Can I cut or trim a video in VLC?

Can I use VLC to trim or cut a long video? Sometimes your movie files may be too big to be sent, uploaded or shared. In this case, you can choose to split the long video into short clips or trim the video to remove unwanted part from the video.

VLC media player is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework. Like the Swiss Military Knife, VLC has plenty of useful tools. Except playing your videos and music, it can help you transfer media files from computer to mobile phone, stream media in your local network, record screen on computer and many more.

Today, we will show you how it can help us edit and cut videos on computer.Note that VLC doesn’t support video cutting natively. We can however use it to record the video playback in the media player, thus extract any part from the source video as separate files.

In a related article, we demonstrated how to record Mac screen with VLC media player. You have to firstly display the Mac screen in VLC, then use its built-in recorder to record what is being displayed in the media player and thus record screen videos on Mac. To cut a video using VLC on Mac or Windows involves the similar process. We will use VLC Media Player on a Windows 10 computer and VLC on a Macbook in this demo. Cutting a video with VLC on PC or Mac is not intuitive. At the end of this post, we will also suggest more easier solutions to cut, trim or split long videos on computer.

Part 1. Cut video with VLC for Windows

Step 1. Play the video in VLC

Run VLC on your PC. Right click on the player window, choose View > Minimal Interface, to disable it and show the menu bar at the top and play control bar at the bottom. Right click on the player window again, and choose View > Advanced Controls. The advanced controls now show above the play control bar.

Simply drag and drop the video from Windows File Explorer to the media player to start playing it. Pause the video.

record video playback in VLC media player for Windows
record video playback VLC media player Windows

Step 2. Select and record the video

Drag the playhead to the start point. Click the Frame by frame button in the Advanced Controls bar to move forward frame by frame to select the exact frame you want to start the cutting. Then click the A to B Loop button from the the Advanced Controls bar to set it as the Point A. Use the same method to select and set Point B. Now hit the Play button from the play control bar to start playing the movie and click Record button from the Advanced Controls to record the video playback. Hit the Record button again to stop recording at the end point (Point B).

The recorded video clips will be saved as MP4 files to the default location which is C:\Users\yourusername\Videos in Windows 10.

You can’t set or change the format VLC media player uses when recording. If you need another format other than MP4, you can however use VLC to convert it.

The default file directory to save video recordings can be found or changed from Tools > Preferences > Input / Codecs > Files > Record directory or filename.

Part 2. Cut video with VLC for Mac

To trim video with VLC media player for Mac works the same. The appearance and settings however are different.

record video playback in VLC media player for Mac
record video playback in VLC media player Mac

Run VLC media player from the Launchpad on your Mac. Click Open media button in the player to open the source video file. The video will start playing in VLC player. Pause the video at the point you want to start cutting in VLC for Mac. Click the Playback from the top menu bar to expand the menu and choose A-B Loop to set the current frame as the starting frame. Drag the playhead to the end point, then set it as the end frame from Playback > A-B Loop. You can now play the selected video part in a loop. To record the selected video part, go to the Playback menu, click Record to start recording. When the playhead reaches the end frame, click the Record button again to stop recording. Alternatively you can use the keyboard shortcut, Option+Command+R, to start and stop the recording in VLC for Mac.

VLC will save all your video recordings to /users/username/Documents on your Mac. All recorded video clips will be saved in MP4 format. You can change the recording saving directory from VLC > Preferences > Input / Codecs on Mac.

VLC video cutting issues and alternatives

VLC doesn’t have the native video cutter. The video recording feature is not designed to help users cut, trim or split movies or videos. If you want to trim a video part that lasts for an hour, you can’t wait in front of your computer for an hour just to cut the video. Of course, you can minimize the VLC player window during the recording process and come back to VLC later to stop the recording. It is tedious, not really user-friendly though.

Windows 10 allows users to trim a video without any third-party media tools. You can use just the stock Photos app. Refer to this tutorial to trim videos in Windows 10 for the details.

Mac OS comes with the QuickTime Player which you can use to edit movies, videos as well. See how you can cut videos on Mac with QuickTime Player.

Are you looking for more controls or advanced features? You can find two different ways to trim videos on computer here using a professional video converter and a media editor separately. The media editor also has a built-in video cutter which is extremely useful when you want to split long videos into short clips, extract multiple video parts from a big video.

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