your movie is in any other format, you can skip this step and move on to converting the files directly to MP4.

  2. 2

    Get video conversion software. You will need video conversion software that not only outputs MP4 files, but will input the format of your movie. Most video conversion software is able to work with a wide range of formats. Each program should list the formats it can input and those it can output. Conversion programs that can output MP4 files include: Adobe Media Encoder, TMPGEnc XPress, Sorenson Squeeze, Canopus ProCoder and AVS Video Converter. Free converters include: Any Video Converter and Super (see References). If you are converting from a DVD movie, ensure the program can input VOB files. Some of these are available for both PC and Mac, while some are only available for PC. Once you decide on the best program for you, install it and you are ready to convert.

  3. 3

    Set the size of the output file and convert. 1080p is one of the recognised size formats for high-definition video. The "1080" part means that it is 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels. The "p" stands for progressive. Depending on your video conversion software, you will need to change the output settings to get the right file size. Choose MP4 as your output file type. Under the settings menu, select or input the 1080p size. Select "Convert file" to save it on your computer.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are having difficulty determining the format of your original movie, download a free software program such as GSpot or MediaInfo that will show you the format and codec of your movie.

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