How to Use VLC as a Video Editor

Vlc Video Editor Featured

VLC is best known as a popular media player that supports plenty of video and audio formats. But did you know it also has a hidden feature that allows it to be used as a video editor? Whether you have raw camera recordings or a YouTube clip, it’s now possible to directly edit your video files in VLC.

Follow the steps below to start using VLC as a regular video editing tool.

Tip: if you are wondering, here are all the things you can do with VLC.

Video Editing With VLC: Getting Started

There is not much of a learning curve, and you can immediately start working on this after you download the latest VLC version. The only requirement is that you have access to a desktop device, as the mobile versions of VLC don’t support the editing feature.

In Windows, search for VLC and launch it in administrator mode.

VLC media player app run as administrator.

Trimming Videos in VLC

VLC allows you to trim video clips to save a select timeline. You can trim multiple batches of videos of varying lengths from the original file.

  1. Go to “View -> Advanced Controls.” It will activate a few extra buttons at the bottom.
Vlc Video Editing View Advanced Controls
  1. Once you’re at the section that has to be trimmed, click the red “Record” button.
Red record button visible in VLC Video Editor.
  1. If your VLC app is in minimal or fullscreen mode, right-click anywhere inside to select the option to “record.”
Record button through right click in VLC Media Player.;
  1. Simply play the file from this point onward and click the “Record” button once again to stop.
  2. If you want more accuracy, use an option called “frame by frame” control instead of “Play.” This will record every single instance or moment of a video to help you create a continuous presentation.
Frame by frame recording in VLC
  1. You can also choose “Loop from point A to point B continuously.” This enables the VLC player to restrict a portion of the video length for continuous playback in repeat mode.
  2. As soon as you click the above button, your point A is generated.
VLC Loop from point A to point B continuously while recording.
  1. As the video playback continues, select your point B.
VLC recording click to set point B.
  1. Finally, click the “Stop the A to B loop” button to finish the recording.
VLC Stop the A to B loop to stop continuous playback beyond a point.
  1. The trimmed video files will be automatically saved in Windows’s “Videos” folder. For other operating systems, it will be available in the documents folder or your default videos folder.
VLC trimmed video recordings saved in Videos folder of Windows PC.

Do you know: other than VLC, you can also use YouTube video editor to edit your videos.

Merging Trimmed Files in VLC

So, you got rid of the video’s bad portions using “Trim.” To make the video whole again, you can merge the clean portions.

  1. Go to “Media -> Open Multiple Files.”
Open Multiple Files using Media menu in VLC Media Player.
  1. In the “Open Media” dialog box, click the Add button.
Add Button in VLC "Open Media" to select local files added in multiples.
  1. Select all the trimmed files. Click “Open” once done.
Select multiple files from Windows Computer folder to be inserted into VLC.
  1. Click the “Play” button. It will lead to many other options.
  2. Click “Convert” from among the options.
Convert button to convert multiple files in VLC.
  1. In the next step, you can select the format of the combined video such as OGG or H265. Other options available are MPEG4 1080p, DivX Compatible Player, iPod, Android, YouTube, and streaming.
  2. Your newly edited video will be saved in a destination folder.
Profile of multiple video files to be converted with various output options visible.
  1. Click Start to start the conversion.
  2. If the original video from which you created trimmed portions is present in the same folder, you will see the message “The output file already exists. If recording continues, the file will be overridden, and its content will be lost.”
Output file already exists message after VLC file conversion of multiple files.

Tip: for non-Windows users, you can also check out these video editors for Linux, and macOS.

Removing Echo and Background Noise in VLC

So far, we’ve seen how to edit the video timelines in VLC to get rid of the unwanted portions. You may also want to remove echoes and background noises which can ruin a perfectly nice frame.

Note: For more advanced noise adjustment in videos, we recommend using either Ocenaudio or Audacity.

  1. Go to “Tools -> Effects and Filers.” It will open the “Adjustments and Effects” dialog box. We will focus on the “Audio effects” tab only.
Select "Tools > Effects and Filters" in VLC Media Player.
  1. Select “Equalizer” under “Audio Effects.” Enable the checkbox right below it.
  2. Here you will see the individual bands. Start playing your audio track and pay attention to the areas which have white noise. Adjust the individual bands one by one till you have the white noise muted or greatly reduced. It requires a keen ear to be able to distinguish the noise from clean audio, so pay close attention.
VLC adjustments to reduce white noise by dragging individual sliders.
  1. After you mute the problem bands, remember to turn all the other bands back to where they were. Otherwise, your video’s average volume will be lower than what you’d recorded previously.
Turn all bands to where they were before in VLC Adjustments and Effects.
  1. The “Compressor” tool is a way to fix the original video’s volume issues. Whether the video is too loud or inaudible, you can adjust the bands to optimize your listening experience.
Compressor adjustments in sounds of VLC Video Player.
  1. You can also use VLC player to remove a “hissing” noise in videos. For this, select “Spatializer.” The same principle applies. Adjust each band manually until the hissing noise disappears and turn all the other bands back to where they were.
  2. Click “Save” to save this new configuration.
Adjusting band levels in Spatializer of VLC.
  1. Remember to check “Enable” to enable the VLC file once you’re done.
  2. Does your video contain sounds that are very shrill? Go to the “Advanced” tab to enable the option to adjust the pitch. You can move the slider accordingly to remove the shrill voice.
Adjusting pitch in VLC sounds.

