Having played with various mencoder options at different times, and with no success, I had a look at converting a standard avi file into an iPod recognisable mp4 again today.
Luckily this time I came across a post to one of the Mplayer mailing lists from someone having similar issues, and a link to “HOWTO batch encode video for iPod under Linux”.
He’s written a tool called podencoder which will encode DVDs and files into iPod mp4 format. After downloading that shell script to a directory in my $PATH, renaming it to podencoder and setting it executable, running
produced file.avi.mp4 which iTunes recognised and was synced with the iPod.
On a related note, why can’t iTunes report back to you when it can’t import a certain file? Even if it gave no reason, just saying “I’m not importing that, now piss off” would be better than nothing.
Anyway, having searched for this type of thing before and coming up blank, maybe another post and link to that site will push it further up the search ratings.