How To Batch Convert Media Files in VLC

The huge variety of media files available for PCs, laptops, and mobile devices is both a blessing and a curse. It’s great because every specific niche out there has a format available to optimize it for playback on all the devices that we carry around with us, but it’s also terrible because every once in a while you find a video file that just won’t play on your particular device.

How To Batch Convert Media Files in VLC

And there are times when the media files we have on hand are really ill-suited for the device we want to use, such as if you have a huge high-quality .mkv file but want to play it on your older smartphone and really need it to be converted to an MP4. Fortunately, there is a tool out there that solves both these problems.

VLC is an awesome program. It’s a small media player, it uses very few system resources, it can play just about every popular media format out there, and it is free and open source. Not only that, it has great mobile versions for both iOS and Mac, making viewing on the morning commute easier than ever. The program is free, is continually developed and supported, has a huge fan base that’s very serious about keeping the programming going, and on top of that is feature-rich and easy to use.

It’s one of the best programs out there – and we can use it to convert media files into more convenient or better formats to boot. In this tutorial article, I’ll show you how to use VLC to batch convert your media files.

How to batch convert media files in VLC-2

Batch convert media files in VLC

Batch conversion in VLC works the same regardless of whether you’re converting audio or video. The process is exactly the same and contains only a few steps. The actual conversion process may take time though – video files especially are very large and even powerful computers need time to work on them. Much depends on the type of file, the size of it, the format you’re converting from and to and the specs of your computer.

Video editing compilation and conversion takes a lot of working memory. If your computer has lots of RAM and a decent processor, the conversion time will be relatively short. If you’re using an older computer, it’s going to take longer. MP4 conversion takes longer than MP3, partly because of file size but also the information contained within it. So be patient!

Here’s how to batch convert media files in VLC.

  1. Open VLC.
  2. Select Media and ‘Open multiple files’.
  3. Click Add and select all of the files you want to convert.
  4. Click the small down arrow next to Play in the bottom right.
  5. Select Convert.
  6. Select the format where it says Profile.
  7. The files will be automatically saved in the location of the original file to be converted.
  8. Select Start to begin the process.

Depending on how many files you’re converting, their type, size, and your computer, this process can take less than a minute or several hours. VLC works quickly but it’s about more than just raw processing power.

Use a batch file to convert media files in VLC, the people behind VLC, have also put together a series of script files that use PowerShell or CMD in Windows or the terminal in Linux to batch convert files in VLC. If you prefer doing things with a cript that automates the tedious process of transcoding multiple videos at once, then this page on how To transcode multiple VLC videos is for you.

As a fan of PowerShell, Microsoft’s automation and configuration management system, I tried this method as well as the menu method above and it worked just fine.

Simply open up PowerShell as an administrator and paste the following into it:

$outputExtension = ".mkv"

$bitrate = 8000

$channels = 4

foreach($inputFile in get-childitem -recurse -Filter *.MP4)


$outputFileName = [System.IO.Path]::GetFileNameWithoutExtension($inputFile.FullName) + $outputExtension;

$outputFileName = [System.IO.Path]::Combine($inputFile.DirectoryName, $outputFileName);

$programFiles = ${env:ProgramFiles(x86)};

if($programFiles -eq $null) { $programFiles = $env:ProgramFiles; }

$processName = $programFiles + "VideoLANVLCvlc.exe"

$processArgs = "-I dummy -vvv `"$($inputFile.FullName)`" --sout=#transcode{acodec=`"mp3`",ab=`"$bitrate`",`"channels=$channels`"}:standard{access=`"file`",mux=`"wav`",dst=`"$outputFileName`"} vlc://quit"

start-process $processName $processArgs -wait


You can set the script to work with multiple files types, audio or video. You will need to modify the outputExtension to match the file you’re converting from and the end of the ‘foreach’ line to match your desired output format.

There is a lot more to VLC than just a media player, so much so that I cannot believe it is a free and open source application, free to download, free to use, with no strings attached. While it remains at no-cost (and open source programs tend to remain free) it will always be my go-to media player and the app I use to batch convert media files.

If you have any opinions on VLC, please leave a comment below!

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