Extract the sound from a video


Extract the sound from a video
Mac Tip #387, 03 June 2009

Here’s how to extract the sound from a downloaded YouTube video.

In Save a YouTube video I explained one way to download a YouTube video. Others kindly chimed in with comments explaining alternatives. Once you have a video on your computer though, you may find you’d like to take just the sound and add it to iTunes.

Again, there are various ways to achieve this. Here’s how I did it, using the free VLC Media Player and Audio Hijack Pro (US$32, free trial available).

Open the video in VLC

Select the video in the Finder.

Select the video in the Finder.

  1. Select the video in the Finder. It may be named something like video.flv.
  2. Control click. A contextual menu appears.
  3. Select Open With > VLC.app from the contextual menu. VLC opens and starts to play the video.
  4. Pause or Stop the video if you don’t want to watch it just yet.

Choose a Source for Audio Hijack Pro

Set up Audio Hijack Pro

Set up Audio Hijack Pro

  1. Open Audio Hijack Pro. The Audio Hijack Pro window opens.
  2. Select Quick Record in the list on the left of the window.
  3. On the right, in the main part of the window, choose Application for the Input type.
  4. Click on the Select drop-down button at the right hand end of the Application line, and choose VLC from the menu.
  5. In the Recording section of the window choose a format for saving the recording. I selected the For archive to disk format.

Start Hijacking and Recording

Audio Hijack Pro can simply hijack sound — in other words ‘capture’ the sound before it goes through your computer’s speakers — or it can both hijack and record.

  1. Click the Hijack button in the Audio Hijack Pro window. Everything is now ready to begin actually recording sound from the video.
  2. Click the Record button in the Audio Hijack Pro window. The recording begins.
  3. Switch to VLC and if necessary press the Rewind (◄◄) button to rewind the video to the start, then press the Play () button.

While the video plays Audio Hijack Pro records the sound to a file on your computer. When the video finishes go back to Audio Hijack Pro and press the Record button to stop the recording.

Send the recording to iTunes

Select the recording you wish to send to iTunes.

Select the recording you wish to send to iTunes.

  1. Open Audio Hijack Pro.
  2. Select Recording Bin in the list on the left of the window to see a list of your recordings.
  3. On the right, select the recording you wish to send to iTunes.
  4. Click on the iTunes button in the Toolbar at the bottom of the window. iTunes opens, imports the sound track according your your iTunes preferences and starts playing the track.

Other software

iTunes opens, imports the sound track according your your iTunes preferences and starts playing the track.

iTunes opens, imports the sound track according your your iTunes preferences and starts playing the track.

Many people speak highly of Audacity: free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. I haven’t actually tried it, as I’ve been using Audio Hijack Pro happily for years.

I also like and use Fission and Airfoil from Rogue Amoeba, the makers of Audio Hijack Pro. I’d recommend testing those applications too before you buy, as you may be able to purchase at a ‘bundle’ price.

I use Fission for quickly editing sound, and Airfoil for sending sound to any speakers.

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3 Comments

  1. Peter Emery said:

    Or use iTunes. First, you need to locate the video in the finder. Choose the video from Movies in the iTunes Library shown in the sidebar. Right or control-click on the video and choose “Show in Finder.” Now right or control-click on the movie in the Finder and choose “Copy.” Go to your desktop and paste the item (Command V will do this).

    Back in iTunes, hold down the Option/alt key while clicking “Advanced” on the iTunes menubar. You will now see Convert to …… (whichever format you have chosen to import CDs as). Now iTunes will extract the audio and import it automatically into iTunes.

    • Peter Emery said:

      I missed a step in the process, sorry.

      Or use iTunes. First, you need to locate the video in the finder. Choose the video from Movies in the iTunes Library shown in the sidebar. Right or control-click on the video and choose “Show in Finder.” Now right or control-click on the movie in the Finder and choose “Copy.” Go to your desktop and paste the item (Command V will do this).

      Back in iTunes, hold down the Option/alt key while clicking “Advanced” on the iTunes menubar. You will now see Convert to …… (whichever format you have chosen to import CDs as). Next, iTunes will ask you which video you want to convert. Navigate to your desktop and select the copied video. Now iTunes will extract the audio and import it automatically into iTunes.

      • Miraz Jordan said:

        Thanks for that Peter. It’s great to hear of other ways to do these things.

        Cheers,

        Miraz

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