How do I record audio from a video?

Extracting the audio from a video can be useful for many reasons. You may want to have just the audio track to use separately from the video. Common use cases include:

– Saving and listening to a music track or podcast from a video file (1).

– Isolating vocals or dialog to use in a separate project (2).

– Creating an MP3 from the audio in a video to listen on the go.

– Converting the audio to another format like WAV.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to successfully extract audio from a video file. We’ll look at the prerequisites, selecting the audio track, exporting, optional editing, and using the extracted audio.


Before extracting audio from a video, you’ll need to have the right software and hardware. For software, you’ll need a video player or editor that allows you to isolate the audio track. Popular options include VLC media player, iMovie, and Adobe Premiere Pro. For hardware, you’ll need a computer powerful enough to run the video editing software smoothly. The minimum requirements vary by program, but generally include:

  • A multi-core processor like an Intel Core i5 CPU
  • At least 8GB of RAM (16GB recommended)
  • A dedicated graphics card
  • High-speed storage like an SSD

You’ll also need cables to connect your audio interface, speakers, headphones, and any other gear. Make sure you have the right connections for your setup, such as XLR, 1/4″, RCA, or USB. With the proper software downloaded and hardware connected, you’ll be ready to start extracting audio from video.

Locate Video File

Videos files can be stored locally on your computer or accessed online from video hosting sites. Here are some of the most common places to find video files:

On your computer:

  • File Explorer – Videos are often saved in the Videos or Movies folder. You can also search File Explorer for video file types like .mp4, .mov, etc.
  • Media players – If you’ve watched the video before on your computer, it may be in your history in apps like VLC media player or Windows Media Player.
  • Torrent clients – If you’ve downloaded videos via BitTorrent, check apps like uTorrent or qBittorrent.
  • Desktop and downloads folder – Videos are sometimes saved directly to the desktop or downloads folder for quick access.

Online sources:

  • Video hosting sites – YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, etc. You can search the sites or access your video history.
  • Social media – Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other social platforms host billions of videos.
  • Torrent sites – The Pirate Bay, RARBG, 1337x and other torrent sites index video files.
  • Personal cloud storage – Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc. if you’ve uploaded videos.

If you’re unsure where the original video file is located, try searching your computer using the search bar in File Explorer or the video name. Online videos can also be searched for via Google.

Open Video in Media Software

The first step to extracting audio from a video is to open the video file in a media software program that has audio extraction capabilities. Some common programs that allow audio extraction include:

  • VLC Media Player – a free, open-source, cross-platform multimedia player that can extract audio tracks from videos. (Source)
  • Audacity – a free, open-source digital audio editor and recording application for Windows, macOS, and Linux that allows extracting audio from video files. (Source)
  • Windows Movie Maker – Microsoft’s discontinued but still functional video editing software included free in Windows that can extract audio from videos. (Source)

Other software options include dedicated audio extraction tools like Freemake Audio Converter, Any Audio Converter, or WinX Audio Extractor.

Once you open your video in one of these programs, you will be able to access the audio track and proceed with extracting or saving just the audio portion of the video to use separately.

Select Audio Track

To select the audio track you want to extract from a video file, you first need to locate and identify the different audio tracks contained within the file. Most video files can contain multiple audio tracks, such as different languages. Here are the general steps to select the desired audio track:

Open the video file in a media editing or conversion software that allows access to the audio tracks. Popular free options include VLC media player, Handbrake, or FFmpeg. On Mac, you can also use QuickTime Player.

In the app, look for an “Audio Track” or “Audio Stream” menu. This lets you view and select between the different audio tracks in the file. For example in VLC, go to Tools > Track Synchronization.

Identify the audio track you want to extract. This may require playing back each track to distinguish between language or audio channels.

Select the target audio track by highlighting it in the menu. The app may also have a “Set as default” or similar option to select the active audio.

Now when you preview the video, it will play the chosen audio track. You are now ready to extract just that track in the next step.

Export/Save Audio

Once you have isolated the audio track you want to extract, the next step is to export or save the audio as a separate file. Most video editing or media software will have an “Export” or “Save As” function that allows you to save just the selected audio track as its own file.

