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How to Use Watch Folders to Automate Video Workflows

Watch folders are directories or folders that are tracked for new changes such that when a new file is added to the folder, an action is taken. For instance, let’s say we have hundreds of videos to resize for Instagram, using watch folders would allow you to simply drop the videos into a specific folder on your device and have them be automatically resized by an encoding app.

Mad Distro allows you use watch folders in a similar way without visiting the app. To do this, Mad Distro integrates with apps like Dropbox which can be installed on various devices. So, once you’ve selected a folder in your Dropbox, you can essentially trigger a workflow by moving a file to the folder you selected. No need to install any software or do anything else.

Let’s say we want to test this out using Dropbox. Continuing with the ‘Resizing Instagram Videos’ example, simply go to the Trigger step (always the first step). Click the search button and select the ‘New file in your watch folder’ action for Dropbox.

Now connect your Dropbox account and select a folder you want to use as a watch folder. If you want to create a new folder to use, you’ll have to do it in Dropbox itself. Whenever a file is dropped into this folder, it triggers the whole resizing process automatically without you having to do a thing. Click ‘Save’ when you’re done.

Ps. If you can’t find any folders, it is likely because you’re not working in the correct directory. Make sure to check ‘Apps’ in your Dropbox account, and click the ‘Mad Distro’ Folder. To protect your privacy, Mad Distro can only view and store files within this folder.

Automatically Store Resized Files in Dropbox

To make the process truly hands-off, you can have the resized videos placed in your Dropbox automatically. You can add a new step to the Distro.

Search for and select the ‘Export to Dropbox’ action.

Select your Dropbox account. You won’t have to re-connect the account since it has already been linked to Mad Distro. Now, select a folder to drop the exported files into. Make sure you select a different folder from the one you chose in the trigger step. Otherwise, you’ll end up creating a loop wherein the same files are exported and processed again and again, which can end up being expensive for you, Mad Distro, and Dropbox.

Once that’s done and everything is saved, you can activate the Distro (if it isn’t already activated) and test it out.

Note: Clicking the ‘Run Distro’ button won’t do anything since the trigger step doesn’t require a direct upload to the website. You’ll have to drop a file into the watch folder you selected. You can check the tasks in Mad Distro account to see if it worked.

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