For reporting, I often need to fill in my notes with a recording I made of an interview. This means I need global hotkeys so I can start/stop the player while I’m in my word processor or note-taking program (tomboy or zotero).
VLC has native support for global hotkeys, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t get them to work to map
- Make sure netcat is installed. We’ll use this to send controls to the remote control interface of VLC.
$ sudo apt-get install netcat
- Open up the CompizConfig:
- Click the checkbox next to Commands and then click on Commands
- In the Commands tab, type echo “pause” | nc localhost 7777 -q 1 in the Command line 0 field (or the first available field if you have other commands). This command tells the play to toggle pausing the playback.
- In the Commands tab, type echo “rewind” | nc localhost 7777 -q 1 in the Command line 1 field (or the first available field if you have other commands). This causes the player to rewind playback a few seconds.
- In the Key Bindings tab, click the Disabled button in the row labeled Run command 0 (or whatever command you specified in the previous steps) and set the hotkey to whatever you want (I use
+ + ).
- Repeat the previous step for the rewind command (I used
+ + because + + was a hotkey used by another program).
- Close CompizConfig.
Then, if I run VLC with both the normal and remote control control interfaces, setting up the remote control interface on port 7777 on my local machine, my global hotkey will work:
$ vlc --extraintf rc --rc-host localhost:7777
You might want to create an alias for running vlc with these options by editing ~/.bash_aliases or ~/.bashrc:
... alias vlctranscribe='vlc --extraintf rc --rc-host localhost:7777' ...
I’m not quite sure how all the remote control commands work. For instance, I thought the rewind command would play backwards at the maximum rate, but instead it jumps playback back a few seconds. I thought the fastforward command would do the opposite of rewind, but instead it slows down playback incrementally. So, for now, I just have play/pause and jump backwards hotkeys, but that’s enough to make transcribing interview recordings much, much easier.