MacMost Now 139: Converting Video to MP3 Audio

Gary Rosenzweig looks at two ways to convert video files to mp3 audio files so you can listen to them on audio-only devices. The first method uses QuickTime Pro and iTunes. The second method uses FFMpegX.

Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 139: Converting Video to MP3 Audio.

Hi this is Gary with Mac-Most now. Today I'm going to show you how to create an MP3 audio file from a video. The other week when I was at blog week expo, I got asked this question a couple of times "How Can I Create An Audio Podcast from my Video Podcast so I can have a separate feed for people that only want audio?" This can be very useful for someone that, say, has a older Ipod without video or uses an Ipod shuffle. You would want just an Mp3 audio file in this case and not a video file. It also could be useful if you listen to a lot of podcasts, and want to listen to some video podcasts without having the video component attached because you may have one of those Ipods, or some other device, or you may just be listening in the car. And converting from video to audio is simply a matter of stripping out the video track. But you need a piece of software to do that, and there's two different options I'm going to go over. So the first option I want to look at is using Quicktime Pro and Itunes. Now Quicktime Pro costs $30.00 from Apple, but that's a piece of software that I don't think anyone who does even a little bit of audio or video editing should be with out. So, if you are going to convert a podcast that's not yours into audio, you would simply look for that file for that podcast. So for instance, you select the individual episode and you can control click on it and say "show in finder". And this will bring up the actual mp4, or m4v file, for that episode. And then what you want to do, is you want to go ahead and open this in Quicktime Pro. Now, you can do this by simply dragging and dropping which I'm going to do right now. And it will open up a Quicktime Pro Window right here with the video in it. And at this point I can actually go to "export", and I have a bunch of different options to export. One of those options is going to be "Sound To", and you get 3 options. So you can choose "Sound to AIFF". Unfortunately you cannot convert a video or anything to mp3 in Quicktime Pro. SO you have to choose another file format. Once you export as an AIFF, it'll export it in a format that can be read by another program such as iTunes. So now we've exported that. OK, so I saved the AIFF file to my desktop, but I'm going to move it here so you can see it, and now I'm going to go ahead and drag it here into iTunes here, into my music library. And will place that with my other music here at the top since I haven't sort by "date added". And the I can "control click" or "right click" on it, and select create mp3 version. And this will duplicate the file basically, but it's an mp3. Since I've added it to the music library and I have iTunes set to my music management, it has taken it out of this podcast directory here, and put it in the regular music directory under "unknown artist" and "unknown album". And there's the "AIFF" version and there's the new mp3 version. And I can delete one, I can actually do it through the itunes interface, you can see there both here. Delete it, Remove it from the library, and move it to the trash just leaving the mp3 version which will now sync with any device that iTunes syncs to, even if it doesn't support video.
Now that's a great way to convert one file at a time, here and there, if you need it for listening. But if you want to do this on a regular basis, or you are a podcast producer, and you want to do this for every episode you probably want a more streamline solution. Enter FFMPEGX which is a great utility which I use for video but it can also be used to convert video to audio. Let's take a look. So, here I've got my mp4 files, video files, and I downloaded ffmpegx and installed it. Here's what the interface looks like. It's a drag and drop interface, so what I want to do is I want to drag into the source format, the video right here. And it knows that it's an mp4 video. And I want to do a target format. Now I have a whole bunch of different options you can't see, but at the bottom there's movie audio to mp3. I select that, it says "to mp3". Now, I can customize it if I want or I can leave the defaults. I can customize by clicking on audio and selecting a whole bunch of different options right here. I'll stick with summary and I'll click on encode, and it will go ahead and launch another program here that actually does the conversion. And once this is done, won't take long just to convert video into audio, I'll end up with the mp3 file in the same directory as my original mp4 file. You can see it creating it, right here, right now. There we go, and here we have the mp3 file. So you can see that's a much more streamlined process. And there. I open it up in Quicktime. I have my audio. So that's a lot easier to do, and you can actually batch process these, you can drag and drop a whole bunch on and you can keep hitting encode and it will actually encode multiple ones at the same time. So there are two versions of converting video into mp3 audio files. If you like this tutorial and you like this podcast, please tell your friends to subscribe at One thing, I've changed my twitter address. It used to be all spelled out. That's a lot to type in. So, I got the shorter twitter address, So my apologies if you tried to subscribe to me in the last couple of days, and got nothing when you went to the old address. Until next time this is Gary Rosenzweig at Mac Most now. Thanks.

Update: MacMost viewer Nick pointed out that you can also use GarageBand 3 to do this. Just drag and drop the video into GarageBand, delete the video track, and export as a .mp3 file.

Comments: 6 Responses to “MacMost Now 139: Converting Video to MP3 Audio”

    10 years ago

    This did not work for me. I am not given the option to change Sound to AIFF in QuickTime Pro.
    Any suggestions?

    10 years ago

    HJJ: Are you sure you have “pro” — are you looking in the Export dialog? What version of QT Pro and what version of Max OS X are you using?

    10 years ago

    Thanks for the great help. I tried the ffmpegx but it didn’t work. I will never know why. I paid for QuickTime Pro and your directions were just right. This will definitely make my life better. I am listening to music from YouTube videos on an old CD player. Sounds funky, but it’s what I wanted and you made it possible.

    I am a teacher, and I respect the detailed explanations, including the text transcription of the video.

    I will check out the other features on your Website.

    10 years ago

    Thanks a lot for the tip. It worked like a charm. Many thanks

    9 years ago

    Hi you can convert video for iPod using Macvide iPod Converter.It’s prog can convert avi to mp3 etc.Try.

      kabiru muhammad
      7 years ago

      i want to you to show me paractically how to convert video to mp3 audio

Comments Closed.