Friday, December 14, 2012

VideoLAN (VLC) Player - Saving A Transformed Video / Video with Effects Filters (2018 UPDATED)

Have you come across or simply want to re-edit/transform a video with video effects/filters such to have negated colors (inverted colors), rotate the video/change geometry of video, add in a gradient to make videos look like cartoon, add in an overlay, or any other effect or filter? 

You can do all of this and more with the VLC player!! There is plenty of online help and support for simply viewing the video with these filters, but often times it is more practical to save the video WITH the filters effects applied (i.e. you may want to put it on a DVD and play it on your TV!).

My issue was that I had come across a video with inverted (negated) colors that I wanted to change back, but also to save it in normal colors. 
Thus, I had to play around and found some tips and support online that eventually led me to my solution. 
I hope that my solution works for you and that, more importantly, it is clear and that you can follow along. Please let me know if you get stuck on anything. 



(this of course also works for changing colors back from an inversion or negation of colors)


So obviously you may not CS degree or masters of any type of computing programming language.
All their help guidelines are basically for advanced gurus to input command lines.
There needs to be help using and showing GUI (e.g. a visual walkthrough/actual instructions (click here/go there).

Although the command lines can and do give you quick access towards changing the settings, like 99%+ of the people don't know how to even use such language.
Let's just get right to it:
Okay first, I am using VLC version 2.0.4 (that is the most current as of this writing (12/13/2012)) 2.2.8 (the current edition as of April 2018)
Make sure the original video plays via VLC. Generally, AVI files don't play. I asked Jean (one of the VLC support team) and he told me that VLC just doesn't support it.
Now if you know the original video works with VLC, you can proceed.  AVI files are now supported, huzzah! Thus, this guide should help everybody!

2018 UPDATE: There appears to be two ways around editing. Since 2012, VLC has added functionality to apply filters right from the "convert/save" selection. This is essentially covered after step 8. 
My complaint now is that VLC has some redundancies with the filters. You can now select filters under both "preferences" and under the "video codec" of the "profile edition" (via "convert/save" and misc. selections). Since I am just getting back into this, I recognize there are these two options yet am not sure if one or both are necessary for selection. I successfully completed a transformation without one, but I will see going forward. I am most interested in "manually cropping" a video. That will be a good test going forward. I will try to remember to update this.

OPTION 1: Change settings under preferences:
  1. Open VLC and go to the menu bar and select the Tools tab.
  2. Click on Preferences (it's at the very bottom of Tools)
  3. In the Preferences box, go to the very bottom left corner and you'll see a "Show Settings" box. There are two options: Simple and All. Select "All".
  4. At the left side you'll see that there are many preference options. Scroll down with the left scroll to where it says "Stream Output". Beneath that are sub-options for Access output, Muxers, Packetizers, SAP, and then Sout Stream (you may need to click the little sideways triangle next to Stream Output (just to the left)). I want you now to click on the little sideways triangle next to Sout Stream. 
  5. You will now see a select of options for Sout Stream (Delay, Display, ES....). At the very end of this list is the option for Transcode. Click on that!! -->YES!!--I think you know where this is leading to now!   It's about time we had some visual examples of what is going on here!
  6. The title "Transcode Stream Output" should display. If you scroll down using the main scroll (the scroll bar to the right) just a little bit, you see options for various video filters. Select the ones that you want to edit your film/video with. This might not be obvious. For me, the "negate colors" function is the "Invert Video Filter". Likewise, beneath the "Video" selection is the Audio selection and you can edit your video with audio filters as well. I also recommend "De-Interlacing" the video. It is at the very top when you first enter Transcode section. I don't know if it'll help, but I selected it (seems to help).  [I don't think "De-Interlacing" changes anything.]            
  7. HIT SAVE!! Surely, you don't want to have to remember where to head back to and re-do everything (unless of course you might have done something improper or suspect something is wrong or accident).

This might be all for nothing. With the improvement over the past few years, it appears that saving your video with filters applied can now be accomplished simply through "Convert/Save" selection. Allow me to experiment further as I tinker with my videos (cropping, rotating and everything under the "video effects")

Anyhow, the next several steps will guide you through properly using the Stream or Convert/Save function to save the video you wanted edited/transformed.

  1. Now that all the settings are good, get out of that preferences window and back to the main menu. Go to the Menu bar and click on the Media tab. 
  2. On the Media tab, select the Stream option (it has a little wireless icon to the left of it). 
  3. The "Open Media" box will now appear. Go ahead and browse for the file you wish to edit/alter by selecting "Add" under the "File" tab. 
  4. Once you've completed that, click "Stream" at the bottom right. 
  5. This should bring up the "Stream Output" box. From there select the option "Next". This is right above two options for "Stream" and "Cancel". 
  6. This is the part that might be most important for most of you. VLC will now request you for the "Destinations" you wish to select. There are several but I only recognize File and HTTP. You probably just want the file so select "File" from the menu selection across from "New Destination" and click "Add". This will bring up the File tab you have just requested. Click "Browse" and look for a location you want to save your video to. You will need to enter the name of the video and add the file extension you want to have (.flv, .mp4, .mov, .wav, etc...). Now it is ready! -- If you want to upload to the internet, just select HTTP and enter the Port and Path. 
  7. After this is completed, you may very well need to change some of the transcoding options under "Transcoding options". In fact, you might need to check the settings. You should select the video profile you want your video in (MP4, WMV-WMA (ASF), etc....). Next to that, there is a tool function (screwdriver/wrench). Click on that. 
  8. You should bring up a box called "Form". It will contain 4 tabs (Encapsulation, Video Codec, Audio Codec, Subtitles). Go to "Video Codec" and make sure the box for "Keep original video track" is unselected. Otherwise, you transformation will not work. I suggest here that you enter the bitrate and framerate that you had on the original video so that you can mitigate any potential losses in quality. The bitrates/framerates should, by default, be the original.
  9. Be sure to hit SAVE so you don't lose this settings. 
  10. You may select "Next" to view the "Options Setup" window, but there isn't anything to do there. IN FACT, I believe that is where you would have entered the codes that they gave you!!! 
  11. Now you are all done. Just select "Stream" at the bottom right of the box and it will stream the video for you. 
  12. After the video is done streaming, it will show up in the location you selected for the destination, but you will not be able to play it until you close the VLC player. After you close the VLC player, the video icon should display and your video is ready for viewing. 

