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How to transcode video files in VLC on Linux

VLC is more than just a media player. Did you know that it can also be used to convert video files to various file formats? It’s true! VLC is a powerful media toolkit, and Linux users use it for all sorts of things.

In this guide, we’ll go over how to use the VLC media player to convert video files. We’ll also touch on how to install it on your Linux system, in case you don’t already have it set up.

Installing VLC media player

Although VLC is the most popular video player on all of Linux, not every mainstream Linux operating system chooses to ship it as the default video player. As a result, we must demonstrate how to install the program before we go over how to use it to convert video files.

To start the installation of VLC on your Linux PC, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T. Then, follow the command-line installation instructions outlined below.

Ubuntu

On Ubuntu, the latest VLC can be installed easily with the following Apt command.

sudo apt install vlc

Debian

Those on Debian Linux will be able to get VLC working with the Apt-get command quickly.

sudo apt-get install vlc

Arch Linux

Are you an Arch Linux user? Install the VLC media player with the Pacman command.

sudo pacman -S vlc

Fedora

Are you using Fedora Linux? Grab the latest VLC media player with the Dnf command below.

sudo dnf install vlc

OpenSUSE

Are you an OpenSUSE Linux user? If so, you will be able to install the VLC media player app with Zypper.

sudo zypper install vlc

Snap

The VLC media player is available as a Snap package! To get your hands on it, ensure that you have the Snap runtime enabled. Then, enter the snap install command below.

sudo snap install vlc

Flatpak

VLC is available as a Flatpak app. To get it working, set up the Flatpak runtime on your Linux PC. After that, enter the two commands below to install VLC.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

flatpak install flathub org.videolan.VLC

Transcode video files in VLC on Linux

To transcode video files in VLC, start by opening up the app on your Linux PC. To open VLC, search for it under “multimedia” in your app menu, or by searching for “VLC.” Then, once the app is open, follow the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to transcode.

Step 1: Find the “Media” menu in the VLC app, and click on it with the mouse to reveal it’s options. Once inside of the “Media” menu, look for the “Convert/Save” button, and select it.

Step 2: Once the “Convert/Save” button is selected, the “Open Media” window will appear. This window has several tabs to choose from. Locate the “File” tab and click on it. Then, find the “+Add” button and select it with the mouse.

When you click on “+Add” with the mouse, an open-file dialog window will appear on the screen. Using this open-file dialog, browse for the video file you want to transcode with the VLC media player.

Have multiple video files to convert? You can open more than one into VLC for transcoding. Just hold down Ctrl while you select video files. Click on “Open” when you’ve made your selections in the open-file dialog box.

Step 3: Once the video files have been added to the “Open Media” window, you will see them under the file selection window. From here, find the “Convert/Save” button, and click on it with the mouse to move on to the next page in VLC’s transcoding process.

Step 4: On the conversion page, look for “Settings.” The “Settings” area is where you can customize how the VLC media player will handle your video file.

To deinterlace the video file during the transcoding process, select the “Deinterlace” box. To display the output (AKA play the video back once the conversion is completed), select the “Display the output” checkbox.

Step 5: After choosing your conversion options, it is time to select the profile that the video will be converted to. To select a profile, find the drop-down menu next to “Profile” and click on it with the mouse.

Once in the menu, look through the various “Video” preset options, and choose the one that works best for you. Alternatively, if you wish to convert the video file to audio, select one of the audio files.

Step 6: With the video output profile selected, it is time to choose the “Destination file.” Click on the browse button next to “Destination file.” Then, browse to where you’d like the output video to save to.

When you’ve chosen your destination file, find the “Start” button and click on it to start the conversion process. Be patient, transcoding video files in VLC can take quite a bit of time!

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