Mystery Education Theater 3000

One Way to Create Video Clips from a Streaming Source

Regular WCCUSD school board meetings are televised and archived online on the City of Richmond Web site. These archived videos are playable through an embedded Windows media player. However, you might be interested in just one part of the meeting. To share it with others, you’d like to grab this part and post it to YouTube. How do you do it? There may be other ways, but here’s how I do it. Even though this is about processing a video file in an embedded Windows media player using a specific program, it should be adaptable to many other situations.

Update: Just as I published this, the site I use as an example started using Silverlight by default. To follow the instructions here for getting the underlying stream URL, you’ll have to temporarily disable Silverlight in your browser and reload the browser.

I use a free open source cross-platform media player called VLC for this. It does just about everything you expect a media player to do including being able to open a network stream and create automatically saved clips by pressing a record button on and off.

Let’s jump right in to explain by example. Just follow these steps:

  1. Get the stream URL for the video of the meeting.
    1. [expand title=”Open the meeting video on video archive site.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
    2. [expand title=”See the video playing in an embedded player in the browser window, and stop it.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
    3. [expand title=”Right-click on the embedded player, and click on ‘Properties’ in the pop-up context menu.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
    4. [expand title=”Select the URL for ‘Location:’ and copy it.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
  2. Load the meeting video into VLC.
    1. [expand title=”Launch VLC.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
    2. [expand title=”Select Media/Open Network Stream from the VLC menubar.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
    3. [expand title=”Paste the URL you copied before into the empty box, and press play.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
  3. Make the clip.
    1. [expand title=”Use the slider to position the video to the point where you want to record, back up a few seconds, and pause.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
    2. [expand title=”Hit the start button (triangle), hit the record button (red circle) to start recording, and hit it again to stop.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
    3. [expand title=”The clipping file will be saved automatically to a standard place like ‘My Videos’. You can then rename the file if you want.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
  4. Upload to YouTube.

I’ll stop there in terms of the process except for mentioning one thing about YouTube. It has a “playlist” feature that allows you to connect together multiple clips to tell a story. The clips can be consecutive parts of one segment of the meeting or related parts that occur at different parts of the meeting. Here’s an example of this use of a playlist: Procedural (Brown Act) Chicanery: WCCUSD 2/1/2012 Meeting

Using the Command Line

If you’re comfortable with a command-line interface, VLC has you covered. You can use the command line to replace step 3 above.

  1. Make the clip.
    1. [expand title=”Use the slider to position the video to the point where you want to record, and note the time (in the lower-right corner). Then, use the slider to position the video to the point where you want to stop recording and note the time.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
    2. Use the noted times to construct a single command like this on the command line or in a batch file to make reediting for reuse easier. (Remember to run this in the VLC directory or include the full path to vlc.exe in the command, unless vlc.exe is in the path for your system.)
      vlc "http://richmond.granicus.com/ASX.php?view_id=15
      &clip_id=2728&r=14595abf06f682b204fcd6e89cbce0ab&xp=n&intro=1
      &sn=richmond.granicus.com&bitrate=
      &SESS1=4858439d1e5debae299206276b473b69&sn=richmond.granicus.com"
      --start-time 3041.000 --stop-time 4141.000
      :sout=#file{dst=Users\Charley\parcel-tax-board-comment-questions.asf}
      :no-sout-rtp-sap :no-sout-standard-sap :sout-keep

      redURL for video copied in step 1.d.
      orangeThe times you recorded for starting and stopping as seconds. To make converting the times easier, I use a Google Docs spreadsheet called VLC Start/Stop Calculator that you can make a copy of
      greenThe path and filename for the output of the clipping
    3. [expand title=”Hit return to launch the VLC command or run the batch file.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
    4. [expand title=”This will launch VLC and start recording automatically.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]
    5. [expand title=”When done, it will just stop with the VLC window still open.” trigclass=”noarrow” alt=”Show/hide the picture”][/expand]

Categories: Tools and Techniques

Public Comment Clips for WCCUSD BOE Meetings » « The Elections Calendar Page

1 Comment

  1. Hi, thanks so much for posting this procedure. The “properties” menu item is no longer available on Win7 or OSX. Of note I have tried this with Google Chrome on both OS’s and also Safari with OSX (Sierra). Is there still a way to retrieve this information (the actual file location) from the Granicus streams using VLC? The main url for their videos is insufficient for VLC to make downloads, e.g. http://.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=&clip_id= …and that is all I am able to parse out of the streaming video from their website. I notice that the “ASX” seems to have been replaced with “MediaPlayer”… not sure what is going on there… but something seems to have changed since 2012 when you wrote this (now 12/2016) ? Thanks!

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