VLC has done pretty well for itself over the years, becoming the main media player across Windows, OS X and Linux. The key to this is not only VLC’s simplicity and broad compatibility with video formats but also its wealth of powerful features, such as the ability to transcode (or convert) videos from one format to another.
Here we’ll show you how to transcode videos in VLC.
Note: we’ll be going through this process on Windows 10, but it’s largely the same on Mac and Linux as well.
1. First, download the latest version of VLC player.
2. Open VLC, click Media at the top-left, then Convert/Save.
3. In the Open Media window under the File tab click “Add,” then navigate to the video you want to convert and select it. You can also add a subtitle file in this window if you like or add more videos to the conversion list by clicking “Add” again.
4. When you’re ready, click “Convert/Save,” then in the new window select “Convert.”
5. If you’re converting a video that was shot using an analog camera or was in an interlaced format like 720i or 1080i, then you should tick the “Deinterlace” box if you want to watch it on your PC or another modern device.
6. If your video’s already in a deinterlaced format (which it probably is), or in the unlikely case that you’re converting your video to be used with an old CRT TV, then you don’t need to deinterlace.
7. Next, it’s time to select the format you want to transcode your video to using the Profile dropdown. To do this, you can simply select a profile from the dropdown menu. VLC keeps things simple by telling you which formats are best for iPhone, Android, TV and so on.
8. If you’re unsure which format to convert to, the first option, “Video – H.264 + MP3 (MP4),” is a good option because it’s the most universal format for your video. If you want your video to be playable through hard drives, USB sticks connected to TVs and so on, then this is your best bet.
9. If you know exactly which video and audio codecs you want to use for your video, and they’re not listed in the dropdown, you can click the “Create a new profile” button across from the dropdown menu.
10. In the Profile window you can change everything from the codecs the video will use, to bitrates, frame rates and resolutions. You can even add all kinds of filters to the video and audio codecs under their respective tabs. (You can see how these look before converting them by opening a video and going to “Tools -> Effects and Filters -> Video Effects -> Advanced.”)
11. When you’re done making all the tweaks, click “Create” to create the profile, which will then be added to the Profile dropdown menu.
12. The final thing to do in the Convert window is to give the output file a name in the “Destination file” box. Just click “Browse” next to the box, navigate to where you want to save the converted video, and enter a name into the “File name” box.
Finally, click Start and wait patiently while your video converts. You can monitor its progress by looking at the blue time bar at the bottom of the VLC window.
VLC really is the bottomless well of video software, and features like the above fully justify its place at the top of the media player pile. Do you have any top VLC features you’re dying to share with us? We’re listening.
This article was first published in December 2008 and was updated in July 2018.