Make Your Very Own Custom Ringtone For Your Samsung M520 Cell Phone

Here is how to make a ringtone for your Samsung M520 phone.  Who’s actually going to read this?  Who do I think I am, a writer for a tech magazine?  Whatever.

Normally you would have to purchase ringtones, or find a way to upload them to your ‘My Content’ area on the sprint network.  If you’re a cheapskate like me who keeps it real, you don’t subscribe to the internet on your phone, which means connecting to the internet on your phone costs extra money, which means selling out to THE MAN.

But, of course, there’s a way around this.

You should already know that you can record videos with this phone’s camera.  The phone saves its recorded video as a 3g2 file to either your phone or the microSD card, whichever you have it set to.  Once there’s a video inside one of the phone’s albums, you can set that video as a video ringer.  This is what you’re going to be doing: make a 3g2 video file on your computer, then transfer it to your phone, and set it as a video ringer.  It’s pretty easy if you have the ‘knowhow’ and access to the right hardware and software.

Note: I think 3g2 files are also called 3GPP2 files.  3G2 is just the extension.

Here’s a list of what I use for this.  It’s Mac-based.  If you don’t have access to any of these, then hopefully you have the know-how to adapt what you do have.  Remember, the end goal is to create your own customized 3g2 ringer file and transfer it to your phone.  My list:

-Final Cut Pro.  (iTunes would also work–you just may not be able to get video with it, just audio.)

-Compressor 3 (comes with Final Cut Studio 2)

-A way to get the 3g2 file from the computer to the phone.  I use the computer’s Bluetooth Assistant.  You can also find a way to plug your microSD card into the computer and do it that way.

Just so you know, I’m not going to explain everything.  Just the basic process.  Also, Final Cut Studio is an expensive professional video editing suite.  If you don’t have access to it, maybe your local library or university library has it for you to use.  Final Cut Express–A scaled-down version of Final Cut Pro–may also work.  Keep in mind that the end goal is to take digital music and make it a 3G2 video file.  Any way you can find to do that would be great.  This is how I do it, and I haven’t researched other options.

Start out by selecting the audio you want and convert it to an AIFF, if it isn’t already.  This is so Final Cut Pro will recognize it without having to render it to something else.  WAV would also work.  If it’s something like an MP3 file that’s locked and it won’t let you convert to AIFF, you’ll have to burn the song as an Audio CD and then reimport it.

Next, pick any video you want with it (my latest was just a simple replicated shape animation I created in Apple Motion).  Use Final Cut Pro to put the video and audio in a sequence. If you don’t care about adding video and you’re okay with just a black screen with the music you want, skip to the *** below.

A note on Final Cut Pro sequence settings: I’ll be honest, I’m too lazy to upload a screenshot of the correct sequence settings.  Here’s what I did: I recorded a video on my phone and then transferred it to my computer.  Then I dragged the file into an empty FCP sequence.  If you have FCP version 6, then it should ask you if you want it to automatically set the sequence settings to match the clip settings.  Yes!  If you don’t care about doing any of that, just tknow that your end video resolution will be 176×144, so set up your sequence accordingly.

You know what’s weird though?  I noticed that it squishes the aspect ratio a little bit once it’s set as the ringer and someone calls you.  I’d guess it goes from the 1.222 ratio to something like 1.5.  Weird.  Good luck with that.

***

Some notes on the specs:

The M520 will only play about 26 seconds of your ringtone before it goes to voicemail.  Maybe there’s a way to change that in your voicemail setting, I don’t know.  Whatever.  Anyway, I’d recommend making your thing no longer than about 26 seconds.

If your ringtone you’re creating is a lot shorter than that, keep in mind that it’s going to loop until the call goes to voicemail.  So just experiment with that too.

Make sure the audio is as loud as it can be without peaking.

Once you have it the way you want it, go to File > Export > Export using Compressor.  Inside Compressor, open the Settings window, and find the 3g2 preset.  It’s under “Mobile Devices.”  I use the 3GPP2 CDMA, because I’m with Sprint, and Sprint is a CDMA network.  Not sure what network your provider uses?  Check Wikipedia.

Make sure to also assign the file a destination.  Usually the desktop is fine.

Submit the batch, let it export, and there it is!  You can review your video inside of Quicktime.  Check it to make sure there isn’t anything you want to change before copying it to your phone.

Also, your phone won’t let you assign a video ringer that’s bigger than 512K.  If your video is really graphics-heavy, you may be out of luck and you’ll have to do something like shorten it or lower the frame rate.  You’ll figure it out.  Trial and Error.

Now transfer the file to your phone.  Here’s what I do: Open the Bluetooth Exchange assistant.  You can access this via System Preferences.  Set up your phone so that it can connect with the computer.  Then use the computer to navigate to the DCIM folder on your phone (you have to press “accept” on your phone with each folder you open).  This is your photo/video album.  Send the video there.

Now assign it as a ringer and check it out.  Pretty cool, pretty cool.

As a final note, again, your video doesn’t HAVE to have video, it’s just an option.  The music is probably the most important thing here.  The video quality is low anyway.  If you don’t put any video into your sequence, it’ll just be a black screen, and if that’s okay with you, it’s okay with me.

Let me know if this works/doesn’t work for you, and let me know if you have any questions.  You are the world.

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