When saving the audio, you will need to choose a file format to export it as. Some commonly used audio formats include:

  • MP3 – Small file size, compatible with most devices. Good for sharing online.
  • WAV – Uncompressed, retains best quality. Large file size.
  • M4A/AAC – Good quality, smaller files. Used by iTunes.
  • FLAC – Lossless compression. Retains quality while being smaller than WAV.

For most purposes, MP3 is a good choice. It provides reasonably good audio quality while keeping file sizes manageable. WAV or FLAC are better for archival purposes where maximum quality is needed. M4A/AAC is also a good choice if planning to listen on an iOS device.

When exporting, you may get options for bitrate and sample rate. For MP3, a bitrate of 128 or 192 kbps is recommended. For sample rate, either 44.1 kHz (standard audio CD quality) or 48 kHz works for most applications.

The exported file will contain just the audio track from your original video in the format you chose. You can then work with the audio file on its own, share it online, or do further editing.

Trim Audio (Optional)

Once you have extracted the audio from a video, you may want to trim it to remove unwanted sections. Here are some ways to trim audio files on Windows:

In Audacity, an open-source audio editing software, you can select a section of the audio waveform and then go to Edit > Delete to remove it. You can also use the Time Shift Tool to select parts and trim them out. See this guide for step-by-step instructions.

Alternatively, you can use the EaseUS Audio Editor which allows you to visually drag sliders to select the audio segment you want to keep. Then click “Apply” and the rest will be trimmed out automatically. Refer to this tutorial for more details.

Trimming audio files helps remove unwanted background noise, silence or other sections you don’t need. It’s an optional but useful step for cleaning up extracted audio.

Enhance Audio (Optional)

Once you have extracted the audio, you may want to clean it up and enhance it before using it in your project. Here are some tips for improving the audio quality:

Use an audio editor like Audacity to remove background noise and clicks/pops. Audacity’s Noise Reduction tool can help reduce consistent background noise. You can also use the Click Removal tool to clean up clicks and pops.

Equalize the audio to boost certain frequencies and balance the levels. The Equalization effect in Audacity allows you to boost or attenuate frequencies to get the sound you want.

Compress the audio to even out the volume if there are parts that are too loud or too quiet. Audacity’s Compressor tool lets you compress the dynamic range.

Normalize the audio to adjust the overall volume level. Normalizing in Audacity makes the loudest peak hit a target level you specify.

Use filters to improve the tone. Try low pass and high pass filters to cut unwanted frequencies.

With some audio editing and effects, you can significantly improve the quality of extracted audio and prepare it for use in your projects.

Use Extracted Audio

Once you have extracted the audio track from a video, there are many potential uses for the audio file:

According to research from MIT, extracted audio can be used to recover speech from visual vibrations in videos. Their algorithm can extract intelligible speech from the video of a potato chip bag filmed with a mobile phone.

You can use the extracted audio in any audio project – podcasts, remixes, audio books, etc. The audio can be edited, enhanced, mixed and synthesized however you like after extraction.

Extracted dialogue can be used to create transcripts of the video’s speech. This is useful for increasing accessibility through subtitles or closed captioning.

If you only want the audio portion of a video, extracted audio lets you listen on the go without needing the video visuals. You can save storage space since audio files are smaller than video.

The audio can also be reused in other videos. For example, you could use an inspiring speech as a voiceover in a motivational video.

Overall, extracted audio provides creative flexibility to use and repurpose the audio from a video in any way you choose.


Extracting audio from a video file is a straightforward process that can be accomplished using most video software. The main steps are to locate the video file, open it in a program like VLC media player, select the audio track, and export or save just the audio in the desired format. Trimming and enhancing the audio are optional additional steps. Once extracted, the audio can be used independently in various projects.

For more details on each step, refer back to the guide. There are also many other software tools for extracting audio, like Audacity, Audio Extractor, and Freemake. Check out the references below for additional resources on separating audio from videos while preserving quality.

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