Although there are many good multimedia converting applications available for Gnome, very few are offering a full set of tools that most users may need when converting.
Curlew is an almost completely unknown converting tool that has just reached version 0.1.11 a few days ago, but already showing signs of feature and abilities plenitude.
Easy to use
Curlew offers an easy to use main screen with big action buttons on the top of the application window. These buttons allow you to manage the conversion list by adding and removing files, cleaning the list, start and stop conversion and quit when done.
Below these you will find the list with the files with some basic information about them like the name, duration, progress etc, and then the format options and destination location. If you don’t need to set anything more advanced than that, you are good to go in two clicks.
As the title of this article suggests the list of supported formats counts 117 different options. Inside this list you will find the following:
If the basic settings are not enough for you, you will be very pleased to know that Curlew can be powerful in a very friendly way too. If you click the advanced option on the lower left, Curlew will display 4 set of more advanced settings for the Audio, Video, Subtitles and Other options.
What exactly can you do? In the Audio settings you can set the bitrate, frequency, number of channels and even change the volume. On the Video settings you can change the bitrate, FPS, size (options here depend on the selected format), codec and quality. The subtitle settings which I find to be fantastic can be very helpful if you are dealing with such needs.
Here I chose the “XviD with subtitles” option and I just selected the subtitles file. I can then change the font, size, position and encoding.
If there was an option to set a delay or speed up the selected subtitles Curlew would be perfect for using when dealing with asynchronous subtitles, but there isn’t one yet. What there is though is the amazing video preview that allows you to see the result and whether everything (including the subs) looks like it is supposed to.
Splitting the converted file into more than one result and with the precision of seconds is also possible through the “Other” tab of the advanced settings menu. There you will also be able to set how many cores of your CPU will be assigned with the sometimes difficult and time and resources consuming conversion task.
Curlew is available as a package for Arch Linux (not latest version), but everyone else will have to download the source. A pre-compiled binary that you can run right away is also included inside. I will certainly be using Curlew in many cases and hope that we will soon have newer versions with even more features!