Tag Archives: video

movgrab: An alternative video grabber

I didn’t know there were quite so many command-line video grabber tools out there, until I started pecking away at this hideous little blog.

movgrab is another command-line tool that will pluck Flash videos or other formats from the ether, and unlike some others (ahem, youtube-dl), it’s written in C.


The challenge, as it appears to me, would be keeping up with all the idiosyncratic changes in sites that might otherwise kill a content-grabber like this (ahem, dailystrips).

But movgrab seems to be keeping apace with all the different sites it follows. And it has a few tweaks that I like.

For one thing, youtube-dl (just to pick on the competition) picks file formats by code number for sites like YouTube. That’s fine, but you have to check the format before you know the number. As far as I know, get-flash-videos doesn’t offer different formats.

movgrab uses the name of the format as the flag. So if you know you want a certain kind, you just type “mp4” or whatever in the command. Much easier.

On the other hand, movgrab doesn’t seem to continue broken downloads, and youtube-dl will. I’m sure there are other differences.

It’s fun to watch though. I know youtube-dl gets a lot of updates and movgrab doesn’t seem to have grown much since 2012, but I’m not picky, I’ll use both. 😉

mencoder: mplayer’s less famous cousin

I am still debating whether or not to mention mplayer as part of this site; technically it’s nowhere near a console application.

On the other hand, we’ve seen some applications that rely on graphical access — particularly framebuffer support — to work, and others that will simply work without Xorg.

The rules have been bent often enough that mplayer will probably make it into the annals of history. 🙄

At the moment though, I should mention mencoder, which I don’t hear much about these days. I can’t account for that, other than its probable raging unpopularity among the graphically reliant.


Not much to show there — or at least, not much more than imagemagick or lilypond or some other conversion tools.

mencoder primarily converts between video formats, if I understand the man pages at all. That can be the challenge, too: Between this and mplayer, the sheer volume of information to learn can be exceptionally daunting.

For my own part, mencoder’s awesomeness is rooted in its ability to edit video streams, to include rotating movies that were filmed with the camera at an angle. The need for that has come up as recently as Christmastime.

But mencoder also will crop, color-correct, stretch … just about anything mplayer can do, but without the video display. Which, as you might imagine, makes it a little less demanding on a lighter system.

I don’t have any mencoder tips or tricks to close this with. I am sure you can find plenty of those elsewhere on the web.

I will say that there are more than one GUI frontends for mencoder, if the challenge of typing out all the conversion and formatting flags is more than you can bear.

Then again, if that much typing isn’t of interest, you probably wouldn’t be reading this post, would you? 🙂

dvdauthor: Also available to you

I have to mention dvdauthor as a solution for creating DVDs — like the kind you put in an actual DVD player — at the command line.


I also have to be honest though, and admit that I have never used the console to create a DVD and — thought it pains me to say it — I doubt I ever would. Just looking at the help flags for dvdauthor is daunting.

To be clear though, dvdauthor — with which I can find no faults — is an option which is available to you.

Like a lot of the “tools” I run into, dvdauthor is actually a suite of utilities, all revolving around the creation of a DVD, without a graphical interface.

At this point though, I have to admit that I lack experience with creating machine-compatible DVDs altogether, so you may have to experiment with this one.

But like I have mentioned for some other applications … purpose aside, it exists, apparently it works, and it’s available. More than that, I can’t say. 😐

avidemux and handbrake: Video, sans video

This may be one of the weirdest long-shot posts I have to offer, but I’m going to do it anyway.

On my megalist of terminal-based applications, I have both avidemux and handbrake.

2013-08-15-v5-122p-avidemux 2013-08-15-v5-122p-handbrake

You might know either as video editing and conversion tools. I’ve used them both at one time or another, and they’re effective at what they do.

I’ve just never used text-only versions, that’s all. 😐

Listing them as console applications or even cli applications might seem like a stretch.

But maybe not. After all, they do both have extensive help flags and man pages, with every combination and detail listed.

I daresay anything you wanted to do in the graphical version — of either program — is possible from the command line. It might take a little longer to set up, but I think it would work.

And for what little I could try them, they both seemed quite functional in spite of lacking a proper graphical interface.

So maybe it’s not as far-fetched as it sounds, to list a pair of video editors as candidates on a video-less system.

Take a look, and find out. Get it? “Take a look?!” 😆 🙄 Aw, come on. Everybody loves a pun. …