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VLC is probably the most versatile video player you can download due to its amazing ability to play almost any codec you throw at it. This alone makes this app a worthy addition to your software suite. While most people use VLC as a simple video player, it is so much more than that. VLC is the Swiss Army Knife of video players with features that are hidden and unknown to the casual user.
These features include the ability to do video recording, playing Internet radio and video, simple editing; just to name a few. To go through the number of hidden features VLC has could fill an entire wiki (which it does). So instead of you reading through the incredibly technical wiki, we have gathered the best 20 VLC tips and tricks you may not know.
Note: The tips included here are done using the Windows version of VLC, unless specified.
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1. Convert Media Files
Did you know that you can use VLC to convert your media files into a wide variety of formats? The app lets you choose exactly how you would like to convert them or you can simply use a given preset.
To start, go to Media > Convert / Save, add a file and click Convert / Save. From here you will select the desired codec to convert to.
2. Play/Download Online Videos
You can actually use VLC to play and download online videos. You can use the full suite of tools to manipulate video playback or save them for later play.
To start an online video, go to Media > Open Network Stream. Press the Network tab, enter the URL of the video and click Play. To save it, instead of Play, choose Convert.
3. Record A Currently Playing Video/Audio
If you want to record and capture a snippet of a video that you are playing, VLC has an option to do so. To enable this feature, on the menu bar, click View > Advanced Controls. Extra buttons will appear on the app. While playing a media file, click on the Record button to start recording. Press again to stop.
Recordings will be saved in the Videos folder for videos while audio will go to your Music folder. On the Mac version, go to the menu bar and click Playback > Record or use the shortcut CMD + ALT + r.
4. Record Desktop
VLC is able to record a video of your desktop, acting as a screen recorder. To enable desktop recording, go to Media > Convert / Save. Go to the Capture Device tab and on the Capture mode drop down menu, select Desktop. Select your frame rate under Desired frame rate for the capture and click Convert / Save. Finally select your codec and the destination and click Start. To stop recording, click the Stop button.
5. Record Webcam
You can record a video in VLC using the webcam. Go to Media > Open Capture Device and select DirectShow from the Capture mode drop menu. From here you will select the video and audio device from where it will capture. Click Play and VLC will stream from your webcam. Use VLC’s ability to record currently playing video and you have yourself a webcam recorder.
(Image Source: AddictiveTips)
6. Rip A DVD
Did you know you can use VLC to rip your DVD’s into your computer? It’s a simple way to create an archive of your DVD’s for backup purposes or a way to view them when you do not have access to the physical disc.
Go to Media > Convert / Save and click on the Disc tab. Under Disc Selection, click on the radio button of the media disc you are using and check No disc menu. Make sure the selected Disc device is correct and click Convert / Save. Choose the codec you wish to save in and save it with the extension that is compatible with your codec.
7. Remote Control VLC From A Browser
There is an option available to use a web browser as a simple remote control for VLC. This is incredibly useful when running VLC on a media center PC, as you can control it using a laptop or your mobile phone.
To enable this feature, go to Tools > Preference, and click the radio box All under Show settings. Next, go to Interface > Main Interface and tick the Web check box. Then, under Interface > Main > Lua, set the Lua HTTP Password. Remote control through the browser should now be enabled.
To test this, on your browser with VLC installed, go to localhost:8080. It will ask for the password and once given, it should display a remote control interface for VLC. To use this on another device, you will need to find the IP address of your devices’s browser. Add the address on your device’s browser with :8080 appended to it, for example 188.8.131.52:8080. Your device is now a simple VLC remote.
8. Video And Audio Effects
VLC gives you a multitude of tools that allows you to manipulate the video and audio of any given media. To see the tools available, go to Tools > Adjustments and Effects. From here, you will see tabs that contain the A/V manipulation tools. On the video side, you can adjust colors, crop, rotate video, add filters, etc. With audio, you get the usual equalizers to tune your music.
9. Subscribe To Podcast
If you are looking for a very simple podcast subscription app, VLC can fill that need. You can use the app to subscribe to your favorite video and audio podcast and view them all within the app.
To subscribe to a podcast, got to the Playlist sidebar, under Internet, there is a Podcast option. Hover your mouse cursor over it and a + will appear. Click on it and add the RSS for your podcast. On the Mac version, go to the Podcast option and press Subscribe to add the RSS URL.
