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.