1. Overview

In this article, we’ll discuss the different GUI utilities to trim audio and video files in Linux. We’ll explore the strengths of each trimming tool and highlight the best use cases for them.

2. Video Trimmer

Video Trimmer is a GNOME-based application to quickly trim videos without re-encoding. By default, it’s not installed in GNOME. So we’ll need to download it.

2.1. Installation

Usually, we install it from a software store like Ubuntu Software Centre, where we can install it as a Snap:

Video Trimmer in Ubuntu Software

Alternatively, we can also use the snap tool:

$ sudo snap install video-trimmer

Similarly, we can also install it as Flatpak. However, we need to add the Flathub repository first:

$ flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

Now, we install it from Flathub:

$ flatpak install org.gnome.gitlab.YaLTeR.VideoTrimmer

2.2. Trimming a Video

Once installed, it should be available in the applications menu. Upon launching, we’ll be presented with a simple user interface:

Video Trimmer Main View

Let’s open a video file by clicking the “Open Video” button or pressing Ctrl+O. Then, we can visually select the start and end of the clip by arranging the markers:

Video Trimmer: Trim Operation

Alternatively, we can also put the times ourselves into the text boxes.

Once set, we can save the clip by pressing the “Trim” button, which displays the save dialog to save the clip, as well as toggle a couple of additional options for the file.

3. LosslessCut

LosslessCut is a cross-platform tool for cutting media files. It’s very simple to use yet very effective at performing basic operations without any quality loss. Unlike Video Trimmer, LosslessCut is quite comprehensive.

However, it’s built using Electron, which often has a reputation for being heavy on resources. So, on older computers, we might want to use something else.

3.1. Installation

The easy way to install LosslessCut is from Snap Store or Flathub:

# Snap Store
$ sudo snap install losslesscut

# Flathub
$ flatpak install no.mifi.losslesscut

After installation, we can launch it from the applications menu.

3.2. Trimming Media Files

Once we launch the program, we go to File → Open to open a local audio or a video file. LosslessCut displays a preview of the media file along with the playback and trimming controls.

In the seek bar, we set the position for the start and end of the clip:

LosslessCut: Trim Video

Afterward, we select the “Export” button to save the clip with our configured output options.

4. Plumber

Plumber is a video manipulation tool that lets us trim videos as well as convert them to GIFs. In addition to manipulating local files, it can trim online videos from YouTube and supported websites. It does so without downloading the entire video, thereby saving us a lot of bandwidth.

4.1. Installation

Officially, it’s only available in the Snap Store:

$ sudo snap install plumber

If Snap isn’t an option, then we can build it from source.

4.2. Initial Config

On the first launch, Plumber prompts us to download the Plumber engine, which enables it to trim online videos. The Plumber engine depends on the famous youtube-dl tool. Let’s go ahead and click “OK“:

Plumber: Download Engine

Afterward, it displays the output and encoding settings. In the panel, we’ll select “Copy the container of media (Fast)” to quickly trim local files. However, online videos will be re-encoded either way. Apart from this, we can also set the GIF encoding options:

Plumber: Encoding Settings

4.3. Trimming and Exporting

Once we’re done setting up, we can paste a video link in the URL input. Then, we press the “Start” button to let Plumber probe the video on the Internet. It downloads the necessary metadata for the video:

Plumber: Probe Video

Afterward, we can adjust the clip slider by dragging the start and end markers. Then, we can optionally select the destination. Next, we select the output type, which we set to “Gif“:

Plumber: Clip Video

Once we’re set, we press “Clip” to trim and then export the clip as a GIF.

5. Pitivi

We looked at very basic tools that were solely designed for trimming video and audio files. Now, we’ll explore a somewhat advanced tool that gives us more control.

Pitivi provides an intuitive interface to edit video and audio files. Not only can it trim audio and video files, but it can also join multiple clips, apply effects and filters, crop clips, and more.

5.1. Installation

Pitivi is available in most official package repositories under its canonical name pitivi:

$ sudo apt install -y pitivi

Alternatively, we can also install it from Flathub:

$ flatpak install flathub org.pitivi.Pitivi

5.2. Using Pitivi

We can launch Pitivi from the application menu. It presents us with a Welcome screen where we either create or open an existing project:

Pitivi: Welcome Screen

We’ll go with “New” to create a new project. Pitivi opens the editor window, where we’ll import the required media files that we need to trim:

Pitivi: Import Media

Once we press “Import“, we’ll select the video using the file picker. The video will be placed in the “Media Library“, from which we’ll drag the video to the timeline.

In the timeline, we seek the start position by clicking the right mouse button and, then clicking the cut button:

Pitivi: Start Position

Similarly, we seek to the end position of the clip and click cut:

Pitivi: End Position

Next, let’s remove all the other clips by selecting them and pressing the Delete button on the keyboard. This step is important because we don’t want any other bits of the video rendered in the final clip:

Pitivi: Final Clip

We save this clip by rendering the project. So, we simply click the “Render” button on the title bar:

Pitivi: Render Button

Pitivi displays a render dialog where we configure the encoding options:

Pitivi: Render Dialog

Once everything is set, we press the “Render” button to begin the render process.

6. Conclusion

In this article, we saw how to trim video and audio files using the GUI tools available for Linux distributions. We also learned that each of these tools provides different user interfaces, but the pattern for trimming media files is quite similar.

Apart from that, we also explored the different uses for each tool.

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