How To Batch Convert Media Files in VLC

How to batch convert media files in VLC-1

If you create your own movies or download TV shows, you may find that the format doesn’t work with your TV or playback device. You might also want to shrink a huge .mkv file down to MP4 without losing too much quality. All this and more can be done from within VLC. You can even batch convert media files in VLC.

VLC is awesome. It’s free, small, uses very few resources and can play just about every popular media format out there. It works very well on mobile too, making viewing on the morning commute easier than ever. Given that the program is free, it is constantly developed, supported by a serious fan base and is very powerful. Ideal for what we need it for!

How to batch convert media files in VLC-2

Batch convert media files in VLC

Batch conversion in VLC works the same regardless of whether you’re converting audio or video. The process is exactly the same and contains only a few steps. The actual conversion process may take time though. Much depends on the type of file, the size of it, the format you’re converting from and to and the specs of your computer.

Video editing compilation and conversion takes a lot of memory. If your computer has lots of RAM and a decent processor, the conversion time will be short. If you’re using an older computer, it’s going to take longer. MP4 conversion takes longer than MP3, partly because of file size but also the information contained within it. So be patient!

Here’s how to batch convert media files in VLC.

  1. Open VLC.
  2. Select Media and ‘Open multiple files’.
  3. Click Add and select all of the files you want to convert.
  4. Click the small down arrow next to Play in the bottom right.
  5. Select Convert.
  6. Select the format where it says Profile.
  7. Select somewhere to save it to in Destination File.
  8. Select Start to begin the process.

Depending on how many files you’re converting, their type, size and your computer, this process can take less than a minute or several hours. VLC works quickly but it’s about more than just raw processing power.

How to batch convert media files in VLC-3

Use a batch file to convert media files in VLC

The guys at Videolan.org, the people behind VLC have also put together a series of script files that use PowerShell or CMD in Windows or the terminal in Linux to batch convert tiles in VLC. If you prefer doing things with scripts, this page is for you.

As a fan of PowerShell, I tried this method as well as the menu method above and it worked fine. Open PowerShell as an administrator and paste the following into it:

$outputExtension = “.mkv”

$bitrate = 8000

$channels = 4

foreach($inputFile in get-childitem -recurse -Filter *.MP4)

{

$outputFileName = [System.IO.Path]::GetFileNameWithoutExtension($inputFile.FullName) + $outputExtension;

$outputFileName = [System.IO.Path]::Combine($inputFile.DirectoryName, $outputFileName);

$programFiles = ${env:ProgramFiles(x86)};

if($programFiles -eq $null) { $programFiles = $env:ProgramFiles; }

$processName = $programFiles + “\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe”

$processArgs = “-I dummy -vvv `”$($inputFile.FullName)`” –sout=#transcode{acodec=`”mp3`”,ab=`”$bitrate`”,`”channels=$channels`”}:standard{access=`”file`”,mux=`”wav`”,dst=`”$outputFileName`”} vlc://quit”

start-process $processName $processArgs -wait

}

You can set the script to work with multiple files types, audio or video. You will need to modify the outputExtension to match the file you’re converting from and the end of the ‘foreach’ line to match your desired output format. You will also need to modify bitrate to match the file type and channels to fit the audio. I have bitrate to 8000 as it is measured in kbps and I required HD, which is 8mbps = 8000 kbps.

The VLC HowTo/Transcode multiple videos page has much more information on the various script options you can choose.

Other options to convert media files

There are third party programs that can convert audio and video for you and even websites that will do it online. Some programs are very good indeed and may be more suitable for if you’re producing media for public consumption rather than your own enjoyment.

Some programs include Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate, Prism Free and Any Video Converter. A website I have used is OnlineVideoConverter which is pretty good too. The site can work slowly at times, depending on the time of day and how many requests it is handling at the time. For a one-off project, this might be useful but for anything more frequent, VLC or one of these other apps will get the job done.

There is a lot more to VLC than just a media player. So much so that I cannot believe it is legitimately free. While it remains at no-cost it will always be my go-to media player and the app I use to batch convert media files.

Posted by Jamie on February 21, 2017

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