10 VLC tips: Make the most of your media player


You already know that VLC plays almost all media files without problems. More and more people are discovering how great this all-in-one solution for media playback is. However, if you dive deeper into the program, you will discover that the program can do much more. That is why we have listed 10 VLC tips for you.

While VLC did start out as a powerful media player, many features have been added over the years. Chances are you don’t use them all. Time to put them in the spotlight once more.

1. Convert

Since we stream so much these days, we hardly ever have to deal with file conversion again, but that doesn’t mean it’s never necessary again. It may happen that you have to supply a file for a party (or funeral) in asf format, while you only have the file as mp4. In such a case, you need to convert the file. Where previously expensive software was needed, VLC now offers a helping hand.

In the program, click Media in the top menu and then on Convert / save file. A menu will open in which you first select the source file and click on Convert / save. Bee Settings click on the drop-down menu at the heading Profile,after which you choose the file type you want to convert to. click on Start to start the conversion.

In this way, it is also possible to extract audio from a video, so that you only have an MP3 file with the audio from the video.

2. Download YouTube Videos

Officially, VLC has no option to download videos from YouTube (which, of course, would not tolerate YouTube). However, it is possible, you just have to do some extra actions. First, find the downloadable video on YouTube and select and copy the link for this video. Then open VLC and click Media, Open network stream. Now paste the YouTube video url into the field that asks for a network url, and hit Enter. Most videos are now just playing (some videos don’t want to work for all kinds of reasons).

Now click on at the top Additional and then on Codec information. In the window that opens, you will see a field with the location url at the bottom. Select and copy the entire url and paste it into the address field of your browser. The video will now play in your browser. Right click on the video and click Save as. You can download the video now to watch offline later.

3. Video as a background

Not all functions of VLC make sense. Because did you know that when you are watching a video in VLC, you can set this video as your desktop background? All you need to do is launch VLC and load a video and then click Video in the menu at the top and on Set as Wallpaper. It seems like nothing is happening, but when you minimize all open windows, you will see the video playing full screen on your desktop background.

A fun feature if you may want to sneak a video and quickly switch to your other programs while the video continues to play in the background. Furthermore, we can not come up with many useful applications of this, but it is nice that it is possible and it works very well. When the video ends, you will get your desktop back.

4. Record audio / video

Earlier we showed how to convert videos to other file types, and thus even make an audio track out of a video. But for that you have to have the full video at your disposal. Moreover, it is quite a hassle to extract the audio from a video. Fortunately, it can also be much easier.

Make sure the video whose audio you want to record is loaded. Then click on top Display and then on Advanced controls. A number of additional buttons, including a record button, appear at the bottom of the window. As soon as you press the record button and play the video, both the video and the audio will be recorded on your hard drive. You will find the video in the folder Video, the audio clip can be found in the folder Music.

Note: this is only interesting if you need a short piece, because the extraction is realtime (10 minutes of audio recording really takes 10 minutes). For longer videos it is therefore more interesting to still use the conversion method or to rip the video / audio.

5. Rip video (and audio)

We will then continue with that for a moment. Capturing video and audio while the video is playing is of course a very handy option for short videos, of a few seconds or minutes, but you won’t be saving a full DVD on your computer this way. We therefore use the method that is similar to what we did with the conversion method.

The first steps are therefore the same: Click Media, Convert / Save File. But instead of a single file, we now want to convert a complete DVD. To do this, click on the tab at the top Disc. You will then see the ability to select different types of discs, from DVD to Blu-ray, as well as audio CDs. In this case we choose DVD. Place the relevant movie in your DVD player, which should be detected automatically. If not, click on Browse to select the correct station. If necessary, indicate which chapters you want to select and which audio track is included. You can even select the corresponding subtitles so that the correct subtitle file is selected immediately.

Once you have set everything to your liking, click Convert / save and select, as in the first step, how you want to save the movie (we recommend the default value that VLC shows). Then click on Starting and you just have to wait for this process to finish.

6. Record desktop movies

You have undoubtedly seen them: videos in which people record what is happening on their desktop, so that they can better explain certain steps in a program. They usually use expensive software for that, but actually that is not necessary at all, because it is also possible with VLC. In VLC, click Media, Open recording device and then open the dropdown menu next to the heading Recording mode and select Desktop. If you now click on Play, a kind of Droste effect is created, in which an infinite loop from desktop to desktop is shown.

Nice to see, but not what we want now. So instead of Play, we click To convert (via the dropdown menu). Then click twice Next one and indicate in which file type you want to save the video. Then click again Next one and then on Stream. The contents of your desktop (and everything you do on it) will be captured until you see Stop indicates that you have finished recording.

7. Take screenshots

With screenshots we often think of a screenshot of a program. But sometimes in a movie or series you see a certain scene that you can appreciate so much that you would like it as a background image. Technically, you could just take a screenshot of the video player and cut it out later in a photo editing program. Not very efficient, not to write home about the quality. But VLC wouldn’t be VLC if it had a feature built in for this too.

Open the program and start the video you want a screenshot of. Pause the video exactly on the shot you want, then right click on the video and choose Video, Take Snapshot. The still of the video is now automatically saved in the folder Pictures in Windows, where the interface elements such as the play button are of course not included.

8. Listen to podcasts

While we’re mostly talking about loose audio and video files that you can play in this article, VLC is also able to help you with another very popular form of online audio consumption: podcasts. The program has a built-in section where you can easily subscribe to the podcasts you like or want to listen to.

Make sure the panel Playlist is enabled by clicking View, Playlist. In the pane that appears, click under the heading Internet on the plus sign next to it Podcast. Paste here the url of the podcast you like to listen to so it will be automatically added to VLC.

9. Add watermark to videos

When you make videos yourself, it is not the intention that someone else runs off and takes all the credit. Adding a watermark is a good solution, which is generally done with a program such as Adobe Première or Adobe After Effects. The only downside is that these programs cost a small fortune and that is of course a considerable overkill for just adding a watermark.

You’ve probably guessed it already, VLC includes this functionality as well. To add a watermark, open the video in VLC and click Tools, Effects and Filters. At the tab Video effects you go for the sub tab Overlay, after which you place a check mark at the option Add logo.

Now click on the three-dot icon to select a logo, and use the options in this menu to determine how transparent the logo should be and where it should appear in the video. Then save the video using the steps we explained under the heading “Record audio / video”.

10. Create video bookmarks

With the arrival of the DVD and then of course streaming services like Netflix, we are used to the fact that a video later continues where we left off. The media players in Windows are not that far yet. However, the fact that this does not work as standard does not mean that you cannot realize it yourself. You can easily add bookmarks to a video so you can pick up where you left off with one click. Open it for this Bookmark management by pressing the key combination Ctrl + B. Make sure the video is paused where you want to bookmark it.

Then click on the button To make and a bookmark will be automatically added to the video. By double clicking on the name of this bookmark (with a short pause between the first and second click) you can change the name of the bookmark. To use such a bookmark, open the video and bookmark manager again (Ctrl + B) and click on the bookmark you want to use.

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