If you’re pulling videos off your DVR or even encoding old VHS tapes for archival purposes, you might be needing a way to quickly edit out commercials from your videos using your PC. Or perhaps you’re looking for software to make an avi video file or make an mkv video file? Luckily there are plenty of solutions available ranging from free to paid that can cut commercials losslessly without re-encoding the video.
AVIDemux – Free
A great free video editing program is avidemux. AVIDemux is a frame accurate editor when editing avi files compared to other avi editors that only use k-frames. This means you save files quickly since no reencoding is needed.
Although many people will use it to remove commercials from TV shows, it doesn’t have a commercial skip feature like Videoredo.
AVIDemux is capable of editing mp4, xvid, divx, avi and regular mpeg files (mpeg files are also a forte of the freeware MPEG Streamclip). AVIDemux is available as freeware for Mac, Unix and Windows, so what’s not to love? Many users have found it buggy, with video occasionally popping out of sync with the audio. I’ve noticed that some MP4 files have black screens when saved. Since AVIDemux is really just a mish-mach of free tools brought together, it may or may not work for you depending on your computer setup.
If AVIDemux is not working for you, try Machete. For only $20, it handles a multitude of video formats and can even edit mp3 files without reencoding.
VideoReDoVideoReDo is great for cutting out commercials as it has a “Commercial Detector” feature built-in to the program. I don’t think most people will want to produce complete movies using VideoReDo, but it’s considered one of the easiest ways to edit the following video formats without re-encoding:
ts, mpg, most mp4, mkv, m2ts, h264, FLV (FLV files can contain a couple of video codecs. Most newer ones will use H.264, which is supported by VideoReDo, but older videos using the Flash video codec VP6 will not work.
It does all its editing in a frame-accurate manner with no recoding necessary.
Drawbacks of VideoReDo
- It’s a bit of money – $50-$95 depending on the version.
- There’s no support for regular DTS audio.
- And a dealbreaker for some, it’s fussy with some audio and video encodings, occasionally throwing up a “cannot find PID’s” error.
VirtualDub is a freeware app that can be intimidating for a novice video editor to deal with. If you just want to chop up some AVI video files, you can certainly use it for that purpose. The important thing to note is that VirtualDub, “Video” format defaults to “Full Processing Mode”. You’ll want to change that to “Direct Stream Copy” or else you’ll end up with a huge file.
- Under Audio, select Direct Stream Copy.
- Under Video, select Direct Stream Copy.
Now select the portion of the video you want to save.
- Drag the bar to the start of the desired range.
- Select Start.
- Drag the bar to the end of your desired range.
- Select End.
Save the new clip with File->Save in the AVI format.
Checking Your Video Formats
AVI / MKV / FLV etc. are all containers that don’t necessarily tell you what the actual format is for a particular video file. There are two good programs for getting a peek inside the format container to see what exactly you’re dealing with: