VLC Media Player, also known as the VideoLan Client Media Player, has come a long way from its humble beginnings.
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 and It is one of the most popularly used media player throughout the world because it is available as open source platform and can be accessed for free.
This application has been downloaded 3.5 billion times.
Probably, you are also a big fan of VLC but the strange fact is that you are unaware about its incredible features. Yeah! There are a few “secret” features under the hood and you will probably be surprised after knowing that.
While most people use VLC as a simple video player, it is so much more than that. The article below will help you to explore some of the most interesting VLC Tricks & Hidden Features out of this big list.
1. Convert Audio or Video Files to Any Format
Why go through the pain of especially downloading a software to convert your audio and video files, when you have VLC at your disposal!
In order to do this follow the below steps:
- Open VLC and go to Media -> Convert/Save
- Add the file you wish to convert and click on “Convert/Save”.
- Now on the new screen, choose the type of file you want to convert to under ‘Profile’ and give the file a name and location under ‘Destination.’
- Click “Start” to begin the process and within a few minutes, your converted file shall be waiting for you.
2. Add Watermark on Video
It is possible to customize videos on VLC as it helps users to add their personalized watermarks.
You need not to download a dedicated watermark creator or video editor tool when you already have VLC. But note that it is essential to have recording feature on VLC for saving videos containing watermarks.
- Go to Tools > Effects and Filters
- Click on the Video Effects tab
- Under the Overlay tab, you will get options to either add in your logo or a simple text to the video
- Whatever you enter will be added to video frames as a permanent watermark. Marketers and advertiser will love to use this feature.
3. Add Features With VLC Add-Ons and VLC Extensions
For everyday use, VLC’s default suite of features just might be enough.
If you’re looking for enhanced functionality, though, there’s an entire catalog of add-ons that you can install alongside the program. Remember, VLC has a huge open-source community behind it.
They’ve created extensions, skins, playlist parsers, and other tools for users everywhere.
These extensions are more “secret” features that can be added to the player, such as tools that will help you search for subtitles, for example.
- Visit the VLC add-ons page and browse through what’s available.
- Click the Download button on each add-on page and download the ZIP file. Extract the file. (VLC add-ons use the LUA extension.)
- Place the LUA files in this Windows directory:
- Restart VLC. You can access all of your installed extensions from the View menu.
Some of the best VLC extensions include:
- Resume Media
- TuneIn Radio
- Info Crawler
- Moments’ Tracker
- Intro and Credits Skipper
4. 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.
5. Set Video as a Wallpaper
Here is one more interesting task to do with VLC, you can create a video wallpaper for your desktop.
To do this, go to Tools and then select preferences. Hit the Video option that is available below Output drop down box. Here you need to select DirectX video output. Save it and then restart VLC.
Next time whenever you will play this video, it will ask you to whether you want to set it as wallpaper? Hit yes and make your desktop appealing.
6. Play Internet Radio & Subscribe to Podcasts
One of VLC’s most underrated features is definitely its ability to find and stream Internet Radio stations. The VLC Player can fill all your audio needs: it’s able not only to stream radio, but also to play podcasts as well.
You can access Internet Radio services like Icecast Radio directory or Jamendo Selections or even add the RSS for your podcast to listen to it anytime you want. Neat, right? In order to listen to Internet Radio Channels, simply head to the Playlist sidebar and under the Internet, you shall find all the Internet Radio services.
1. Launch VLC and open the Playlist sidebar with Ctrl + L. Make sure that the Playlist view mode is set to List (go to View > Playlist View Mode > List).
2. Under Internet, you can browse through the two radio servers—Jamendo and Icecast—and choose a station by clicking on it. Reggae fusion, anybody?
3. If your favorite internet radio station is not on the list, use the station’s URL to stream it via VLC. Go to Media > Open Network Stream. Enter the URL and press Play to listen in.
Follow the below steps For subscribing to Podcasts:
- Go to Playlist, and, under the Internet section, select Podcasts.
- As soon as your cursor is hovering over the Podcasts section, click the plus sign.
- Copy and paste the RSS feed URL of the podcast that you want to listen to and click on OK. The podcast will be added to the sidebar and you can pick any episode that you like.
7. Creating Audio and Video Effects
Many times we feel like audio and video on a media file are not well synchronised and it appears very annoying. Most of you might be curious to get an idea about how to fix trouble and further you may also want to add few new effects to develop customized videos.
