I need a video editor that trims videos but doesn't rerender them
August 19, 2013 1:50 PM   Subscribe

I'm working on a webinar library. The webinars are all slide shows, with the presenter speaking over. I need to convert and edit these (36 webinars, 9GB total) and upload them to Vimeo. Currently each webinar has have an introduction and wrap up that only applies to the people watching the webinar live; it's useless to anyone watching the recording. I would like to trim this off of each webinar before uploading to Vimeo.

We host and record the webinars on GoToMeeting. GoToMeeting spits out a wmv with the introduction and wrap up. I tried uploading these files directly to Vimeo, but it didn't like the codec that came from the original GoToMeeting wmv recording...it wouldn't let me upload them.

I then used Windows Media Encoder to convert each untrimmed video to a codec that Vimeo liked (it's "Windows Media Video 9", as far as I can tell). This version of the webinar looks really good on Vimeo, but it has the introduction and wrap up.

I've tried to trim the converted version of the webinar using Windows Movie Maker, but it rerenders the whole thing, so the text on the slides looks like crap...it's basically going through two renderings* which I know is that makes it look more garbled. The nature of the webinar (text on slides) makes it especially prone to "fuzz". I've tried using Windows Movie Maker to trim the original GoToMeeting wmv and it also looked bad. Each time I do this takes forrreeeevvvveerr. It's been a week of experimenting and watching progress bars.

I have a Windows computer at work (so I would prefer Windows solutions), and a Mac at home. My last ditch effort is to bring my Mac to work and try using iMovie. I might be able to talk my work into purchasing Final Cut, but it's expensive and I don't want to ask them to shell out that money unless I know it will do what I want....and I don't know how keen they'd be on buying Final Cut for my personal computer (and will I even be able to work with wmv files on Final Cut/iMovie?)

I could just upload the converted file and not bother with trimming them, but I really think this hurts the number of views we get. I really want to trim off the extraneous crap; it's a waste of time for the viewer.

Is there a better encoder and/or editor out there, or am I even thinking about this the wrong way?

*I might be using the wrong terminology here. This is my first time working with video so I don't really know what I'm doing.
posted by hotelechozulu to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
you can do this quickly and cheaply in Quicktime 7 Pro ($29)

it's better than Quicktime X for your needs. All you have to do is open the movie, move the edit brackets and trim to selection and save.
posted by bobdow at 2:19 PM on August 19, 2013

Turbo Video Cutter might work. Does what it says on the tin - it doesn't do any rendering and is pretty fast.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:21 PM on August 19, 2013

Avidemux is no good for cutting things in an editor like fashion, but it can really easily do what you want. It can extract one continuous segment from the middle of a video. Also, you can only make the cuts every second or so, not every frame, because the video stream can only be broken at certain points without reencoding. Also, its free.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 2:31 PM on August 19, 2013

Response by poster: Turbo Video Cutter didn't work; it only works for mp4 files.

Avidemux threw an error when I tried to open the converted files.

@bodow wouldn't I need to convert the videos to mp4 in order to use Quicktime Pro? I wanted to prevent that...the converted wmv file looks great and I'd prefer to just trim that file.
posted by hotelechozulu at 3:24 PM on August 19, 2013

Best answer: I do this same thing at work and use Microsoft Expression Encoder 3 to strip out the GoToMeeting codec and trim the file (both length and size).
posted by perhapses at 4:14 PM on August 19, 2013

Ok, Avidemux does have tricky parts. If you set the audio to "copy" and the video to "copy" you can pack the video into virtually any kind of container. The default container is avi. Changing the container is super fast-- for a 2hr movie, maybe 10 seconds.

One tricky thing is that you have to save the file with the same extension as the container. If you saved the file as myfile.wmv, it will most likely crash on playback, and as far as I can tell, it can't write to wmv, meaning that if you tried to create a wmv, the file you made is most likely actually an avi. Maybe you could try renaming the file you already saved to .avi and see if it plays.
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 4:27 PM on August 19, 2013

Try Virtualdub; i think it's good at avoiding re-encoding.
posted by Pronoiac at 5:40 PM on August 19, 2013

Best answer: The problem is that you can't "trim" a video without re-encoding it. To keep it simple key frames are spaced throughout that have a full image, and then for the next 20 or so frames the file will only store changes to that frame. This is how the video gets compressed.

Unfortunately you're always going to lose some quality when you re-encode a video.

Two good options on Windows are SUPER (ignore the horribly designed website) or MediaCoder. Memail me if you need any help with either of these programs. You're going to want to the output codec to be MP4 for highest portability and the output bitrate (measured in Mbps) very close to the input bitrate.
posted by dobi at 6:38 PM on August 19, 2013

Second VirtualDub. You can clip and save out without re-encoding.
posted by rmmcclay at 7:43 PM on August 19, 2013

If you can talk your work into getting it, Camtasia is awesome for this kind of stuff. You can export to YouTube directly, or in a variety of formats. I have the Mac version, with is pretty cheap (and means I'm less familiar with WMV format), but both PC/Mac have a 30 day free trial.
posted by guster4lovers at 9:47 PM on August 19, 2013

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