Videogrep can make supercuts from videos by referencing the content and timestamps subtitle file. If you're using videos downloaded from YouTube, you're either getting auto-generated or creator-supplied subtitles. It's not immediately clear how to get this done, because it's a sort of old program, not updated frequently, and the error messages don't tell you exactly what's going wrong .

Here are some things I learned today that can help get the job done:

Downloading from YouTube, with subs:

(definitely check out the docs for all options)

Option 1: Download video and subtitles with youtube-dl

youtube-dl [link to video] --write-sub

  • Example

    youtube-dl\\?v\\=zM5WVh1ll4Y --write-sub

This command downloads two files, with the same name but different extensions:

  • a video file (.mkv or .mp4, both work for videogrep)
  • a subtitle file (in my experience it has downloaded .en.vtt files)

Sometimes you won't be able to get the subtitles, and the --write-auto-sub flag which is supposed to grab the auto-generated subtitles/closed-captioning does not work reliably. But thankfully there are other tools that do that better.

Option 2: Download video with youtube-dl, subtitles with downsub only gets the subtitles or auto-generated subtitles from a video, not the video itself. It worked first time I tried it, and worked fast. No reason I can see not to use it if youtube-dl can't manage to get the subtitles. Just remember you have to

  • re-name your file to match your video file, and
  • make sure they're in the same directory before you can videogrep

Optional: Downscale the video

You may not need the most high quality version of the video, check this link to see ways to select video quality

  1. To select the video quality, first use the F option to list the available formats, here’s an example: youtube-dl -F '<>'
  2. Then just plug in the desired format-code supplied in the list from the previous command youtube-dl -f 22 '' --write-sub

Supercutting with Videogrep

Now you have what you need to make videogrep work. If you go into the docs, the basic command for using videogrep is:

videogrep -i [input file] -s "[search term]" -o [output file]

  • Example

    videogrep -i smallant-lynel.mkv -s 'bounce' -o lynel-supercut.mkv

Two things you should know:

  1. You'll notice there's no argument for the subtitle file; that's because videogrep looks for a file with the same exact name in the same folder as your video;
  2. The output flag -o is optional; if omitted, it will just output a supercut.mp4

One gotcha that I missed was that if you're using a .vtt file, as you probably will be from youtube, you have to pass in the flag -vtt at the end.

Here's an example of a command I used that worked:

videogrep -i smallant-lynel.mkv --search 'bounce' -vtt


The results.. well the results are pretty good. Totally worth an afternoon smoothing out some of the kinks.