Best Free Video Cutter and Joiner

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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.

 

Rated Products

Avidemux  

The best tool to split and join MP4 files


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
Splitter and 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.
Read full review...

AsfBinWin  

The best tool to split, trim or join WMV / ASF files


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Open source)
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.
Read full review...

Other Video Cutters and 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 

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Comments

Avidemux is hard to configure for the copy only mode, it seems that the conversion is almost always involved, which will be very slow.

Free video editor is a good software, but as a reminder, latest version has direct copy option disabled for free.

I see SPG Video Splitter is on the list to be reviewed.
I tried it, and it install a ton of cr@pware without permission.

Is there a good one that doesn't re-encode? I don't want to have to use the command line either.

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

The video was copied nicely but there is no audio. Even though VLC shows the audio codec.

+1 to this.

Less than 1 meg in size, quick and no loss. The only downside is there is no user interface and some people may be put off by entering commands manually but I love it.

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.

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

"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.

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.

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.