and all the pieces matter

Gif using gifboard

This is a quick intro to installing a tool for making supercut movies. Written in haste, consider it a rough draft.

Videogrep is a python program run from the command line. This is quite different from using applications with a GUI. I am hoping to write up a few different tools I use for playing DS106 and will try and come back and expand on this.

More about Videogrep: Automatic Supercuts with Python – Sam Lavigne.

Code: antiboredom/videogrep · GitHub.


  • I am no expert in using the command line. I’ve failed on quite a few attempts at installing.
  • As with a lot of software you can make mistakes, bad things can happen. You will be giving the software author control over your computer.
  • I am using Mac OS X
  • There is not a lot of detail here, I’ll come back and improve if it seems useful.
  • It is probably sensible to read all of the linked pages here rather than just go on trust.


Videogrep depends on a few python modules and programs. These are installed with pip (A tool for installing and managing Python packages) which you may need to install.

You also need to install FFMPEG (FFmpeg is a free software project that produces libraries and programs for handling multimedia data. ). One way to install FFmpg is with homebrew, which you need to install first!

Homebrew and ffmpeg

Homebrew, is a package manager it is installed and used via the commandline so you will need to open the terminal app.

You run stuff in the terminal by typing (or pasting) after the prompt my prompt is johnj:~ john$ if I am in my home directory which is called johnj

On the Homebrew site you can copy a line of text which if pasted into the terminal will install homebrew when you press return. I’d go to the site and copy from there rather than from here.

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

The script explains what it will do and then pauses before it does it.

Once the script has finished it will recommend running:

brew doctor

To check all is ok, so type that and hit return, wait a while and the prompt returns. you can now install FFmpeg. The videogrep notes suggest you do with this:

brew install ffmpeg --with-libvpx --with-libvorbis

So try that, type it in at the prompt in the terminal, lots of text should stream by, by the time it stops FFmpeg should be installed. You can check by typing

ffmpeg -h

Which will display the help.


Next you want to install pip, which lets you install other stuff. Again at the prompt type:

easy_install pip

Some text will go by and the prompt should come back.



Down load the zip file from antiboredom/videogrep · GitHub unzip and put it somewhere handy, your desktop folder for example.

The folder is called ‘videogrep-master’ I’ve just left it as that.

Inside the folder is a txt file requirements.txt this lists the python modules that you need to install, you don’t need to open it. Back in the terminal, cd into the videogrep folder:

cd path/to/folder

to do that type cd at the prompt and drag the folder into the terminal window, I see:

johnj john$ cd /Users/john/Desktop/videogrep-master

hit return and type:

pip install -r requirements.txt

and return again a ton of text will scroll past as past.

At the end, unless you have errors you are ready to go.

First cut

You need a video file and an srt file to match, there names must be the same except for the extension, eg:

  • The Wire Season 1 Episode 06 – The Wire.avi
  • The Wire Season 1 Episode 06 – The

If you followed the above steps your prompt should show you are in the videogrep-master folder:

johnj:videogrep-master john$


python --input path/to/srt file  --search pieces --output pieces.mp4

more text scrolls past the terminal. A video pieces.mp4 appears in the folder, it is the supercut video.


Problems along the way

I had a couple, first in installing the requirments.txt I kept getting errors about pattern. To solve this I went to pattern, downloaded pattern and installed it. I then removed that line from requirments.txt and saved it before running pip install -r requirements.txt again.

The second problem I had was the movies created had no sound. I didn’t fix that, I just used miro video converter to convert the files to apple or iphone ones which did the trick. I am guessing this could have been fixed with ffmpeg too as miro video converter is, as far as I know, a gui for ffmpeg.

1 thought on “and all the pieces matter”

Leave a Reply