Avidemux is a powerful video tool that often gets overlooked in the Linux world. This is because I don’t think it really fits into any of the traditional ‘categories’ of video software. It is not a video player, although it plays videos. It is not a non-linear video editor, however it does allow you to edit video files and add filters etc to a video. It is not a video ‘ripper’, although it will open videos and allow to you to re-encode to different formats, or to transcode them. Avidemux is all of these, and none of these. It is kind of like the quick and dirty swiss army knife of video. I use it for transcoding and creating DVD formatted video files and for fixing videos that have been badly encoded by some other piece of software, and won’t play on my Linux system.
Avidemux is actually available for Linux, Windows, Mac and BSD. Packages for Ubuntu, Debian and Mandriva are available on the download page. You can also compile from source, and there is a very detailed explanation of the specifics for compiling Avidemux here. However, that being said, there should be a package in your distributions repository. Please note that you can now have either a GTK or QT based gui for Avidemux, and depending on whether you use a GTK based desktop, or QT/KDE based desktop, you will want to get the gui that best matches your desktop.
I mainly use Avidemux for transcoding videos into DVD format and for fixing videos that have been encoded by others with defects – for example the A/V sync is off, or there’s some other issue which causes it to be unplayable on my system – vbr audio seems to be a problem for a lot of players.
Avidemux has a simple interface. You open a video file, and it shows in a preview window. You can then run through the video and cut and splice the video with the tools at the bottom of the screen. To the left are the tools to transform and transcode your video file. You can choose the output codecs and filters to apply to your video. If say you want to convert your file to a DVD compatible size and codec, you’ve choose “DVD”, configure it, and then open the filter dialog. In the filter dialog, there are some resize template buttons at the bottom left. Choose the “DVD” button, and Avidemux will choose the resize settings that are necessary to turn your video into a DVD ready file. You can also add filters to reduce noise, sharpen, or de-interlace your video, if that’s what you want.
Below the video settings are the audio settings, and again, you can change the codec, and settings for your codec. Below that, you can choose the file container you want to use – for example .avi or .mpeg or.flv. Once you’ve got the output parameters all set, click on “Save” and Avidemux will encode and output your video with the required codecs, resize and filters.
Another use case for Avidemux is videos that have been badly encoded. I find a lot of videos I get from other people have encoding issues. To fix them, I open them up in Avidemux. Often avidemux will pick up issues as it opens the file, and will ask if you want to fix them. I generally then go to the tools menu, and “Rebuild I & B Frames” and that’s usually enough to fix the file. Make sure the settings in the left hand column are set to “Copy” for both video and audio, Click on “Save” and you should end up with a playable file. Check out some of the screenshots below.