VLC is great – it’s as simple as that. It’s so full of useful features that we’re already on our second article about some of the lesser known (but still really great) things it can do. Last time, we covered some gems such as the ability to normalize the audio tracks or transcode videos. This time we’ve got a few more great features from this fantastic media player that your average user may not know.
1. Fix Audio/Video/Subtitle Sync Problems
One of the most annoying things that can happen on video playback is when the audio and video tracks do not sync up properly. Sometimes it’s a result of bad encoding software, sometimes it’s a result of a mistake by the person doing the encoding, but it’s always annoying. VLC feels your pain and includes a tool to adjust the delay for the audio and/or subtitle tracks to let you adjust things as needed. Just open Tools -> Track Synchronization to make your adjustments.
Sometimes you may need to place some text or watermark into your video display (particularly when transcoding), and you don’t need a video editor suite to accomplish this. VLC’s got that too. Like some of our other tips, this can be found in Tools -> Effects and Filters, but this time under the Video Effects tab under Vout/Overlay.
If you want a graphic instead of plain text, you can do that with the Logo tab in the same section.
3. Control Playback Through the Web
If you’ve got your videos hooked up to play through a home theater PC, or just like to do remote control, you can command VLC from anywhere through its network interfaces for Telnet or Web. Just open View -> Add Interface -> Web Interface. It starts a small web server (you may need to adjust your system firewall settings to allow it) which can be accessed on port 8080. The web interface will let you start, stop, and set current playback and even adjust volume just as if you were clicking the buttons on the player window itself.
4. Mouse Gestures
Many people find mouse gestures to be a more natural way to interact with a computer than using buttons, and VLC has got those people taken care of as well. If you’re not familiar with them, mouse gestures let you use various click-and-drag motions to tell the application what to do. In web browsers, for example, you might drag the mouse anywhere on the screen from right to left to go back, instead of moving up to the corner for the button. It may not sound like much but many mouse gesture users will say it adds up.
To enable this feature, go to View -> Add Interface -> Mouse Gestures. You may need to restart VLC for the changes to take effect. The list of supported gestures can be found here.
As always, VLC delivers more than expected from a media player. There have been times when this author has run into some type of problem with a video and thought “I bet VLC is clever enough to have something for this…” and most of the time, I’ve been right. In case you can’t tell, I’m a fan.