Best Free Software to Split, Trim or Join Video Files

 
Introduction

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.
 
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Go to details...  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

 
Discussion
Best Tools to Split and Join MP4 Files

Avidemux is a free video cutting and joining software. It supports formats such as mp4, mpg, avi, ogm, mkv, flv. It is relatively simple to use as well, making it the best when splitting files in mp4 format. 

Installing the software is very straight forward, so there should be no issues with that. The program has a clear toolbar on top with all the important buttons - Open, Save Video, Load / Run Project and even a Calculator.  After a file has been opened, choose markers 'A' and 'B' to select portions of the video you wish to delete (deletion is done using the 'Del' key, which is very convenient). The best way to do this is to locate the beginning of the section you wish to keep and click the 'B' marker - the previous portion is then marked with blue, allowing you to delete it. And best yet, one can cut to the last second before the desired section, thereby ensuring none of your precious moments are lost. Then, just click Save Project As before you Save Video. 

Here again, Avidemux has several tools to benefit its users. There are preset output formats under the 'Auto' tab - these include Apple Ipod, Iphone, Sony Playstation Portable, DVD and Microsoft Zune. But be wary, the program does have a habit of crashing, so always remember to save your project before you save the video.

Aside from these preset formats, one can also choose the video and audio format for the video from the dropdown menus on the left-hand side.

However, despite all its merits, Avidemux does have its fair share of drawbacks that should be kept in mind. One, most video formats loaded on the program open with an error message such as 'H.264 detected' and the like. But this warning is only to do with the playback within the program - it does not affect the video output.

Another problem is that in copy mode the program requires the edited video to begin on a I-frame (or keyframe). This isn't always possible, and even when one does begin on a I-frame, it may not be the frame the program requires and hence, the video will not be saved. This is a little inconvenient, because you do not always want to have to choose separate formats for both video and audio. 

What Avidemux gets right is that it successfully cuts mp4 and mkv files, which is hard to find. 

It also has the ability to join videos, which is convenient when there are several different sections of one large file that one needs to cut out and then put back together. But keep in mind that to join video files the size and formats of the different sections need to be the same.

Best Tools to Split, Trim or Join WMV / ASF Files

AsfBinWinAsfBinWin, the graphical user interface version of the AsfBin command line utility plus preview capabilities, is a clear winner in this category. This lightweight portable is free for non-commercial use and will cut or join wmv files very well. Better still, it can often fix and re-index wmv files that are corrupt or contain some errors.

The controls are both sensitive and user friendly: there's a primary slider to take you to roughly where you want to cut, and then a second slider allows fine tuning down to a single frame. Indeed, the ability of AsfBinWin to re-encode locally makes precision cutting possible—so you can cut the video exactly where you need to. 

Although the developer's website does not specifically mention trimming, you can actually do this: just select the section(s) you want to cut away, click the "Insert" button, followed by "Invert Ranges", and then press "Cut/Copy/Join".

In addition to wmv and asf video files, this handy little portable can also cut, merge, trim and fix wma (audio) files. AsfBinWin can normally handle any video file encoded in wmv3, mp42 and mp43 video formats with precise cutting enabled (the default setting). However, if you want to use this utility for other formats, you might find you have to disable precise cutting in the Advanced Settings to avoid a scrambled result. But overall, AsfBinWin is a remarkably reliable and efficient little package which does what it just about says on the tin. See also How to split, trim and join wmv video files with AsfBinWin?

Best Tools to Split and Join AVI Files

To be added...

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:

Video Cutter/Splitter

  • 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.

Video Joiner

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.
  • Movica
  • Mpg2Cut2
  • 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:

 
Quick Selection Guide

Avidemux
4
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Splitter/ Joiner for mp4, mkv, avi. Easy to use for beginners. Several output format are preset. Fair quality output.
Video and audio playback is poor when editing. Liable to crash. Inability to save video in copy mode.
http://avidemux.sourceforge.net/
2.6.4
21.74 MB Win 32 exe
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
This product is portable.
Linux, BSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows

v2.6.4 released 09 May, 2013
View the changelog here

AsfBinWin
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Formats - Wmv, asf and wma. Splitter/trimmer/joiner. Video preview. Fine tuning controls. Frame-accurate cutting. Can fix and reindex almost any file (very useful for recorded live streams). Easy to use for beginners.
Selection for videos to join could be easier, output name could use the input name instead of "out.asf" by default.
1.8.2.903
262.25 KB
Free for private use only
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
XP, Server 2003, Server 2008, Vista, Win7

Don't forget to click "Preview" for the preview window, and "Save each segment to a separate file" for splitting. Older computers may require installation of MFC 9.0 libraries (download from here). View the version history here

 
Editor

This software category is in need of an editor. If you are interested in taking it over then check out this page for more details. You can then contact us from that page or by clicking here.

