How to extract audio from video files (and crop it)

If you are using Windows, and you want a quick, no-installation required method to extract audio from a video (and you don’t worry about the sound quality very much), then this tutorial will help you.

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Tina wrote a song and she played it for me the other day. It sounded great! But she doesn’t believe in writing down music scores, so I recorded her singing on a video camera.

And then I thought: wouldn’t it be great if I can extract the audio from this video clip, and play it on my iPod?

But the internet is surprisingly frustrating for this. The top searches all asked me to download new programs that look less than legit, and certainly I wasn’t going to get a pro software to do this simple task. Thankfully, after a few minutes of fumbling around, I figured out a way to do it with Windows Movie Maker (comes with most Windows installation).

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1. Start Windows Movie Maker. If you can’t find it easily, try searching for it if you are using Vista, or try holding the “Windows” key on your keyboard and press “R” at the same time, and run “moviemk”

2. Click on Import > Videos. Choose the video file from which you want to extract audio.

3. Drag the video onto the Audio/Music tract. Important: don’t drag it to the Video tract. We want to extract the audio, remember?

4. (Optional) If there are bits of the audio clip that you want to cut out (e.g. nervous mistakes in the beginning or audience applause at the end), point the green cursor to where you want to make the cut, and click on “Split”

5. (Optional) Delete the bit you don’t want.

6. Finally, save the audio file by File > Publish Movie. And follow the default selection.

And you should have the audio file! It will be in WMA, so iTunes will do a quick conversion automatically when you import the file onto an iPod.

Now it’s up to you if you want to do what I did, and that’s listening to the new song 100 times.

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