Using ffmpeg for Simple Video Editing

1 minute read


Today, I have recorded a video for one of my classes and I was required to upload it till midnight. The video was perfect except for a few seconds where I misspelled some words and started again. I had to remove that part from the video before uploading it. Since I was low on time, I thought that I better use a GUI program to do this job. I opened up Kdenlive and jumped into editing my video. It was my first time using it so I spent some time to cut and delete the parts that I want to get rid of. When I was ready, I clicked Render button to render my video. It was waaay too slow than I expected. Since I have nothing to do while waiting for render to finish, I thought I could give ffmpeg a shot.

Let the show begin

Like Kdenlive, I have never used ffmpeg before. Like every normal Linux user do, I opened up a terminal and typed man ffmpeg to learn how to use it… Just kidding :D I opened a browser and typed “ffmpeg cut video by time”. Not the best search query, but it was good enough to find what I am looking for as the first result.

Cutting the videos based on start and end time

According to answers on the page I mentioned, I run the following commands to cut my video into two parts:

ffmpeg -ss 00:00:00 -to 00:01:55  -i -c copy part1.mp4 # take from 00:00 to 01:55
ffmpeg -ss 00:02:03 -to 00:05:17  -i -c copy part2.mp4 # take from 02:03 to 05:17

These two commands run instantly! Kdenlive was still rendering… The progress was 46%. Meh… I said “Duck it, I am gonna use ffmpeg only” and cancelled the rendering.

Concatenating the video files

Now we have two videos that we want to join. Guess what will be our next search query? “ffmpeg join videos”. And here is the first result:

echo file part1.mp4 >> mylist.txt
echo file part2.mp4 >> mylist.txt
ffmpeg -f concat -i mylist.txt -c copy result.mp4

And we are DONE! How easy was that? Whole process took about 10 minutes including my search on the internet. If I continued waiting for Kdenlive to finish rendering, I would probably be still waiting at that time. I love the power of command line!