 
Tags

best, top, free, video, cutter, trimmer, joiner, merger, splitter, editor, mp4, mpg, wmv, software, freeware, how to cut split trim merge video files

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Comments

by Niefer on 13. April 2014 - 18:04  (115665)

Just download the latest ffmpeg.exe and then use Windows command line:

ffmpeg -i InputFile -vcodec copy -acodec copy -ss 00:12:34.567 -t 00:34:56.789 OutputFile

This command cuts a part of InputFile without re-encoding.

-ss 00:12:34.567 is start time
-t 00:34:56.789 is duration

by Beddhist on 3. December 2013 - 4:12  (112726)

I tried Avidemux. Apart from crashing when trying to play an avi it failed to join them correctly. Playing back two joined files the sound repeated, then broke up, the video stopped. After trying a few things I gave up.

Next I tried Machete Lite and it worked right first try. The only problem: when I saved the joined video file it overwrote the existing first file without warning.

by puzzlermc2 on 17. November 2013 - 18:34  (112297)

Can someone please explain why the resulting file after joining two videos is so much larger than the sum of the original sizes?

by dhughens on 26. October 2013 - 18:10  (111778)

"All Free Video Joiner" contains RelevantKnowledge. They are up front about it in the "I Agree" box. It is described, in flowery terms, as data collection for everyone's benefit. I did not install "All Free Video Joiner" and do not know if the product will work after deletion of RelevantKnowledge.

by Anupam on 27. October 2013 - 8:19  (111794)

Thanks a lot for informing us.

I tried installing the program. While installing, you can decline Relevant Knowledge, and the software will be installed. Still, I noticed that in Program Files, or Application Data, rkverify.exe gets copied, which is identified as a threat file generally. Therefore, it's better to remove the software altogether from the list.

Thanks again.

by GeorgeH on 5. May 2013 - 4:41  (107468)

I'm not sure if Avidemux is the best video joiner but I have to say that it is not easy to use. It has help information which left me even more confused. In order to understand how to join video files, I had to read this web page:

http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/337246-how-to-join-files-in-Avidemux

Avidemux did however help me to understand the problem that other video joiners were having. Without knowing it, I was attempting to join video with different aspect ratios. I found that other video joiners would squeeze or stretch one of the videos to make it have the same aspect ratio as the other video. Avidemux would simply refuse to join the files saying they are not the same size. Ideally, a video joiner should provide the user with an option to either put black bars on the sides or top and bottom as needed, or to crop one of the videos. If there is only one option, it would be to add black bars. Stretching or squeezing the video is completely unacceptable. I tried joining 3 videos of the same aspect ratio with Avidemux and it joined them. Unfortunately when I opened the output video file with my video player, I could not advance the video by moving the slider to the right. The video would just freeze up and not advance. I was play it back at normal speed but nothing else.

by Matiger (not verified) on 25. October 2012 - 7:09  (101324)

Best Free Software to split or trim video is actually the software you get with the camera. In my case is the Canon Zoom Browser EX. I found the solution in some other forum. I'm very pleased to say that I've found out how to do exactly what I wanted to do, despite majority of people saying that it is "impossible."

I can:
trim or split a video
and save it under the same name or a different name(s)
WITHOUT converting it to something else before or after trimming
WITHOUT changing it from its original format
WITHOUT exporting (compressing) it
WITHOUT "rendering" it different in any way except my desired length change (and resulting smaller file size)

IN ITS ORIGINAL (source) FORMAT !!!!!

Open the video in Zoom Browser EX and the icon with scissors appears. (cut movie)
But for editing to work you need .THM file along with the original .MOV file. If you don't have a THM file you'll have to create it with some other software I guess.

Hope that was helpful

by andulv (not verified) on 15. September 2012 - 21:32  (99313)

tried to split some videos to make them manageable for my phone, but avidemux doesn't play back audio from the files or the splitted files. originally mkv, x.264, DTS, converted to mp4. vlc plays audio just fine, but not avidemux. anyone got a quick and easy sloution?? =)

by Kenny H (not verified) on 15. August 2012 - 3:12  (97725)

Windows Media File Editor is by far the easiest to split, trim WMV/ASF without the need to re-encode.
The best part is that it is a native program of Windows Media & requires 0 risk.
It works perfectly with the codecs installed into the windows media interface.

