Transcoding and playing audiovisuals

Playing videos

  • IINA for macOS is the hip new stripped-back media player for macOS.
  • VLC is the universal media player that does a lot of things, usually confusingly.
  • mpv is also a video player; more stripped down than VLC.


Technical details of converting AV formats from whatever you have, to whatever you need to use.

Check with your local jurisdiction’s intellectual property laws before doing any of these. I honestly have no idea any more what is legal and what is not. Ask a lawyer before getting out of bed or brushing your teeth idk.

See also remix, innovation.


Ant provides open-source WebRTC streaming.

Rip web videos

Remember kids, for fair use only!

youtube-dl (source) is a script that (despite the name) downloads not just youtube videos but whole playlists of videos from many many websites, setting up transcoding etc for offline use.

$ brew install youtube-dl
$ youtube-dl ''
[youtube] esV6ypDDoVA: Downloading webpage
[youtube] esV6ypDDoVA: Downloading video info webpage
WARNING: Requested formats are incompatible for merge and will be merged into mkv.
[download] Destination: BIGGEST WAVES EVER SURFED IN HISTORY …-esV6ypDDoVA.f136.mp4
[download]  53.3% of 56.97MiB at  1.61MiB/s ETA 00:16

You-Get seems approximately equivalent.

Jwz’s minimalist youtubedown is a script that seems optimised for a no-fuss server-side download bookmarklet:

Given a YouTube, Vimeo, Tumblr, Vine or Instagram video URL, downloads the underlying video file, with a sensible file name. It downloads the highest resolution version of the video available: first it tries HD MP4, then regular MP4, then WebM, and finally FLV. It also works on playlists, and works as a bookmarklet to download the video you’re watching.


Rip VCDs because copying the files doesn’t work. (See also ripping VCD to various formats) Two choices. Firstly, using Mencoder which is ubiquitous but ugly.

$ mplayer vcd://  # tells you how many tracks. rip desired ones:
$ for i in 2 3 4 5 6; do
>   mencoder vcd://$i -oac lavc -ovc lavc -o track_$i.avi ;
> done

Depending on where you want to play it, the following non-re-encoding step might be more hi-fi:

mplayer vcd://2 -dumpstream -dumpfile filename.mpg  # No re-encoding

On the other hand, you might want to play this on a mac, which won’t work with either of the above steps without specialist software, so you’ll need to re-encode. See FFMPEG for that, since I couldn’t make it work with Mencoder.

Alternatively, use a specialist VCD ripper, such as vxdxrip in the vcdimager system.

Creating MP3

Falling back to MP3 for some tedious vendor lock-in reason? Use lame. My default fairly hi-fi mode is

lame --preset fast extreme


The ubiquitous multitool of audio/video decoding. Essential. See FFMPEG.


Handbrake is a GUI for movie conversion.


  • XLD, X Lossless Decoder, is an excellent free app for transcoding arbitrary audio between formats.
  • Need offline versions of youtube videos or youtube video soundtracks? Firefox extension Media extractor gets these. There are SO MANY times you need this, such as giving lectures in Indonesia with supporting videos where you don’t have 1 hour to cache EACH VIDEO if YOU ARE LUCKY. Grrrrrrr. Also, AFAICT it’s legal in Indonesia as long as you don’t show penises in said video, but I am no lawyer, so this is not legal advice. I suspect it is illegal in DMCA jurisdictions, so don’t do it there.

Editing video

Free/libre video editors. It sounds like a non-trivial task, and yet new ones are launched with curious regularity and get quite a lot of hype. I do not do enough video editing to have opinions upon this.

Searching/indexing/analysing music

I made a new notebook for that.


See PDFs.


See photos.


See image editing.