I use Handbrake to convert video files all the time.  It works great.  Unfortunately, converting videos takes a lot of computer power, and my trust Macbook Pro is getting a little old (nearly 3 years since I bought it — that’s like middle aged in computer years).  That means that when I try to convert a video and simultaneously work on other stuff, things get a little choppy, and sometimes downright unusable.

Luckily, OSX has a built-in command in Terminal that lets you reset an app’s priority.  It’s called the “renice” command, and here’s a thread all about it.  While I’m learning to use Terminal, I still find a GUI much easier.  Unfortunately, several of the apps featuring a GUI won’t run on OSX Lion.  However, I found an Applescript in this thread that seems to do the trick!

I changed a few things and packaged it up as both an Applescript (for those of you that might want to tweak it more), and an application (for those of you that want to just click and have it work).  Seems to be working — I turned Handbrake down to 10, and I’m suddenly able to get work done in the meantime.  My understanding is that this will make the conversion slower while I’m working on my comp, but that when things quiet down, it will go back to full throttle using Handbrake, since there are no active higher priority jobs.  Note the range from -20 to 20, where positive numbers will decrease the priority and negative numbers increase the priority, with the default priority right in the middle at 0.

Feel free to comment below, and enjoy!

Set App Priority.scpt
Set App Priority.app