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Thread: Need a simple, non-project based, cut/trim/export video editor - does it even exist?

  1. #1

    Default Need a simple, non-project based, cut/trim/export video editor - does it even exist?

    Hi all,

    I'm posting this question after asking this question to all my video and filmmaking friends, to which they didn't have a precise solution. I'm looking for a simple, bread-n-butter video editor that can do basic cut/trim edits, export with a variety of codecs, and not require everything to be in projects. A bonus would be to have batch processing. Basically, I'm looking for a program with this exact list of requirements:

    -Opens multiple clips to perform simple editing on a timeline (cut/trim, glue, etc)
    -Doesn't require setting up a project, storage directories, configuration (right-click and open)
    -Supports the H.264 codec and other MPEG-4 variants
    -Can export with full transcode options
    -Is free, open-source, or available via torrents (ie. low or no cost)
    -Is a GUI program that works on PC/Windows systems (no command line software)

    To my surprise, I can't find anything out there that does all the things mentioned above. I have Adobe Premiere CS5.5 for all the advanced extensive video editing. However, I have hundreds of folders with raw video clips over the years that is taking up way too much storage on my hard drives. I'd like to condense and compress those to something much more reasonable, and while I can use Premiere for that, it doesn't seem practical to set up hundreds of projects just to re-export compressed video. I've tried the following programs (plus some others I'm sure I'm forgetting), and none of them do the trick:
    Windows Media Maker, VirtualDub, Handbrake, SUPER video converter, VideoDub, WINFF, power director, AVS, ffmpeg, VLMC

    None of them meet the requirements. Some either only let you edit one clip (as opposed to having multiple clips on the timeline), don't support H.264, don't have export/transcode options, are command-line (need GUI), etc. The audio editing analogy to this is that while I have Pro-Tools, Cubase, Adobe Audition to do project-based multitrack editing, I used GoldWave for simple cut/trim/volume edits. It doesn't make me set up a project (like Pro-Tools, Cubase). I can simply right-click a file (and multiple files) and select "open with..." and use GoldWave. It can interrupt all known audio codecs (WAV, mp3, AAC, Flac, etc) as well as export those codecs with all the compression options (sampling rate, bit rate, stereo/mono). It also supports batch processing so I can open hundreds of files, do one simple edit (add 5 seconds of silence at beginning) to each file, and hit process to all. It's also freeware. I'm looking for the video equivalent of that program. Any suggestions?

  2. #2


    I don't understand the quoted limitation of Premiere. After creating a Project (only one is required), video files can be dragged from Windows Explorer into Premiere's timeline. After editing etc, the User can simply delete the videos from their timeline, and then simply drag the next ones from Explorer.

  3. #3


    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for the response. Yes, it is entirely possible to edit and export video clips in Premiere. However, the problem here is with the volume of data that needs processed. Each set of clips could be dragged into the timeline, but there are hundreds of folders, each with a set of clips whose combined time range is from 30 minutes to 4 hours (per each folder). It may take months to manually drag each set and export them one at a time. I'm hoping that there is some batch processing solution that would allow me to plug in a few parameters and then export them in series.

    The editing portion doesn't require any artistic touch. It would more or least be something like this:
    Take all clips contained in folders 001 through 537, connect them from start to the end of each clip. Example:
    In folder 276, there are 8 clips, named 0000.MTS to 0007.MTS. Each clip is 12 minutes, 1.2 GB. In that particular folder batch process, the new clip should be a single file, MP4 with 1.5 mbps bitrate. So all the clips just need to be head to tail, glued together. But with hundreds of folders, this needs applied to each one, done automatically.

    Is this a function any known video software can do?

  4. #4


    There are many freeware tools that can do this kind of thing. An excellent resource for these types of tools is

  5. #5


    I would write a small shell script and to it with ffmpeg but this is very much limited to the unix world.

  6. #6


    Quote Originally Posted by XXLRay View Post
    I would write a small shell script and to it with ffmpeg but this is very much limited to the unix world.
    I agree, that was my first thought (thought I use FFMPEG with Windows and it's command line), but the OP suggested they had tried it, and had found it inadequate.

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