Free Software for Everyone: Avidemux

So it’s been quite a while since I did a “free software” post, mainly because I had already blown through all the free software that I use that might be of general interest. (Unless someone wants to hear about the wonderful PekWM window manager for Linux. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?) However, recently I’ve been spending time with Avidemux, a simple yet powerful application that allows you to do some basic video manipulation. You’re not going to be creating green-screen Stephen Colbert lightsaber duel videos with it, but you might find it useful for other things. Like what, you say? Let’s take a look:

  • Rotating video, so that you can fix it when you accidentally shoot your movie sideways
  • Altering a video’s contrast, color balance, size, etc.
  • Altering a video’s soundtrack, or removing the sound entirely
  • Cutting out portions of videos, or pasting videos together
  • Saving frames out of videos as images
  • Converting a video from one format to another

These are only the features that I’ve used; there are many, many others that I haven’t even touched yet. Many of Avidemux’s operations are found in “filters” that are applied after the video is copied, so if you play with Avidemux, be sure to look in the filters to get an idea what you can do with it.

I mainly use Avidemux to crop videos for Dennis’s Diary of Destruction so that they are limited to just the interesting (or at least, the less boring) parts. I have also been using it to extract frames from videos, because it is often the case that a freeze-frame of a dog in motion is just hilarious. The best examples can be found here (an old one) as well as here and here (more recent).

I would encourage anyone with simple video-editing needs to check out Avidemux. It’s fast, it’s functional, and best of all, it’s free. Avidemux is available for Linux, OS X, the BSDs, and Windows.

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5 Comments

  1. I had to get a new computer and lost most of my software when I did. Being a natural-born luddite (and also poor!), I’ve been slow to reload and am exploring what one can do without, instead (e.g. – plain old Microsoft paint is a great program!) I actually appreciate having limitations sometimes — it’s like resorting to haiku or sonnets when writing gets too big and scary.

    I would love to explore video someday, though, and I’m not sure whether to thank you or not for dangling a FREE APP like this right in front of me!!

    Jim says: MS Paint is okay, but if you don’t mind having another free app dangled in front of you, you might want to check out The GIMP. 😉

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  2. Unfortunately this would probably be way too advanced for me. I haven’t even sat down long enough to learn how to upload a video (and I have several). I said that before I learned some HTML too and when I finally took the time (and courage) to learn it, it was so simple.
    Lest think I am a complete dummy, I used accounting, etc. software when I worked and Access, Excel, etc. But the most complicated thing I used was an old program in DOS called MIP. Ever heard of it? Probably not. It was beyond ancient and this was 2003-4. 🙂

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    • Hi there! It’s been a while since I played with avidemux so I did a bit of Googling (as you probably did) and came up empty. However I would guess you could do something like unpack the frame you want to hold on, duplicate it a number of times, then reinsert it into the video, or possibly change the frame rate just at that point to something really slow (1 per 10 seconds). Hope this helps!

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