How to convert videos/movies for the VTech Innotab using FFMPEG (SOLVED)

The VTech Innotab is a young children’s tablet for learning. When I picked up two of them from the local Target, we installed the six free games but was rather disappointed with the video capabilities listed in the manual:

  • File Type: AVI
  • Resolution: 480 x 272
  • Video Codec: MJPEG
  • Video Bit rate: 2400kbps
  • Frame rate: 15fps
  • Audio Sampling Rate: 22.05kHz
  • Audio Channel: Mono
  • Audio Encoder: PCM

MJPEG is a very poor codec as it produces quite large files and tends to be very blocky with any type of motion. After a bit of research, I discovered that the Innotab would accept MPEG4 video but the audio still had to be PCM mono. So the MPEG4 video file specification:

  • File Type: AVI
  • Resolution: 480 x 272
  • Video Codec: MPEG4 with a video tag of “XVID”
  • Video Bit rate: variable or a maximum of 3000kbps
  • Frame rate: 29.997fps
  • Audio Sampling Rate: 22.05kHz
  • Audio Channel: Mono
  • Audio Encoder: PCM

I chose to use ffmpeg as it is available on all major platforms. There are a few steps that need to be performed to create a working video:

Convert the video. We use “-1″ for the height as we want to keep the aspect of the original video

ffmpeg -i "input.wmv" -r 65535/2733 -vcodec mpeg4 -vtag XVID -q:v 8 -vf "scale=480:-1" -an -y "video_out.mp4"

Extract the audio to mp3 format. This is necessary as the pcm_s16le codec is very finicky on the audio input

ffmpeg -i "input.wmv" -r 65535/2733 -vn -c:a libmp3lame -ar 22050 -ac 1 -ab 128k -y "audio_out.mp3"

Increase the volume (if necessary). Change the “10″ if it is too loud or quiet

mp3gain -g 10 "audio_out.mp3"

Convert the mp3 to PCM and combine with the video to produce the avi file

ffmpeg -i "video_out.mp4" -i "audio_out.mp3" -r 65535/2733 -vcodec copy -map 0:0 -c:a pcm_s16le -ar 22050 -ac 1 -map 1:0 -y video_ready_for_innotab.avi

HINT: you get three free games for each Innotab device but the games, ebooks, etc are tied to the VTech account not to each device. This allows you to save $$ if you have more than one Innotab device.

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