To do this, simply open VLC media player on your system and then navigate to Tools option. Now hit the Effects and Filters option from dropdown menu.
Further, select video effect or audio effect (whichever you want to adjust). It will allow users to apply wide range of effects and one can also view the changes side by side. It is much easier to adjust parameters like hue and brightness etc on VLC media player.
Move to Synchronization tab to get your audio and video files perfectly synchronised, the action will be accomplished within few seconds.
8. Play Video as ASCII Characters
Impress your geeky friends at your next party by putting a video on in the background in ASCII.
- Load a video in VLC
- Navigate to Tools > Preferences > Video
- In the “Output” dropdown menu, select “Color ASCII art video output”
- Bask in your nerdiness
For what it’s worth, I couldn’t get this to work at all on my 64-bit version of VLC in Windows 10. You might have better luck with the 32-bit version, or on different video types, but I wouldn’t install a different version of VLC on a 64-bit system just for this little trick.
9. Take a snapshot of a Video
Taking a snapshot of a video is usually a tedious process involving Print Screen and Microsoft Paint.
In order to take a snapshot, simply right click, go to Video > Take Snapshot.
OR 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.
To enter capture mode and open capture device you need to select Take Snapshot in the popup menu. That’s all there is to it.
10. Loop a Section of a Video or Audio File
Most media players can loop an entire video or a soundtrack. With VLC, you can loop a specific section of a media file, too.
1. Open the video or audio file with VLC. Go to View > Advanced Controls.
2. Now, a few more buttons will be displayed above the normal play and stop controls.
3. To start the loop from a specific part of the video, move the playhead to the part of the media where the loop should start (Point A).
4. Click the loop button once. The “A” mark on the button will turn red. To finish the loop, take the video to the endpoint and click on the same button again. You will see both the A and B points of the button are red.
5. Now, play the video and the section will loop. Click the loop button once again if you want to switch it off.
11. Play and Download YouTube Videos
We have already shown you multiple ways to download YouTube videos previously, here is another ingenious way to stream or download YouTube videos using VLC itself.
Although, VLC cannot help you to download YouTube videos directly from internet but it can assist in downloading video link to your own player.
If you want to watch and download a video from YouTube using VLC then simply follow the below steps:
1. Copy the URL of the YouTube video you wish to stream or download.
2. Open VLC, head to Media -> Open Network Stream
3. Paste the URL in the input box
4. Press “Play” to begin streaming the video.
5. To download the video, follow steps 1-4 and then go to Tools -> Codec Information
6. Copy the entire link given under ‘Location’ and open it in your browser.
7. Once the video starts playing in the browser, right-click and choose the “ Save Video as” option to download the video onto your device.
12. Record Your Desktop and Webcam
Record your Desktop:
It is good to know that VLC possess a superior screen recorder inside that can pick videos from your desktop while acting like a screen recorder tool.
If you want to enable desktop recording on VLC then simply follow the below steps:
- Go to Media option and then move to Convert/Save.
- Now go to capture device tab then select Capture mode, it will open a drop down menu where you need to choose Desktop for recording.
- Adjust frame rate for your video, make selections for codecs and finally define your output folder for saving modified content.
- Hit Stop button on screen when you want to stop recording.
Record your Webcam:
Your webcam might have come with software to take pictures and record videos, but VLC is probably better.
Not only can you choose several different types of formats for the recordings you make, you can also tweak a number of fine-grain settings as needed possibly more than your webcam’s software would natively allow.
- Under Media, click Open Capture Device.
- In the “Capture mode” drop down, DirectShow should be selected by default. If it isn’t, select it.
- For “Video device name” choose your webcam.
- For “Audio device name” choose your microphone which might also be your webcam, if you aren’t using a separate one.
- Click “Advanced options.”
- If you want to use the software that came with your device to control input settings, choose “Device properties.”
- Otherwise, enter a value for “Video input frame rate.” 30 is a good rule of thumb for smooth video, though you can use less if you’re not concerned about quality.
- Click Okay.
At this point, you have two options. You can click Play to play live video through VLC and record segments as needed by pressing the red Record button (as mentioned previously).
You can also choose “Convert/Save” from the dropdown menu and select where you would like the recorded file to go.
Both methods have their advantages. The former allows you to preview your video and take clips in short bursts.
However, this method requires headphones, as it can create a feedback loop. It also also lead to a more sluggish recording on slower computers.
