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How to Quickly Cut a Clip From a Video File with Avidemux

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Whether you’re cutting out the boring parts of your vacation video or getting a hilarious scene for an animated GIF, Avidemux provides a quick and easy way to cut clips from any video file.

It’s overkill to use a full-featured video editing program if you just want to cut a few clips from a video file. Even programs that are designed to be small can have confusing interfaces when dealing with video. We’ve found that a great free program, Avidemux, makes the job of cutting clips extremely simple.

Note: While the screenshots in this guide are taken from the Windows version, Avidemux runs on all of the major platforms – Windows, Mac OS X and Linux (GTK).

Image by Keith Williamson.

Cutting Clips from a Video File

Open up Avidemux, and load the video file that you want to work with. If you get a prompt like this one:

sshot-1

we recommend clicking Yes to use the safer mode.

Find the portion of the video that you’d like to isolate. Get as close as you can to the start of the clip you want to cut.

sshot-2

Once you find the start of your clip, look at the “Frame Type” of the current frame.

sshot-3You want it to read I; if it isn’t frame type I, then use the single left and right arrow buttons to go forward or backward one frame until you find an appropriate I frame.

Once you’ve found the right starting frame, click the button with the A over a red bar. This will set the start of the clip.

sshot-4

Advance to where you want your clip to end. Click on the button with a B when you’ve found the appropriate frame. This frame can be of any type.

sshot-5

You can now save the clip, either by going to File –> Save –> Save Video… or by pressing Ctrl+S. Give the file a name, and Avidemux will prepare your clip.

sshot-7

And that’s it! You should now have a movie file that contains only the portion of the original file that you want.

Download Avidemux free for all platforms

Trevor is our resident Linux geek, but always keeps his eyes open for neat Windows tricks too.

  • Published 01/31/11

Comments (24)

  1. Alek Davis

    Does this method keep original encoding (i.e. quality), or does it decode and then re-encode the clip? Do you need to configure the Format section?

  2. Trevor Bekolay

    @Alek Davis

    If you follow the steps as outlined in this guide, it will keep the original audio and video encoding.

    You can, if you prefer, have it re-encode it as a different format by selecting it in the left-column of the interface; there is a dropdown box for the video and audio format, as well the container (e.g. AVI, MKV, OGG, etc.).

  3. Hatryst

    And how long will it take (just to cut out a part, without converting)?

  4. Alek Davis

    Sweet, thanks.

  5. Trevor Bekolay

    @Hatryst

    Not very long, if you’re not transcoding; the example clip I used was just SD footage from video camera, and on my very underpowered laptop, it took seconds to create the clip.

  6. Michael Fusion

    So I can use this to transcode as well? Cause that would be swell.

  7. Njitram

    I’ve tried Avidemux in the past. For avi’s i just prefer virtualdub. If i try to cut h264 clips with avidemux, there are always sync issues or errors. Do you have any others tools specifically for cutting h.264 without reencoding?

  8. Bucky

    I use avidemux for H264 cutting. I don’t get sync issues or errors.

  9. Trevor Bekolay

    The example I used above was H264; it worked well for me, but there are a lot of variables, and I can see it not working for every single case. I find Virtualdub’s interface a little more difficult to use, and it’s Windows only, so for those reasons I prefer Avidemux, but both work equally well, I would think.

    Unfortunately, I’m not aware of H264 specific programs.

  10. Phuktifino

    Will try this but always find KMPlayer cuts clips seamlessly from video or audio & without fuss.

  11. Ja5087

    What about AVCHD?

  12. Paul DeLeeuw

    This is great. But after using it, you wind up with a bunch of clips that need to be sewn together. How do you do that? I’m thinking of editing my kids videos.

  13. Ron

    Works wonderfully. Thanks for another great software discovery

  14. Richard

    @Paul DeLeeuw I use QuickTime to stitch together images when I’m doing time lapses, so as long as they are named in a sequential order of your requirements it should suit you. Or another alternative is Windows Movie Maker?

  15. Jack

    “Unfortunately, I’m not aware of H264 specific programs.”

    I can inform you that I have been using VideiReDo TVSuite to edit H.264 for many months and it knocks spots off anything else out there it will edit anything!

  16. blazer2704

    Can anyone help me to try using this program, to split a 30minute clip I have and make it into two parts so I can upload it on Youtube thank you?

  17. clayton west

    i am looking for an editor that can edit FLV file which are from youtube..many thanks

  18. Zizou

    I use Real Clipper – easy to use and nifty

  19. vanessa

    This is great!
    Think you could give us a hand on making gifs as well?
    Thanks!

  20. Trevor Bekolay

    @vanessa

    I have a great fondness for animated gifs. Look for an article on this next week!

  21. Rob

    I use mpegstream clip for most of my clipping needs. It does FLV as well.

  22. Sonia

    I have just downloaded avidemux and i managed to cut and join two video clips but the problem is that the new edited clip gets saved in an unrecognized format so I can not play it. How do I save the new clip so that I can play it in windows media player or real player . ( I have windows xp and my original videos are in mp2 format)

  23. WotPole

    Doesn’t work.
    Saves a corrupt non video file that won’t play in anything.
    Great.

  24. Andre

    Wow! Just…WoW!

    This is exactly what I was looking for, is very easy to cut clips from movies following your instructions.
    Best of all, Avidemux does all the work if something needs adjustment.

    I was cutting a clip from portion of a movie with MP3 VBR soundtrack and the program warned me that it need to create a VBR time map. Then it warned me the index was not updated and created one.
    Everything automatic, I’m not a professional video editor, so I don’t have too much knowledge about movie editing.

    For those telling the cutted video don’t work, the final save is without a file extention, so you need to add manually when saving or after the file is created.
    Thank very much for your article, very illustrative.

    And excuse any errors, english is not my primary language.

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