10. Play Internet Radio
VLC provides Internet Radio channels on its Playlist sidebar for you to browse and search for online radio stations. If the provided stations don’t interest you, you can play your favorite channel by getting the station’s URL and opening it using Media > Open Network Stream.
11. Video Wallpaper
Ever wanted to have a video playing as your desktop wallpaper? There is a simple way to toggle this using VLC. Go to Tools > Preference. Click on Video and under the Output drop down box, select DirectX (DirectDraw) video output. Save and restart VLC. The next time you play a video, an option will appear on the right-click menu under Video to play as a Set as Wallpaper. Choose it and the video will then start playing as your desktop background.
12. Add Watermarks On Video
You can add your own watermarks on a video through VLC, bypassing a need for a dedicated video editor to do so. Do remember though that you will need to use VLC’s recording feature to save the video with the watermark.
To start, go to Tools > Effects and Filters. Click on the Video Effects tab and under the Overlay tab, you will get options to either add in your logo or a simple text to the video.
13. Play Video As ASCII Characters
For a bit of fun, VLC allows you to display a video all in ACSII characters. To enable this fun feature, go to Tools > Preference and click on Video. Under the Output drop down box, choose Color ASCII art video output. Your video will now be displayed entirely in ACSII. Now try watching ‘The Matrix’ like this.
14. Play Media Contained In Archive Files
If you have a ZIP or RAR file that contains a media file, you can actually play them within VLC without extracting them. Simply open them with VLC and it will play all of the files contained within.
If the file is broken up into pieces, just open the first part of the archive in VLC, making sure all the files are within the same place. This is a good tip when you don’t want to waste space decompressing the video.
15. Scrobble To Last.fm
If you are a heavy Last.fm user, you can scrobble the music you play through VLC. To enable it, got to Tools > Preference. On the Show settings radio box, click All. Click on Interface > Control interfaces and tick the check box for Submission of played songs to Last.fm. Then, under Interface > Control interfaces > Audioscrobbler, enter in your Last.fm credentials.
16. Take A Snapshot
Ever need to take a snapshot of a video you are watching? VLC has a way to do so. Simply use the shotcut Shift + s on Windows and Linux or CMD + ALT + s on OS X. The picture will be saved in your OS’s respective pictures folder.
17. Bookmark A Video
You can bookmark a part of a video so that you can return to it later on, if you feel like replaying a certain part of a video. To bookmark a video, go to Playback > Custom Bookmarks > Manage. The Edit Bookmarks window will pop up. Press the Create button when at a section of a video you would like to bookmark.
18. Add Subtitles
If a video you have doesn’t come with subtitles, you can add your own by finding an SRT subtitle file for the video and adding it in. To add the subtitle, play your video and go to Subtitle on the menu bar and click Add Subtitle File. If you want VLC to play it automatically, place the SRT file in the same folder as the video and make sure it uses the same file name as the video file.
19. Double Or Slow Down The Playback Speed
This feature is incredibly useful when you are watching a media file primarily for the content, such as podcast, audiobooks, recorded lectures, etc. To start, press ] to fast forward by 0.1x for each press. To slow it down, press [ instead. On the Mac, there is a slider to control playback speed, located in Playback.
20. Extensions And Plugins
Just like Firefox, you can extend the functionality and appearance of your VLC player. There are a variety of extensions and skins available on the VideoLAN site. Take a look and see what appeals to you.
Some of the extensions enable you to automatically get subtitles, info on the actors, as well as lyrics to songs, among other things. Skins, on the other hand, allow you to modify the look of your media player and there are many available that are sure to fit your taste.
One of the things that the MacBook has going for it is its pretty solid battery life except if you have to be on the move a lot. It is not advisable to leave your MacBook plugged into a power source for long periods of time as it will shorten your battery’s lifespan. But if you are always travelling with your MacBook, it won’t be easy to find a power source to plug in, when you are running low on juice. That’s where portable batteries come in to save the day.
Portable batteries power your laptops like powerbanks power your smartphones and tablets – giving you a constant power source, at your disposal. They are also compact and light, and thus easy to bring about. If you are looking for external power packs to keep your MacBook running for longer, here are 10 great battery backups you should check out. Note that most of the battery packs in this list do not come with the Apple Magsafe connector.