Smart Video Effects in VLC

No matter your video source, you can use VLC to adjust them in a variety of ways.

  1. Go to “Tools -> Effects and Filters.”
  2. Navigate to the tab, “Video Effects -> Colors.” Here you can negate a select portion to show something in flashback.
Negate colors in VLC to portray a flashback.
  1. You can change the background colors using “Color extraction,” for example, to show a reddish dawn sky.
Color extraction in VLC with reddish dawn color.
  1. To focus on a select portion, click “interactive zoom.” This can achieve more depth in the video despite not capturing the shot. For example, here, it captures the rainbow behind the tree line.
Interactive zoom in VLC video editing.
  1. You can also experiment with rotating a video portion for a special effect. Other effects that you can try are flipping the video screen horizontally or vertically, transposing, and anti-transposing.
Rotate and flip options in VLC.
  1. Using the crop feature, you can remove portions of the video on the left, right, top or bottom. Choose your desired pixel value to crop the right portion.
Crop a video in VLC editor.
  1. Select the “Overlay” tab to add a logo and position it properly. You can also change the opacity of the video here for a transparent appearance.
  2. If there is an existing logo or text, you can mask it in the VLC video editor by choosing “Logo erase.”
Overlay video effects in VLC.

Other video effect options that you can use include anti-flickering, motion blur, and a denoiser which makes the video less blurry.

Advanced video effects in VLC.

Adding Text and Subtitles to Video Clips Using VLC

  1. To add your own text to a video clip, go to “Tools” and select “Effects and Filters.”
  2. As soon as the “Adjustments and Effects” dialog box is open, navigate to the “Overlay” tab.
  3. Type your desired text and provide a position for it within the video. In this example, it is on the bottom right.
Add text in VLC video.
  1. After you save your changes, you can view the text you just inserted in the video.
Added text in VLC video on bottom right.

Note: learn how you can add watermarks to your images.

  1. To add subtitles to your video, select the “subtitle” menu option at the top and click “Add Subtitle File.”
Add subtitle file menu option in VLC.
  1. Download your subtitles file from a saved location on your PC. It is usually in a format such as “.SRT.”
Subtitles added from a folder in location.
  1. Go back to the “Adjustments and Effects” window, and navigate to the “Synchronization” tab.
  2. Start your subtitle from the moment when the video voice begins. It’s called “subtitle track synchronization” which may be as less as 0 seconds.
  3. To let the subtitles play automatically, you have to select a subtitle duration factor which can be between two and three seconds.
Subtitle track synchronization in VLC Media Player.
  1. Go to “Tools -> Preferences” and navigate to the “Subtitles/OSD” tab.
  2. Check the boxes next to “Enable subtitles” and “Enable on-screen display.” You can add more text and visual effects as needed.
Subtitle display in Preferences for VLC.

You can also download subtitles into the video from any location on your PC for which we have a tutorial. It is always best to add the subtitles manually for greater accuracy.

6. Change Video Characteristics Using VLC Plugins and Extensions

In the latest versions of VLC, you can access some advanced features that change the video characteristics and background based on the latest themes and add-ons/extensions.

  1. Go to “Tools -> Plugins and extensions.”
Plugins and extensions menus selected in VLC.
  1. You can choose from among different skins for VLC which include the night theme, Alienware Dark Star, Nintendo Black style, and many more.
  2. You also can have newer collections of interfaces, playlist parsers, service discovery, and art/meta features.
Install a theme in VLC.
  1. You can see all the installed skin options which you can use in the video.
Changing VLC appearance with downloaded and installed theme.
  1. If the list is empty, click “Find more add-ons” to have more options.
  2. VLC has to be restarted to adopt these changes.
Find more addons in VLC.

Frequently Asked Questions

How effective is VLC compared to professional video editing tools?

VLC remains a video playback software and the video editing features are very basic. It shouldn’t be used as a professional video editing tool.

What are the different things you can do with VLC software?

VLC lets you download YouTube and other streaming videos with the right extensions. You can also use it to play a YouTube playlist.

Image Credit: Professional Colorist Photograph Works on a Desktop Computer by 123RF. All screenshots by Sayal Boral.

Sayak Boral
Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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