I have a shell script that takes jpg and videos from various cameras I've used and converts them (via ffmpeg) to standard sizes/compression ratios/formats.
Must remember though (reminded when it stopped working after a from-scratch install of Ubuntu Maverick) that I need to use libavcodec-unstripped*. Otherwise I get errors about Unknown encoder 'libxvid'
I use live USB flashdrive images for installing Ubuntu because I've got old laptops and their DVD drives are sometimes flaky.
One of our laptops is also sufficiently old that the fans don't do a great job anymore. When it runs at top speed (3.3 Ghz), the laptop halts within two minutes or so because the fans can't keep the hardware cool enough and it's not smart enough to slow down the CPU. Linux also doesn't have built-in drivers for the hardware, so it can't detect that the CPU is running too hot and therefore can't dial down the cpu freq.
I needed to install Ubuntu Maverick from scratch because there were enough bogosities in the configuration (and I don't have either the time or the talent to understand it all enough to figure it all out).
There were more customizations I could have done (e.g., installing the omnibook module so that I'd have CPU temp monitoring available [not used by the kernel to slow down the CPU though, just informational]), and certainly I could have at least removed nano :-). But that's more easily done once the OS is running on the target. And I only have one laptop like that. If I had 3 or 5 then putting the customizations in the live flashdrive would have been worthwhile.