I've seen this question pop up a lot on HandBrake's forums and IRC channel, so I thought I'd make an entry about it here (Mac users skip down to the bottom for your directions):
Many folks have expressed interest in being able to specify a directory for HandBrake to 'watch' for new files that it would then automatically attempt to convert with predefined settings. I think most people are wanting this for use with devices, such as iPods, PS3s and AppleTVs, which require specific settings for videos to work. While HB doesn't support this functionality on its own (and the devs don't sound too interested in adding it), you can accomplish much the same thing in Ubuntu Linux using HandBrakeCLI and a little shell scripting.
WARNING: I'm a novice at scripting and there is definitely a more effective and elegant way of doing this. If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment! Similar steps will also work on other platforms/distros, so feel free to leave a comment about your successes or failures.
First, we'll need to install a utility to enable monitoring of directories:
sudo aptitude install inotify-toolsNext, we'll make some new directories in our home folder to hold our scripts and conversions. In a terminal, type:
cd $HOME ; mkdir HandBrake ; mkdir HandBrake/convertNavigate to the newly created HandBrake directory:
cd HandBrakeand type:
gedit monitor.shThis is where we'll write our script to monitor the 'convert' directory and invoke another script to do the actual conversion:
#!/bin/bashSave, exit and--again--type:
inotifywait --monitor -e moved_to -e create ~/HandBrake/convert | while read dir;
gedit convert.shHere we will create our conversion script (be sure to put your desired file extension and preset in place instead of the bracketed reminders):
#!/bin/bashSave and exit, then type:
for file in ~/HandBrake/convert/*
do HandBrakeCLI -v -i "$file" -o "$file".converted.[FILE-EXTENSION-GOES-HERE] --preset [PRESET-NAME-GOES-HERE] ;
#uncomment next line to delete original
chmod +x *.shto make both scripts executable.
Now, you can start monitoring by typing:
sh ~/HandBrake/monitor.shor you can set the script to run as a startup item where it will run continuously in the background starting the next time you log on.
Henceforth, any file you move or copy into the 'convert' directory will automatically convert to the desired format. This script will only work on one file at a time (i.e., you have to wait for the encoding to finish before dropping in the next file to convert). Also of note: HB will choke if the file is weird in any way--e.g. no audio track--and you'll have no way of knowing it if the script is running in the background, since it won't print any output.
Good luck and let me know if you run into any problems.
Bulk Encoding on Macs
Update (06/01/09): There's been a lot of clamoring on the Mac board of the HandBrake forums asking for bulk input of files to be converted using a preset. The devs have no interest in adding such a feature at this time because of the tremendous support headache it could cause, but you Mac users can do scripting to accomplish the same thing.
Just like the Linux users, open a Terminal (Applications > Utilities > Terminal) and type:
cd Desktop ; nano convert.shthen paste in this (shift+ctrl+v; be sure to put your desired file extension and preset in place instead of the bracketed reminders):
#!/bin/bashSave and exit (ctrl+x), then type:
for file in ./*
do ./HandBrakeCLI -v -i "$file" -o "$file".converted.[FILE-EXTENSION-GOES-HERE] --preset [PRESET-NAME-GOES-HERE] ;
#uncomment next line to delete original
chmod +x *.shto make the script executable. Now, just put the script into a folder with your HandBrakeCLI binary and you should be able to invoke the script (navigate to its directory in the Terminal by typing cd [space after cd] and then dragging your conversion folder onto the Terminal window and hit 'Enter,' then type ./convert.sh) and automatically convert any files within the directory using the chosen preset. I would recommend just keeping a folder around that you use for conversions and keep the script and HandBrakeCLI binary in there at all times, then you can just drop in the files you want to convert, start the script and go along your merry way.
UPDATE (12/20/2013): An anonymous reader shared his script, which sounds much more robust than mine:
inotifywait -r --monitor --quiet -e moved_to -e close_write --format '%w%f' /mnt/public/convert/video/android-hq/ | while read -r FILE; do echo "File copy detected" echo "Starting HandBrake..." (sleep 15 && /usr/bin/HandBrakeCLI -v -i "$FILE" -o /mnt/public/convert/output/video/"$(echo "$FILE" | cut -c38- | rev | cut -c4-| rev)android-hq.mkv" -e x264 -x weightp=0:cabac=0 -b 650 --audio 1 --aencoder faac --ab 96 --mixdown stereo --gain 3 --width 720 --loose-crop --decomb --markers --turbo --two-pass --vfr --subtitle 1 --native-language eng && sleep 15 && rm -rf "$FILE")& doneUPDATE (9/27/2014): The same user (name is teeedubb, apparently) is back with an update. This was posted in the comments but got mangled, so I tried to piece it back together:
I'm back - I have revisited the above script because it had some glaring faults - it would start a handbrakecli process for each file, which when encoding a seasons worth of tv shows it would bring my pc to its knees, it didnt handle files in sub directories, didnt handle multiple profiles and probably would have given undesirable results if a file extension had more than 3 character, plus it was kinda messy. New version below solves these issues: It queues encodes using task-spooler (tsp package in ubuntu), works with sub-directories in the watch folder (and deletes any empty subdirectories within watch folders) and supports multiple profiles. Options are 'watch directory', 'output directory' and 'task-spooler slots' (concurrent jobs) which are set through the variables. You can set multiple handbrake profiles which the script uses based on which directory the files are copied into, if files are copied into the root watch directory the first profile is used. Options for profiles are: 'name', profile name which will be appended to the transcoded file (this needs to match the profile directory and be fairly unique - script searches the input file location for profile name, so a profile called 'android' could confuse the script when transcoding the movie 'android cop'), 'handbrake settings', settings for handbrake to use (I'm pretty sure you could use --preset XXXX here as well), 'file extension', file extension for handbrake to use on output file and 'delete source file', whether or not to delete the source video file. You can create extra profiles by adding variables beginning with PRESET2 etc and adding elif entries to the if/then statement in the script. By default the script attempts to delete any empty subdirectories *and its ancestors* when completing a transcode, so you need to ensure you profile directories are not empty - I have done this by creating a hidden file in each profile dir and making the file un-deletable (eg: profile1 dir is /mnt/public/convert/video/android-hq, run the command touch /mnt/public/convert/video/android-hq/.android-hq && sudo chattr +i /mnt/public/convert/video/android-hq/.android-hq).and here's the script:
#script to watch a directory for incoming files and pass them onto HandBrakeCLI
##HANDBRAKE PROFILE 1
PRESET1_HANDBRAKE_SETTINGS=" -e x264 -x weightp=0:cabac=0 -b 650 --audio 1 --aencoder faac --ab 96 --mixdown stereo --gain 3 --width 720 --loose-crop --decomb --markers --turbo --two-pass --vfr --subtitle 1 --native-language eng"
ts -S $TASK_SPOOLER_SLOTS
inotifywait --recursive --monitor --quiet -e moved_to -e close_write --format '%w%f' "$WATCH_DIR" | while read -r INPUT_FILE; do
if [[ $(echo "$WATCH_DIR" | grep -i "$PRESET1_NAME") ]] ; then
tsp bash -c 'nice -n 19 /usr/bin/HandBrakeCLI -v -i "$0" -o "$1""$2"-"$3"."$4" "$5" && if [[ "$6" = yes ]] ; then sleep 15 ; rm -f "$0" ; fi ; rmdir -p "$(dirname "$0")"' "$INPUT_FILE" "$OUTPUT_DIR" "$OUTPUT_FILE" "$PRESET_NAME" "$FILE_TYPE" "$HANDBRAKE_SETTINGS" "$DELETE_SOURCE"