How to trim videos in VLC media player

Edited by Ben Jacklin

July 27, 2021

Released in 2001, VLC is an open-source, free media player that’s grown a huge following over the years. The software allows users to easily watch videos in nearly any format, but it also has some simple video editing functionality.

However, many users aren’t savvy on how the editing functions work and create some odd-looking VLC cut videos. If you don’t know how to use VLC to trim a video, don’t worry! This article will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to trim a video using VLC on Windows or Mac.

How to trim videos in VLC on Windows

The VLC trim video functions on Windows are pretty straightforward. Follow these step-by-step instructions to learn how to trim videos in VLC on Windows.

Step 1. Get the software

Obviously, you won’t be able to trim a video with VLC without the software, so the first step is to download, install, and launch the VLC media player. You can safely download the most recent version from the VideoLAN website.

Go to the VideoLAN website

Step 2. Open the file

Next, you’ll need to open the video file you want to trim. Check the list above to make sure your file is compatible and open it in one of three ways:

  1. Drag and drop the file directly into the VLC media player window.
  2. Click Media on the top left and then Open file. Then find your file and click Open.
  3. Hit Ctrl + O on your keyboard, find the file and click Open.

Step 3. Open the editing controls

To use the VLC media player to trim video, you need to switch from the playback controls over to the editing controls. Opening the controls is easy. Click the View menu at the top of the media player and then click Advanced Controls from the dropdown menu. You’ll see the edition functions appear just below the media viewer.

Step 4. Trimming the clip

To start, find the point in your video where you want to start trimming by playing the video to this point using the Play button or space bar or by using your mouse and the scroll bar just below the media window to find the perfect starting point.

Next, click the Record button to start trimming your video. It’s the button with a red circle located within the editing controls you opened earlier. You’ll see the button change color to indicate you’re recording. You can also click Playback at the top of the media player and then select Record in the dropdown window or hit Shift + R if you like to use shortcut keys.

Then, play your video with the play button or space bar to the point where you want to stop and hit the Pause button or the space bar again. You can also use the Frame-by-frame button in your editing tools if you want better accuracy on the clip. It’s the button with a red arrow pointing down within a film strip.

Once you’re at the ending point, click the Record button again to stop recording. Again, you can also select Record from the Playback dropdown menu or hit Shift + R to stop recording.

Step 5. Find the trimmed clip

A trimmed video won’t appear automatically. In fact, the media player doesn’t indicate that you even trimmed the video, so this is where some people get a little confused.

Unless you changed your settings at some point, the VLC player automatically puts the video in your Videos folder on Windows 10. The file should be located at C:\Users\Username\Video or in your default videos folder with a filename that starts with ‘vlc-record’ followed by the date. From there, you can rename the file to whatever you want. That’s how to use the VLC player to trim a video on your Windows PC.

How to use VLC to trim videos on Mac

VLC trim videos on Macs are just as simple to create. Use these step-by-step instructions to learn how to trim videos in VLC on Mac.

Step 1. Get the software

First, download the software from the VideoLAN website. On the page, be sure to click the down arrow next to the link and select ‘Mac’ from the dropdown list. Then install and open it.

Go to the VideoLAN website

Step 2. Add the video to the playlist or open it

Next, to open the file you want to trim, drop and drag the file into your VLC playlist and the video should start playing automatically. If it doesn’t, you can just double-click the video to start it.

You can also click the File dropdown menu at the top of the player and then click Open File or hit Command + O on your keyboard. Either option will open a file browser window where you can find the video file you want to trim.

Step 3. Trim the clip

Find the starting point in your video where you want to trim by using your mouse and the scroll bar just below the media window to find the perfect starting point, or by playing the video to this point using the Play button or space bar.

Next, click Playback at the top of your screen and then Record from the dropdown menu or hit Option + Command + R if you want to use the shortcut keys. Then hit the Play button or spacebar to play your video to the point where you want to stop and pause the video. Repeat the Playback step to stop the recording.

Step 4. Locate the trimmed clip

Your trimmed clip file should start with ‘vlc-record’ and will be located in your Movies folder by default unless you’ve changed your settings in the VLC Preferences menu.

Summary

Using your VLC player to trim videos is an easy process if you’re a little familiar with the options and menus within the VLC media player. But if you’re not, just follow these steps on how to trim videos in VLC, and you have cut videos set up in no time.

Ben Jacklin

Ben is a writer from the UK with qualifications in Media and Music Technology, he specialises in software reviews and tutorials. Ben has been blogging about media and tech subjects since he was a teenager from his base in the East of England.

* The free version of Movavi Video Editor Plus has the following restrictions: 7-day trial period, watermark on the output videos, and, if you’re saving a project as an audio file, an ability to save only half the audio length. Learn more

Frequently asked questions

Can I trim a video in VLC on a Mac?

Absolutely. Besides the video playback option, VLC also offers a bunch of editing features, including trimming.

Is trimming videos on VLC free?

Yes, the VLC media player is both open source and free. That includes all editing functions. There’s no extra charge or add-ons.

Сan I save a trimmed video in VLC?

Yes. When you stop your recording, the file will automatically save in the default video folder on your Windows PC or Mac. You can also set your preferences to direct the cut videos to save at another preferred location.