|In most cases, formatting a video for use on your PSP can be as simple as loading it up and running it through PSP Video 9.0's default conversion profile. But if you go with the defaults, you'll be stuck with a 320x240 video that may not be optimal for the PSP's wide 480x272 screen; besides, if we wanted to go for the default, this wouldn't be much of an Insider Secret. |
The first step in achieving optimal PSP video quality is determining the aspect ratio of your source video. In all likelihood, this will be one of the following (aspect ratios are listed in increasing order of how many steps it will take to achieve optimal quality):
- Standard 4:3 format (screenshot)
- Wide-screen 16:9 format (screenshot)
- Letterboxed 4:3 format (screenshot)
Due to limitations in the PSP's firmware, the maximum standard resolution recognized by the PSP is 320x240, and the maximum wide-screen resolution is 368x208. PSP Video 9.0 comes equipped with several preset conversion profiles at both of these resolutions, and so if your video falls under No. 1 or 2 above, all you'll need to do before converting is choose your desired and audio quality setting, by going to Setup > Profiles and choosing an Existing Quality Profile.
Higher bit rates such as 1,500Kbps will look better on the screen but will also take up more space; lower bit rates won't look as good but will allow you to fit more movies on your Memory Stick. Variable bit rates, denoted in the profiles dialog box as "QBnumber
," can be more efficient than static bit rates because they analyze your source video to determine when higher bit rates are necessary and when a lower one will do. When setting a variable bit rate, the overall quality and size of your output will be inversely proportional to your QB number; for instance, 4 yields a large but high-quality file, while 10 results in a lower-quality file that takes up less space. Quick tip: Check the properties of your source video to determine its bit rate, and don't go any higher when converting; this will save on file size without affecting overall quality, since there's no benefit to exceeding your source bit rate. When you've chosen your quality profile, hit Apply, navigate back to the Convert menu, and skip the next paragraph. Watch the video to see these steps.
If you have a letterboxed source video, you have some cropping to do. In PSP Video 9.0, head to the Setup menu and navigate to the Profiles tab. Choose an existing 368x208 profile, since you'll want your output to be wide-screen, then click the New Profile button. Enter a new profile name and check the "Crop Input Video (by pixel)" box. To determine how many pixels to lop off the top and bottom of your source file, we recommend taking a screen capture from the video (using Alt + print screen) and measuring the length of the black bars on either side of the frame using Photoshop or a comparable image-editing program. Once that's done, hit the Apply button, head back to the Settings tab, and set your newly created profile to be the default. Now, you're finally ready to convert your first video.
This is the easy part: click the Convert button at the top of the program's interface, then click the Convert New Video button. If your desired source video isn't showing up, you may need to expand the Files Of Type field to include All Files. And that's it! While your movie's being processed, you can queue up other movies that you'd like to convert. When the process is finished, it's time to transfer your newly minted videos onto your PSP.