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1. GreatShield LuminousPower External Battery Pack
GreatShield LuminousPower is a 7800mAh capacity external battery pack made for portability. It comes with a built-in short circuit to prevent your MacBook and the battery from over-charging or over-heating. There are 4 LED lights to show the battery level and charging status plus a dual-LED flashlight that can be used as a torchlight, if you need it. GreatShield is powered by a Samsung lithium-ion battery that promises over 500 charge cycles.
[Get one - .99]
2. 52,800mAH Ultimate External Battery For Macbooks
This battery can power up your MacBook for days and has multi-voltage capabilities ranging from 9V to 20V plus two USB ports capable of charging 2 iPads at the same time. There’s even a multiple safety system protection to help you charge your MacBook safely. To know the battery’s current remaining power and what voltage it’s running at, just look at the smart display in the center of its body.
[Get one - 9.95]
3. Lizone 40,000mAh High Performance Mac External Battery
The USB port on this battery will provide MacBooks with an output of 5 volts while the DC voltage output is around 15-24 volts. It uses Li-ion Panasonic cells, with overcharge and discharge circuits included for device protection. The main DC output port is compatible with all Apple MacBook Air series, MacBook Pro series and any other MacBook series. If you’re looking for a size bigger than 40,000mAh, Lizone has you covered here.
[Get one - 9.99]
4. Mobile Freedom External Laptop Battery
This universal lithium battery pack provides charging capabilities to most laptops, including the MacBook. It comes with a battery capacity of 130Wh. If your MacBook lasts for 3 hours, this external battery can provide your MacBook with another 9 hours of run time. If you’re looking for an external battery pack that can both charge your MacBook and your other laptops, this one will do the trick.
[Get one - 9.99]
5. 12/16/19-100 External Battery Pack
This is another battery pack for both laptops and MacBooks that come with 100Wh battery capacity. It should provide around 4-6 hours run time. The LEDs indicate the current running voltage (12V, 16V and 19V) as well as battery life indicators. The battery weighs around 1.8 pounds, thus it is easy to carry around as a backup battery. This external battery pack is also capable of charging most of your USB devices.
[Get one - 9.99]
ChugPlug is the perfect companion if you dislike having your MacBook connected to an outlet all the time. It charges and powers your MacBook Air and 13 inch MacBook Pro easily using your existing cables. The battery is based on lithium polymer. ChugPlug supports both 45 and 65W MagSafe power adaptors and it provides enough power for you to use your MacBook, even while it’s being charged.
[Get one - 9.99]
7. Hyperjuice 1.5
The Hyperjuice 1.5 is designed to support all MacBooks including those with retina display. It also comes with two 12W USB ports, which lets you charge your other USB devices plus a 4-stage LED light indicator. This means you can charge multiple devices simultaneously. Hyperjuice 1.5 is available in 4 different capacities which are 60Wh (16,000mAh), 100Wh (27,000mAh), 150Wh (41,000mAh) and 222Wh (61,000mAh); prices vary.
[Get one - 9.95-449.95]
8. Hyperjuice 2
Just like the Hyperjuice 1.5, Hyperjuice 2 is also designed to support all Macbooks including those that comes with retina display. It also comes with dual 12W USB ports plus an advance OLED battery status display. Moreover, Hyperjuice 2 comes with an upgradeable battery cell, casing and logic board. The Hyperjuice 2 is only available with a battery capacity of 100Wh at the moment.
[Get one - 9.95-399.95]
BatteryBox is a portable battery pack that can fit in the palm of your hand yet can still power your MacBook. BatteryBox can provide up to 12 hours of power for MacBook Air and 6 hours for MacBook Pro, which is also equivalent to 8 iPhones. It runs on its own BatteryOS to ensure that the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries is properly controlled. Besides MacBooks, BatteryBox can also charge any device via its USB port.
[Get one - 9.95]
10. Energizer XP18000 Universal AC Adapter with External Battery
Energizer XP18000 is an external battery pack that weighs around 1 pound and can extend your MacBook’s battery life by doubling its running time. It’s even powerful enough to charge up to 3 devices at the same time. This external battery also comes with inbuilt short circuit protection to provide a safe charge. Its 18,000mAh battery capacity translates to up to 6 hours of battery life. You will need to get the MagSafe connector though, before you can start charging your MacBooks.
[Get one - 4.99]