Monday, 16 January 2012

How-to: Record Scenes from Media with VLC

If you don't have the VideoLan VLC media player, then you're missing out. It is the most versatile players and converters around; platform-agnostic, it runs on anything and comes with a stack of controls and features not usual in a media player.

One of which is the ability to record what is playing in real-time.

You will need to make the Advanced Controls visible in the player window, by choosing View and selecting Advanced Controls.

This exposes the Record button along with Snapshot (for screen-shots of just the player window) and Looping.

Open a DVD or indeed any other type of stream or file. Click on the red record button to begin recording, hit it a second time to end the recording. While recording, the record button changes colour.


By default, the recorded video in MPEG format gets and stored in the Documents folder, in file names labeled as VLC Record with the date-time stamp. You can change the default folder by going to Tools, Preferences, then Inputs and Codecs; it's under Files, Record Directory or file name. you can browse to a storage location. This is important since you need a location with sufficient storage.

This is a useful way to extract specific scenes to standard MPEG, perhaps to use in a presentation or teaching aid without lugging a stack of DVD's around. You can use the MPEG to convert to other formats - perhaps even using VLC's conversion functions.

This isn't necessarily a great way of ripping DVD's, as you get a continous file with no structure or scene and chapter marks. Not that you want to, as ripping is illegal in most territories. However, for making portable some content you already have in other media, it's a useful function. RC