VirtualDub is a video capture and processing utility licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). It is designed to be a general utility that can trim and clean up video before exporting to tape or processing with another program. It does not possess the editing power of a general-purpose editor such as Adobe Premiere, but is streamlined for fast linear operations over video. VirtualDub has batch-processing capabilities for processing large numbers of files, which you can extend with third-party video filters. VirtualDub is best at processing AVI files, although it can read (not write) MPEG-1 and handle BMP image sets.
Free video editing software VirtualDub is the open-source and portable video editor that we have covered in the past for its ability to compress videos while preserving good quality. We also explained how Windows Movie Maker is able to do this as well, so this probably isn’t enough reason for you to go ahead and download the VirtualDub free video editing software.
In reality, VirtualDub has a lot of potential for the price tag it holds. It might not be a fully-featured Adobe Premiere alternative, but it certainly can accomplish more than a few tasks that you might think you need other separate applications for.
Let’s examine some of the features VirtualDub offers that might get you uploading your next video to YouTube pretty soon!
Splitting, Extracting & Joining AVI Files Without Re-encoding
VirtualDub has the ability to save a portion of an AVI video file that you have selected with the position slider, provided you’re in Direct Stream Copy mode in both the Video and Audio menus.
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You can easily split videos this way or extract portions to be saved as new files.
To join files, open your first video, then head to File > Append AVI segment.
To crop inside the video, first check that you’re in Full Processing mode and then click on Video > Filters. You’ll notice that there’s a Cropping button that’s not quite clickable (because it’s only enabled after you have chosen a filter).
We’ll add a dummy filter (click Add and choose Null Transform) which doesn’t do anything, but will ungray the Cropping button now.
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In the Filter input cropping dialog box, you can experiment by typing any numbers to see what covers up the part you wish to crop.
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In my case, I’m looking to crop the black bars above and below the video.
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Cropping the black bars will change the dimensions and quality of the video, so I will use the resize filter to change the cropped video to the original video’s resolution.
Since the quality will be affected, even YouTube recommends to just use the original resolution.
Saving AVI As Animated GIF
There’s not a whole lot of free animated GIF utilities, perhaps because GIFs are old-school, but I still find GIF animations useful to illustrate articles. This is especially true when the steps I’m trying to illustrate aren’t long enough to make a video out of them.
So after you’ve loaded your video, getting your GIF animation is as easy as selecting the portion of the video you want to save by moving the slider (which is even an optional step if you want the whole movie as a GIF file), heading to File > Export and selecting Animated GIF.
You can choose whether your GIF animation will play once, infinitely or a set number of times.
The tool’s not perfect as I’ve been able to get a perfect-looking GIF animation after a lot of trial and error, but the shorter (fewer frames) your video selection is, the better the GIF might turn out.
Saving JPEG/PNG/BMP Snapshots From A Video To A Folder Or The Clipboard
This is very useful if you want to get thumbnails from your video. The steps are identical to those from the previous section, with the exception that you’ll export the selected portion of the video as an Image Sequence.
Before you do this though, it’s preferable to create a new folder so you can contain all of your images there because there’s no option in VirtualDub to make a new folder when you’re choosing your target folder.
If you’re interested in getting a single snapshot from a scene in the video and editing it in, say, Paint, you can easily use the slider to position it at the right scene, press Ctrl + 1 or head to Video > Copy source frame to clipboard.
You can then open up Paint or another image editing application and paste the image in. If you have applied any filters to the video, pressing Ctrl + 2 will get you a snapshot with the applied filters.
Achieving A Zooming Effect
What would take 3 effects (Zoom In, Zoom/Focus, and Zoom Out) and splitting the file 3 times in Windows Movie Maker to achieve a smooth zooming effect, VirtualDub can do with a simple filter from the VirtualDub filter site. Download the filter and add the .vdf file to VirtualDub’s Plugins folder (usually at C:\Program Files\VirtualDub\plugins, but if you don’t have that plugins subdirectory, just create one).