Splitting, trimming and joining video files can be done losslessly and very fast if you use good tools. Why not simply use Windows Movie Maker? I hear you ask. Well, one of my friends just tried using Windows Movie Maker to remove ads from one of his TV recordings: after setting up the editing operations, it took another 30 minutes to process the file... and even then the result was not so great. So, I showed him how to do the job losslessly in less than a minute using a good standalone trimmer.
Good quality free splitters, trimmers and joiners can usually perform their tasks more efficiently than an all purpose video editor and without the need to re-encode your source videos. They're generally quicker and easier to use for any of these basic video editing tasks:
- Splitting—to chop a video into smaller pieces so as to extract or copy specific scenes or to upload to the Internet (to YouTube, for example). Each of the split files can be played back.
- Trimming—to cut out unwanted sections, such as ads in a TV recording.
- Joining—to merge video files together. This only works when the video files have a similar format (same resolution, bitrate, etc). If you have ever downloaded a long video in smaller parts (such as video01.wmv, video02.wmv, video03.wmv), a joiner will put the pieces back together again in no time.
Some of the splitters, trimmers and joiners reviewed here are much lighter than all purpose video editors and have the advantage of carrying the same codecs you have in your source video files. Although a full video editor has the advantage of convenience, in some cases it may take more time and produce poor quality output as a result of lossy re-encoding or inappropriate settings.
When recommending the free software in this category, we take into consideration the following basic requirements:
- Ease of use: convenient and precise selections, cutting out or trimming choices, keyboard shortcuts.
- Performance: fast and accurate results without re-encoding videos unnecessarily.
- Input formats: the more the better. Some freeware only accept one or two formats when others accept many more.
- Features: some tools specialize in one job, others may allow you to split, join or trim videos within a single program.
The best tool to split and join MP4 files
Platforms/Download: Linux | Mac OS | Windows (Desktop) |
Version reviewed: n/a
|Our Rating: 4/5
The best tool to split, trim or join WMV / ASF files
Platforms/Download: Windows (Desktop) |
Version reviewed: n/a
|Our Rating: 4/5
Other Video Splitters, Trimmers or Joiners
- AoA Video Joiner is a useful tool to join multiple video clips of: avi, mpeg, mov, wmv, Flash Video (flv), mp4 and 3gp together into one large movie. The frame size is predetermined by the software. Re-encoding is often required.
- Free Video Joiner easily joins various video files and outputs to: avi, wmv, mov, mp4 and other file formats based on your selected multimedia device. Re-encoding is needed with frame size following the first video file you add.
- Freemake Video Converter is quality software to convert multimedia files from one format to another with codecs of your choice suitable for your computer, mobile devices or uploading to the Internet. Trimming and joining functions are included while re-encoding is applied.
- Format Factory, good software for converting multimedia files from one format to another. It has options for cutting or joining videos but the process is slow as a result of re-encoding.
To be reviewed:
- SPG Video Splitter, split: mp4, 3gp, wmv, mov, avi / divx, mpeg, flv, mkv, vob / mpeg2 files with same quality, preset or custom settings.
- MPEG Streamclip, cutting mpeg files and transport streams at keyframe level. Supported output formats: mp4, mov, avi, divx and dv. Required QuickTime or QuickTime Alternative.
- Free Video Cutter
- SolveigMM AVI Trimmer + MKV, trim avi and mkv files, easy to use, no encoding/decoding processes, no video/audio degradation and out of sync problem.
- VobMerge, for joining vob files.
Video Cutter and Joiner
- Machete Video Editor Lite, combines the functionality of both video splitter (cutter, trimmer), video joiner (for joining multimedia files with exactly the same formats), without the need to re-encode video or audio streams. Only supports avi and wmv files in the current Lite version.
- VirtualDub, remove segments of a video clip and save the rest, without recompressing. Video not scaled to windows on playback.
- Media Cope, incorporated SPG video splitter, joiner and other modules.
- YAMB, MP4Box UI, joining and splitting, includes other tools such as mux and extract streams. No video preview.
Tested and not recommended:
- Easy Video Splitter splits large avi, divx, mpeg or wmv / asf file into video clips as claimed. Outputing a small file in error when tested.
- Easy Video Joiner joins avi, mpg, rm, wmv / asf and other popular audio files into one file. Experienced errors in joining avi files on testing.
Related Products and Links
You might want to check out these articles too:
- Best Free Software to Cut, Split or Merge Audio Files
- Best Free Video Editor
- Best Free Video Encoder
- Best Free Audio/Video Format Conversion Program
- Best Free Media Player
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