  1. Go to the Menu bar and click on the Media tab.  
  2. On the Media tab, select the Convert/Save option.
  3. The "Open Media" box will now appear. Under the "File" tab, click the "Add" button and go ahead and browse for the file you wish to edit/alter and then select "Open"
  4. After you made your selection, hit "Convert/Save".
  5. Probably the first thing you recognize is the dropdown selection that is labelled "Video -H.264 +MP3 (MP4). there is a tool function (looks like a screwdriver/wrench). Click on that. For clarity, I have indicated it with the red arrow as shown below.
  6. Once you select that, the "Profile edition" box pops right up. There are 4 tabs to select from. Click on the "video codec" tab.
  7. Once you do that, select the tab that reads "Filters". Select the filter that is appropriate for your situation. This is where things can get a little tricky. I can't really help out too much at this point because there are A LOT of filters (which is a good thing). However, because of this fact, ensure that the name of effect you are trying to produce aligns closely with the name of the filter. I have personally made this mistake assuming the "Rotate video filter" applied to transform rotation (like the 90, 180, and 270 degrees rotations). It is evidently for the custom, manual rotation filter. 
  8.  Click "SAVE" after you made your selection.
  9. Once you have done that, you will be brought back to the original "Convert" box as shown in the image before this one with arrow pointing to the wrench/screwdriver. 
  10. Your next task will be to select a "Destination". Click "Browse" which is right above "cancel". 
  11. All you have to do is select the place where you want to save it to and enter a name for the file. The video will automatically be given the .mp4 extension so all you need to do is name it and click "Save". :)
  12.  From there, click "Start". 
  13. The video will now process and you will notice that it is black but looks like it is playing something as the time bar fills up (hopefully that wasn't confusing terminology). 
  14. It will finish and if you go to the destination where you saved the video, go ahead and play it BUT REMEMBER to reset the video effects to the original configuration or it will look like you screwed up. Remember, your goal was to revise it so that you can watch it in the manner you desired under default or custom configuration of VLC.


That worked for me anyhow and should work for you.
...........and YESSSS!! that was lengthy (sorry) but I wanted to put it in more detail as I have not seen it as such elsewhere; Thus, I believe it should clarify the process and help you out. 
If any problems, you betcha I can probably help ya out. 

Please  Google + me and feel free to recommend me!!
In fact, your endorsement/reference is about as good as money for me right now. 

You may also head to the VideoLAN forums and they may be able to help you out, too.

VLC - VideoLAN Forums

Good luck and happy viewing!!


  1. Very many thanks, hugely helped me out, indieberlin is in your debt! Any time you're in Berlin let me buy you a beer!

  2. Great! You've just made this kid very happy.
    Works perfectly with VLC 2.0.5
    Thank you very much

  3. Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I updated this blog to reflect the recent revisions as I am needing to transform my videos again. It is easier, I believe. Let me know if you have any complications and I will see if I can assist.

  4. You are godsend, thanks a lot!

    1. Thank you. I updated the blog. Seems it is mostly the same with a few tweaks.

  5. I set the video filters, colour; sharpness and contrast on an mp4 file to enhance it, in VLC Media Player. I then Converted / Saved the the file in mp4 format. I turned vlc player off, then reloaded to watch the video and was delighted to see all the enhancements were present on the playback! Then came the bad news: I found the mp4 file would ONLY play on the vlc media player and NO OTHER media player!
    Why should this be? It is obviously not a legitimate mp4 file in it's make-up. Vlc player can cope with it, whereas other media players cannot. I can only think something must make a radical alteration to the files make-up when enhancement filters are applied(?)
    Clearly this is not good. I wanted to burn the file to a dvd in it's newly enhanced form. Where am I going wrong? What do I need to do to make the mp4 legitimately?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I updated this blog to reflect the recent revisions as I am needing to transform my videos again. It is easier, I believe. Let me know if you have any complications and I will see if I can assist.

  6. Unfortunately it doesn't work. I applied the "Essential" video filters and they are not saved to the video when I stream it as described above. I mainly need the gamma correction.. I tried all different of settings with exporting the stream. Sad. :(

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I updated this blog to reflect the recent revisions as I am needing to transform my videos again. It is easier, I believe. Let me know if you have any complications and I will see if I can assist.

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  9. Thank you so much, this 2018 update is wonderful help! I have just another question you might be able to answer. The filters and their description ... somewhat bamboozling but some, of course, are easy to assign. But I am still trying to find the one for Saturation where you can intensify or reduce the colours. Thank you!

  10. And I guess, for Sharpness the filter will provide the gamma value you had put in in the first adjustment window, e.g. under Video Effects and Filters, but I can't be sure about that either.

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