It comes with the Windows Media Encoder 9 Series

Do not get this from the windows site because they will steer you to the newest software called Expression Encoder which does not do this.
http://www.softpedia.com/get/Multimedia/Video/Codec-Packs-Video-Codecs/Windows-Media-Encoder.shtml

by Yatz (not verified) on 13. August 2012 - 21:19  (97669)

Please note that Avidemux seems to have a bug in the latest build (2.5.6) which prevents it from running in Vista and Win7. from what I understood, it's expected to be fixed in the next build.

by Matiger (not verified) on 10. July 2012 - 23:50  (96019)

I am searching for exact same software and I was sure that the solution would be simple.
I have a Canon T2i 550d camera. When shooting video I have an option to cut my footage on camera. Of course it is a bit clumsy to do it like that with small screen and tiny buttons. I was sure there is a software (developed by Canon maybe) which could do the same thing on the computer. Program able to just split the file in parts so you get only the essential material. Nothing more.
As I browse for the possible solution all I see is a mess. Nobody really knows which program does it without changing the footage in other way then just splitting it. Tons of free software which you can not rely on. I will try to find the solution. If it is possible to do it on camera with baby steps how on earth can it be so hard to do it with the computer. Isn't that the most basic function of video editing? I'm really confused.

by carlos88 (not verified) on 24. October 2012 - 21:04  (101304)

I agree with your problems, have same myself, can do in camera, but hard in computer, shouldn't be so!
If you find an answer I would be very grateful to be told .

by Anupam on 10. July 2012 - 16:23  (95994)
by JoeKisnou (not verified) on 27. June 2012 - 2:52  (95423)

Well, that was a wasted effort. Downloaded asfbinwin, extracted the files and tried to execute asfbinwin.exe and immediately received the error: "This application has failed to start because the application configuration is incorrect. Reinstalling the application may fix this problem."
Tried 2 more times, same result. Double checked requirements - I have WinXP SP3 and the mentioned MS Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable pkg.
Suspecting a corrupted download, I deleted what I had and downloaded the zip file again. Same results.
I find that error msg odd as the readme.txt file says:
"Installation: Unzipp the executable files and copy them to a desired location. Application is just ready to use."

by Lestat on 27. June 2012 - 18:05  (95440)

Hello again,

Have you tried re-installing the Visual Libraries? See if that works, and get back to me.

by Lestat on 27. June 2012 - 9:42  (95434)

Hi,
Sorry to hear you've had problems. I'll look into it and see if I can find a cause. I would've thought that the Microsoft package would fix the problem, but since it hasn't I'll double-check.

by Wookie (not verified) on 27. March 2012 - 18:42  (91282)

FYI: SPG Video Splitter silently installs Babylon Toolbar the first time you launch the program. It is a beast to get rid of (the uninstall program with it is crap). Would highly recommend AGAINST this program until the creators decide to remove the intrusive ad-ware/spyware addon that installs without notice.

by Lestat on 28. March 2012 - 9:31  (91320)

Hi Wookie,
Thanks for the heads up. Will keep that in mind.
Here's hoping the creators get rid of the problem soon.

by Isis4 (not verified) on 28. March 2012 - 16:00  (91333)

The toolbar doesn't appear to have gotten installed on my system when I tried that program, though that was some weeks ago by now, so things may have changed in the meantime. I downloaded mine directly from their website. I can't remember for sure, but I know one of the programs I tried 'offered' a toolbar, and I simply unticked the box next to the offer.

by Ken Lyon (not verified) on 25. March 2012 - 19:48  (91146)

Avidemux isn't for the novice. There's no help, and the meanings of many of the features just aren't clear. Worse yet, after I managed to delete the part of my mp3 that I didn't want, when I did a save, all I got was the video--no audio. I tried a save as, as suggested above, but all I got was an empty file.

by Lestat on 26. March 2012 - 11:02  (91182)

After you save the project, you can then save your video - this is to ensure you don't lose your work in case the program crashes.
Some combinations for saving output video and audio do not work (they are incompatible), this may be why you only had video and no audio. You could try using the presets, and then use the filters for audio and video to make sure the output is the way you want it.
When all else fails, forums are a good bet. :-)

by Isis4 (not verified) on 26. March 2012 - 4:18  (91158)

Ken Lyon, you can get some help in the Avidemux forum, here: http://www.avidemux.org/smf/index.php

Just pick your operating system (Windows, Mac, or Linux) from the index, and post a description of your problem there. I got help very quickly. The first version of Avidemux that I tried didn't work for me at all, and I was totally frustrated, but someone there pointed me to a different version that is working perfectly for me now.

by JoeO (not verified) on 2. March 2012 - 3:31  (89786)

