You may have wondered whether you can just drop a bunch of MKV files in Subler, the free but still excellent MKV remuxer (last, dedicated article HERE), to quickly convert them. As this very useful feature, being only recently (as of version 0.16 a month ago) added to the app, is not widely known, I've decided to publish a complete tutorial on it.
First, there're two ways of queuing the source MKV files in Subler. The first is the well-known, traditional way: using Open.
The traditional way: File / Open
You may already know the start of the workflow used here: you open the MKV file (File > Open or Cmd + O) and, as is also explained in my yesterday's article, deselect checkboxes / change audio transcoding / passthruing actions in the next, “Select Tracks” dialog.
After clicking Add (or pressing Enter on the keyboard), however, you don't File > Save (Cmd + S) the output MP4 file but select File > Send to Queue instead:
Then, you'll be presented exactly the same dialog as using File > Save: you can supply the saved filename and whether 64-bit chunks should be used (make sure you tick it for files over 4 Gbytes!). An example of saving the Iron Sky teaser MKV (available HERE; more info in my yesterday's article):
(Note that I haven't enabled the native Blue-Ray subs (bdpg) during opening the file so that it can be remuxed; hence the video + audio track only setup. More on the bdpg-incompatibilities later.)
After this, via Window > Show Queue, you'll see the files you've queued:
Then, after having finished queueing your files, just click Start in the bottom right (annotated by a red rectangle)
There is an even faster, albeit a bit restricted way of adding files:
Dragging the source MKV files into the queue directly
Should you just display the queue (see the above-mentioned Window > Show Queue), you can directly drop MKV files on it. It's easier but has some problems.
Problems compared to the manually opening + enqueuing approach:
- DTS audio tracks are passed thru to the output MP4 file and aren't converted to AAC, as opposed to the default conversion in the other, manual modes. This won't cause problems for desktop players like VLC but neither iTunes nor, albeit you'll be able to synchronize the videos to them, iOS devices (including the Apple TV) won't play this audio track at all – all you'll hear will be silence. (Note that I'll elaborate on handling the native Blue-Ray audio track formats, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD HR / MA and LPCM (more info HERE), in a later article.)
- MKV files with graphical subtitles like native Blue-Ray subs (bdpg) will be tried to be converted with the subtitles passed thru; of course, this will fail. (This is why dragging the above-mentioned Iron Sky trailer into the queue will eventually result in a useless “remuxed” file.) There is no way of making Subler not try to process these incompatible subtitles.
- the “ready” icons will always be the same for all the files - for non-converted files as well. Fortunately, you'll always be able to quickly find out which files haven't been converted by just sorting the output files by size. The ones under around 1 kBytes will all be non-converted.
Additional notes on the automatic mode
As far as the AC3 → AAC conversion is concerned (again, you may only want to use AC3 if you specifically remux for the Apple TV!), the conversion will take (or not) place according to the conversion-enabling setting "Convert AC3 Audio to AAC" you can change in Preferences > Audio:
Basically, if you convert for iOS devices, you will need to enable this checkbox.