Record any video stream to disk using VLC

Nov 05, '04 09:17:00AM

Contributed by: metiure

It's now possible to save to disk any video stream VLC 8.0 can handle. For the first time with a Mac (as far as I know), it's like having a Save option in my Windows Media Player! You can save your videos in two ways: using the command line with VLC, or by using the VLC Aqua interface.

In the first case, you simply enter Terminal and type the appropriate CL command. So, assuming VLC is in the Apps folder, and you want to record a MMS video stream to an AVI file, you can type the following:

/Applications/VLC.app/Contents/MacOS/VLC mms://anything_ending_in.wmv \
 --sout file/avi:movie.avi
That should be one long line; it's shown on two with a Unix continuation backslash for a narrower display.

The WMP stream uses the MMS protocol and usually ends in .wmv. But remenber: in most cases, you must go for the link inside the site's source code. An example is a news video stream which uses the WMP plug-in: you should view the page source, copy the MMS link, and paste it in Terminal. Anyway, with the above command, you should get a file called movie.avi in your home folder.

The second way is new to VLC version 8.0 (I think), and is very user-friendly (no Terminal required). Use the Open Network menu option from the File menu. What is new (and really works) is that you can now handle any type of video stream (including Real). I discovered the best solution is to save the stream as 'raw' uncompressed data. So in VLC, choose Open Network, and paste your MMS (RSTP with Real) link in the appropriate field. Next, check Advanced Output and click Settings. From there, choose File (use Browse to create a new file) and check the "Dump raw input" button. You must also choose Raw in the Incapsulation Method option (not sure here). Click OK, and you're back to the Open Network dialog window. When you click OK again, VLC will start downloading the stream and recording it to you file.

Acording to the stream format, you must, once downloaded, add the right extension to the raw file in order to open it in the right player. So, if you recorded a WMP stream, give the file a .wmv extension, and view it with Windows Media Player.

With these instructions, you should be able to record any video stream. I already did it for several TV news (I wanted to record some political statements from two candidates), and the resulting .wmv files open beautifully with Windows Media Player.

Beautifully? wait a minute! WMP is WMP, right? So, believe it or not, these .wmv files I recorded on my Mac are not compatible with Windows Media Player for PC. Well, it looks like in my PC, with the same exact file, I only get the sound track; the video track is gone! But again, not in my Mac. Up to now, this is the only complaint I have. VLC is an incredible piece of free software, and we must thank the French guys who have been coding it.

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