I checked out Avidemux and it works very well with Mp4 Files. It is very fast and you can get precise cuts. It did crash on me a few times but it was probably me getting used to the gui. There is a tutorial available at (http://maketecheasier.com/edit-videos-with-avidemux). It has good advice on how to start using the program for splitting as well as other video functions. After using Free Video Dub I came to the conclusion there are still too many bugs to be worked out. It was almost impossible to get a precise cut, a few seconds off no matter what I tried. This was also addressed on their forum and so far no solution that I could find. What I did like about it was that you could delete multiple sections from the video or do a normal split. As for Video Splitter it is way too slow and primitive compared to Avidemux. So Isis4 I agree with you that Avidemux is a keeper or until something better comes along.

by JoeO (not verified) on 27. February 2012 - 3:33  (89554)

I tried the SPG Video Splitter and had no problems with any Mp4 files. The slider worked with no problem. Setting up the start and end times was very easy. I did not need a license to run the program and the SPG website shows it as freeware when downloading. The Media Cope software works well too, also freeware by SPG. It is basically the same SPG video splitter incorporated into a larger multimedia program.(worth checking out). Both programs are slow and have very basic settings but they work fairly well. You will have to play with the quality settings to get a good finished product. I do agree that the Free Video Cutter is very very slow and I didn't have the patience to wait on the thumb generator to finish.

by JoeO (not verified) on 29. February 2012 - 18:45  (89714)

There is a freeware program called Free Video Dub and a multimedia program including Free Video Dub called Free Studio 5. I tried the FVD and it worked much better than SPG Video Splitter. Very Fast and lossless mp4 splitter. I have briefly checked out Studio 5, you get 47 freeware video,audio and photo programs in one interface. The software is offered by DVD Video Soft and they also have an online forum to help with problems that arise with their software. A lot of free software to try. Hope this helps.

by Isis4 (not verified) on 1. March 2012 - 5:05  (89730)

I looked at Video Dub, and really wanted to try it, but unfortunately my computer didn't meet the system requirements. With an old laptop that has very low RAM, my choices are limited.

Interesting that you didn't have the same problems with SPG, JoeO. I got nagged for a license code immediately, and couldn't get any precise edit.

I had a similar issue with Avidemux, which I tried next. Everything was totally out of sync, I couldn't set a marker to an acceptable position for the program, and it wouldn't save the video. I ended up getting help on the Avidemux forum, and downloaded a fresh out of development version that is now working perfectly for my MP4 editing (haven't tried any other features yet). That one is a keeper.

I also tried Yamb before that, which worked incredibly well, and was very fast and precise. But on closing the program would go haywire, with endless pop-ups (one per second!) about a system error and 'access violation', which required me to shut down my computer. It's a really simple program that I would have loved to keep, but it doesn't look like it's still being developed, and I wasn't able to get any support. Might work for others though, and I would recommend it if you can make it work on your system.

by Isis4 (not verified) on 25. February 2012 - 3:46  (89433)

Desperate for a splitter for MP4 files, I tried SPG Video Splitter and Free Video Cutter and was very disappointed with both:

SPG Video Splitter played the video in real time, but would not allow me to move the slider below the video beyond the 1 Minute and 40 seconds mark. I could fast forward, but with a very long video stream, that took forever. There was no way to rewind, so there's no way to compensate if forwarding too far. I never managed to get beyond trying this first step.

SPG also requires a license key, which has to be renewed every couple of months, unless you sign up on their forum, in which case you have to renew after 6 months, and I think then you can get a permanent key.

Free Video Cutter immediately started to generate 'thumbs', which took forever on my long video stream. After half an hour and only a small portion of the 60 thumbs were supposedly done, I shut if down. I tried again, this time I turned that feature off in the options. Trouble is that the thumbs are apparently markers for choosing a more precise cut, since the program does not play the video at all in real time.

So I watched the stream in my media player and wrote out the exact times to cut it. But the sliders in Free Video Cutter don't allow for precision, and I had to choose 15+ seconds more on each end. I tried to save it, but even though the cropped video would have been only a couple of minutes, it took a very long time to save. I finally gave up. I should also note that the program used 100% of my CPU.

So my search continues. Hoping that someone here will come up with the perfect tool for MP4 crops. I'm with Richard Dixon: I feel much better trying freeware that has the Gizmo seal of approval. :)

by xxxxxl (not verified) on 3. August 2012 - 12:09  (97150)

Thumbs can be disabled, FYI.

by Lestat on 25. February 2012 - 14:43  (89462)

Hi. Sorry to hear the other programs were of no use.

Apologies for not getting back with an MP4 cutter. Will get back to you soon on a good one.

Regards,
Lestat.

by Richard Dixon (not verified) on 31. December 2011 - 13:41  (86278)

Does AsfBinWin work with MP4/M4V files made by Handbrake?

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