Using the Convert/Save method avoids the feedback problem, but it also doesn’t provide you much information on what you’re looking at or when you’re done recording.
You can stop the recording by pressing Stop in the player, but there’s no indicator that you are still recording at the time.
13. 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.
14. Rip DVD’s
VLC is so powerful that it can be even used to rip a DVD onto your computer.
This feature comes in handy when you don’t have physical access the disk. All you need to do is follow these steps:
- Go to Media > Convert/Save.
- Go to the Disc tab and under Disk Selection, choose the type of disk that you are using.
- Check No disc menus and select the desired Disc device
- Click on Convert/Save. Select the required codec and destination & hit “Start” to begin the process
If all these hidden VLC features and tricks did not catch your eye, there is always the option of extending the functionality of your VLC media player by installing the various plugins and extensions available on VLC’s website. As a bonus, we would also like to share some fun VLC tricks with you, in case you are looking to wind down and have some fun with the software.
15. Create Bookmarks
Bookmarks in VLC allows you to mark certain parts of a video or audio file.
You will be able to mark a certain place of a media file. Then using the same bookmark feature, you will be able to move to that certain place. This feature allows you to mark your favorite part(s) of media files so that you can navigate to that portion of the file easily.
Just like the name, this feature is similar to saving bookmarks in your browser. Just like saving a favorite website for easy access, you save your favorite parts of a video or even audio for easy access.
Then you can move to that part whenever you want with just a few clicks. You can have multiple bookmarks of a single media file if you want.
Follow these steps to Create Bookmark:
- Go to Playback > Custom Bookmarks > Manage
- In the Edit Bookmarks window that opens up, click the “Create” button, at the required section of the video to successfully create a bookmark
16. Record an Audio or Video
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.
17. Stream Media over Network or Internet
VLC can also be used to stream media over local network as well as on internet.
To begin with this process, hit Media Menu option on VLC window, then select stream from drop down menu, add your media file and finally hit stream option.
It is possible to use VLC as media server so that you can control your streamed videos on network.
18. Activate Audio Normalization to Protect Your Ears
Your general audio settings are located under Preferences.
One of the best features in VLC is called Audio Normalization. This setting helps you adjust the volume of any media by a fixed amount and improve the sound quality.
Go to Tools > Preferences > Audio and enable Normalize Volume To.
The value you set here adjusts the decibel levels of dialogue, music, explosions, gunshots, and any other loud noise in the file. Restart VLC after enabling the setting to lock it in.
19. 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.
20. VLC as a Graphic Equalizer for Your Music
You may be using VLC as a video player exclusively, but VLC is actually a cross-platform, standalone media player, boasting fully-fledged audio effects and playlist support.
VLC not only displays cover art; it also offers a pretty good graphic equalizer to boot.
You can call it up with the shortcut keystrokes
Ctrl + E (Or go to Tools > Effects and Filters > Audio Effects).
Adjust the sound quality of your media file with the available presets, or fine-tune it with the Equalizer, Compressor, and Spatializer tabs.
21. VLC Inception Trick
Wondering what’s inception here? Well, VLC Media Player can take screenshot of your current screen and keep on taking screenshots in relatively smaller size and putting on it’s display panel which will provide your inception effect.
Steps to perform this trick:
- Open VLC Media Player
- Now, Press
- Type “
screen://” (without quotes) in the opened window
- Click Play to see this VLC inception trick.
22. Jigsaw Puzzle in VLC
Jigsaw Puzzle consisting of a picture that is printed on cardboard/wood and cut into various pieces of different shapes that have to be fitted together but in VLC’s case, the picture is the video that is playing in your player, you will have to arrange it while the video is playing.
Making it a quite challenging puzzle because your reference will always be changing.
This feature will provide you with entertainment and challenge if your the type of person who likes puzzles, but if you are not, then this will give you a headache.
- Head to Tools > Effects and Filters
- Go to the Video Effects tab, go to the Geometry tab and under it check “Puzzle Game.”
- Choose the number of columns and rows that you want and press “Close.” Next time you open a video, something like this shall greet you.
That’s pretty much it! So, there are Top Secret VLC Tricks & Hidden Features.
If you have any other favorite Top Secret VLC Tricks & Hidden Features then don’t forget to share them with us in the comment below. Also, if you liked this article, Share on your favorite Social media platform.