mplayer - for those "proprietary" media formats
Posted May 10, 2006 17:35 UTC (Wed) by dowdle
Parent article: The Grumpy Editor's guide to audio stream grabbers
Ok, this article was geared for AUDIO but let's not forget that much of it applies to VIDEO too.
A lot of media you will find out there is in RealPlayer, Windows Media Player and various other formats... often with an rtsp:// or an mms:// type URL. I have found mplayer to be very handy for capturing almost every stream you can find... assuming you have installed all of those questionable codecs from questionable sources.
Play Back: Once you have that proprietary media, how are you going to play it? With mplayer, xine, or vlc of course.
Getting the URL: mplayerplug-in's "Copy URL" feature (or however it is worded) is very handy when pages attempt to hide the real URL of the media. I often start the media with the browser plugin, copy the URL and them dumpstream it with mplayer.
Re-encoding: For converting those proprietary media formats into something more desirable, mencoder and/or ffmpeg are very handy. Getting to know some of mencoder's and ffmpeg's command line options and then making a cheat sheet keeps one from going crazy trying to read those techie man pages. There are various command line tricks for joining multiple media files into one... which is very handy when something like... say... PBS Frontline breaks their shows into 4 to 6 pieces. Ever want to extract the audio from a video and make it into an .mp3 or .ogg? You can once you learn the command line flags. avidemux2 is handy for converting to ogm as well as performing various operations (cropping, FPS change, etc) in a reasonable GUI... although avidemux2 can be a little picky on poorly encoded original files.
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