I’m very impressed with Avidemux, a free video editor I found today. My old video recorder used to record clips as one continuous film, and so when I took the file off it I had just that; one file. To get it back down into clips I was using Windows Live Movie Maker, which is also free and, I believe, installed with Windows 7 by default.
The only problem was that WLMM saves files in .wlm format, and I wanted something a bit more versatile like .mp4 or .avi. Avidemux solves this problem in a very competent manner.
It’s available for Linux, BSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows under the GNU GPL license, takes about a minute to install and I found the user interface quite simple – at least for the simple tasks I needed to perform.
It’s very easy to select sections within a longer piece of film, and you can control the frame you’re viewing in a number of ways. This means it’s easy to both scroll quickly to a particular place in the film, and just as quick to select the exact frame you want. When you’ve selected a start and end point for a section within the film, you can cut or copy it easily. I found this very useful for trimming little bits off the beginning and end of the clips, as well as for pulling out individual clips from the one main file. I did this by selecting everything that wasn’t the clip I wanted, deleting it and then saving the remaining footage with a new name. In this manner I could then re-open the main file, trim it down to the next clip, save that and so on, very quickly.
To save my file in a different format was a matter of selecting the video and audio codecs to use from drop-down lists, and the choosing the overall format or container. I selected MPEG-4 ASP for video, MP3 for audio and set the format as AVI. When you save the video an “Encoding…” window pops up. This tells you what codecs and overall container are being used, the video, audio and total file size so far, processed frames out of total frames, bitrate, time elapsed, remaining, and frames per second. You can set a priority from low to high for the encoding, and choose to shut down the computer when it finishes. You can also abort or pause the encoding.
I’ve not even had a chance to look at the more advanced functions yet, apart from using a video filter to rotate one video 90 degrees clockwise as it was saved. I’m very happy with it for my simple needs though, and thought I’d write a blog post about it because I think there may be other people like me who don’t need a program with all the bells and whistles, and don’t want to spend money on something they won’t use all that often, but yet still want a bit more functionality than you get with Windows Live Movie Maker.