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AVIDemux - Open Source Utility for Trimming Video Files

AVI-Demux Video EditorWhere, O where, can I find a simple utility for trimming an MP4? 

Most video editors make the editing process into a "project" and for good reason.  Video editing wants to combine video, audio, images, subtitles and more into a package which is then rendered into a specific video format (codec). 

All I wanted was a simple trimmer (as in trimming the hedges, not uprooting them).  I found AVI-Demux and couldn't be more delighted. 

How to install avidemux and how to use it to trim an MP4 - no muss, no fuss.  Great utility for all videographers. 

Provided by SourceForge, an open source community, avidemux has many capabilities.  This writer's only goal was to find a utility that could "trim" an MP4 to extract a section and save that as a separate file.  While you would think that trimming any fiile would be a simple task, it is not.  Avidemux makes the videographer's life simpler so here is the scoop.

Watch Video:  Installing AVI-Demux and using it to Trim an MP4

What is AVI-Demux?

According to their website, http://avidemux.sourceforge.net, AVI-Demux is a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks.  It supports many file types including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of Codecs.  Tasks can be automated using projects, job queue and powerful scripting capabilities.

AVIDemux - Open Source Utility for Trimming Video Files

The official name of the utility is just "avidemux" but try pronouncing that.  For the longest time I called it "uh-VID-uh-mux" with an accent on the second syllable.  Saying it that way is smooth but it still sounded like a foreign language.

Not until I found a forum entry that asked the same question "How do you pronounce it?" did I learn the answer but more importantly obtained insight into the name formation.  In the video world, AVI stands for Audio Video Interleave while "demux" stands for "demultiplex" which is separated streams or signal.  Now it made more sense.  The utility name has two roots - AVI and Demux.  I like calling it A-V-I-Demux.

AVIDemux - Open Source Utility for Trimming Video Files

Why Not use a Regular Video Editor?

I have at least a half-dozen video editors on hand but they all use the same approach which is to save the file under construction in their proprietary project format which then needs to be "produced" in the video format of interest.   There is good reason for the project file approach as most videos are the result of combining multiple video streams cut into many pieces, image files, audio files, subtitles and more with opportunity to enhance the video and the images. 

Still, simple is nice.   In other words, I didn't want to use a video editor that required me to make a "big project" out of simple trimming. Just as I can open an audio file using WavePad Sound Editor, use it to trim the file and then save as a separate WAV file, I wanted to do the same with an MP4.


Installation of the stand-alone utility AVI-Demux should be simple but with my virus software, VIPRE, the process was more complicated.  What seemed like the correct download path contained warnings that the location was not safe.  Odd for a free open source software product.  So I kept looking around and discovered that AVI-Demux also comes in a 64bit format.  The associated download site, Berlios, contained no VIPRE warnings.

Using AVI-Demux to Trim an MP4

Getting the utility to cooperate was a bit tricky at first.  What seemed like obvious steps in the drop-down menus was not working.  Eventually I figured it out and what worked for me is ultra-simple.

Step 1.  Open the MP4
Step 2.  Set the configuration files
Step 3.  Play the file until you reach the beginning of the intended cut
Step 4.  Stop the playback using the space bar
Step 5.  Use the left square bracket to indicate the start of the cut
Step 6.  Press the space bar to resume playback
Step 7.  Press the space bar to stop playback at the end of the cut
Step 8.  Use the right square bracket to locate the end of the cut
Step 9.  Click on Save

AVI-Demux automatically saves only the portion of the file within the square brackets.  Note that additional toolbar options exist for moving the location within the file short distances so that some level of fine tuning can occur.

Watch Video:  Installing AVI-Demux and using it to Trim an MP4

Posted: Oct 04, 2013     Nancy J Conrad

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