Tips for Following Video Tutorials

As a new Blender user I am benefiting enormously from all of the excellent video tutorials that artists have been gracious enough to create and make available to everyone. I thought I’d post some tips regarding what I do to tailor the playback speed and easily pause\restart playback to make the tutorials easier to follow. I use Windows but I would guess that these suggestions can be adapted to any OS.

  1. I use a browser plugin named “Flash Video Downloader” to download the tutorial videos to my local machine. Although it has “Flash” in the name, I haven’t yet encountered a file type that it won’t download. The plugin is available for most browsers from the following location:

  2. I use the VLC media player to playback the downloaded videos. It will play just about any file format without the need to add any additional codecs. It is available for most operating systems at The really useful feature of VLC is that it has a feature that can adjust the playback speed of the video from really slow to very fast without radically distorting the audio so you can still understand what the person is saying (but it does make them sound very, very laid-back). Just navigate to the playback menu and select either slower(fine) or faster(fine): each time you click the button it further incrementally decreases or increases the playback speed. During playback, simply pressing the space key will pause and restart playback.

  3. I use a small utility named “MouseActivate” from Skrommel at which enables me to set the focus on the window under the mouse without the need to click the mouse button. That way I can easily mouse over the VLC window, press the spacebar to pause the video, and then move the mouse back over Blender to use the application . . . all with out needing to click the different application windows to change focus. Double-clicking the application’s tray icon will enable\disable it.

These tips enable me to effortlessly follow along with any video tutorial by tailoring it to my current experience level. Hope it helps you too.


After reading Kriosym’s great tip I looked at the VLC options and saw that you can actually set a global hotkey that will enable you to pause the tutorial without moving focus from the Blender application window.

  1. Navigate to Tools, Preferences, HotKeys
  2. Under the Global column, double-click the value in the Play/Pause row
  3. Press the key or key combination you want (I used the spacebar)
  4. Click Apply
  5. Click Save

You will have to quit and restart VLC for the new assignments to be effective.

To unset/clear a global hotkey: Proceed as if you wanted to set a new key, but press the pause/break key.

This eliminates the need for the MouseActivate application noted above.

I use the following Autoit script.

Opt("WinTitleMatchMode", 4)
Local $title = WinGetTitle("[CLASS:Chrome_WidgetWin_1]", "")
ControlSend($title, "", "[CLASS:Chrome_RenderWidgetHostHWND; INSTANCE:1]", "{SPACE}")

Autoit can compile the above textfile into executable, then I simply set my Logitech Mouse software to remap my mouse button-4 (thumb button) to execute it.

What this does, is for instance, if I have Blender open on monitor one, and Google Chrome on monitor 2, whichever Video is playing back on Chrome will either pause or play. You can have multiple tabs up, and the script will simply be pausing / playing whichever tab you happen to have open at the time. You don’t even have to move your mouse away from working with Blender to do this (no having to mouseover to second monitor). :yes:

Thanks for sharing these information, really useful. :slight_smile:

thanks for sharing the video downloading websites. :rolleyes:

Interesting with the slow time idea. I’ve recently done the first two steps as well, but then also in VLC you can use hotkeys to jump ten seconds back and forth. I’ve hotkeyed it to my left and right arrows. I wish it could be even less time, but as far as I know 10 is the minimum.

Fortunately, VLC has the following options for jumping back and forth:

SHFT + Arrow Left or Arrow Right - 3 Seconds
ALT + Arrow Left or Arrow Right - 10 Seconds
CTRL + Arrow Left or Arrow Right - 1 Minute