How to Trim a Video in VLC Player [If You Really Want to]

VLC is a versatile media player. It even allows trimming videos with some effort. Here's how to do it.
Warp Terminal

VLC media player is one of the best media players out there. This cross-platform player is feature rich and it can literally play any media format that’s available.

You’ll be surprised to know that VLC is much more than just a video player. It can do a lot of things with your media files.

Downloading YouTube video with VLC is one of the VLC tips we have shared on It’s FOSS.

Let me share another one with you. How about trimming a video with VLC? It’s not the best way to trim videos but it is available as an option.

Trim videos using VLC

Trimming a video in VLC essentially means recording the video from the beginning to end of the required portion. The recording control tools are usually not visible in the VLC panel by default.

Let me show the steps in detail.

Step 1: Enable advanced controls

To get the controls, you need to make it visible on the main control panel.

First select the view option and then check the Advanced controls check box. Now, a new row of controls with a couple of buttons appears as shown in the screenshot.

enable advanced controls view in vlc player
Enable advanced controls view in VLC player

Step 2: Open the video

In order to trim a video, you need to open it in VLC. You can either open the video in VLC player by Media > Open File:

open media file through vlc file menu
Open media file through VLC file menu

Or you can open the video file with VLC from Nautilus file manager:

open media file with vlc player from nautilus file manager
Open media file with VLC player from Nautilus file manager

Step 3: Trim video using VLC’s recording feature

Once video file is opened, set the timeline to the starting point of the required output and pause the video. After that, press the record button and play the video.

pause at start point and start record by pressing record button
Pause at start point and start record by pressing record button

When the end point of the required output is reached, pause the video and press the record button again to stop recording.

pause at end point and press record
Pause at end point and press record

This should save the trimmed output to your ~/Videos directory.

original and trimmed file in nautilus file manager
Original and trimmed file in Nautilus file manager

Troubleshooting: Unrecognized Output File

VLC records the videos in .ts file format. This is supported in VLC, and you can use that as you want. But many other players in Ubuntu, including the native video player doesn’t recognize the format. So, in this case, there are two solutions.

Gnome-Video prompts Installation of GStreamer package

When you try to open the file, GNOME-Videos will prompt an error and suggestion to install Gstreamer multimedia codecs.

converted video shows a play error in gnome video player app
Converted video shows a play error in GNOME video player app

You can click on the “Find in Ubuntu Software” button as shown above, which will open ubuntu software center. There you can install the required codec package.

install gstreamer from software as prompted by the gnome video player
Install GStreamer Multimedia Codecs from software as prompted by the GNOME video player

Install the same and open the video with Gnome-videos again will solve the problem.

Convert the Video file using VLC

If you don’t want to install any additional packages for the purpose, you can use VLC itself to convert the .ts file to mp4 format to play in any other player.

For this, open VLC and select Convert option under File menu.

select convert from media menu
Select convert from media menu

Now, provide the location of the file that needs to be converted using the “Add” button and select Convert/Save as shown in the screenshot.

select file to convert in the media convert dialog box
Select file to convert in the media convert dialog box

Select the required output profile (MP4) and set a file name for the output and press Start.

set conversion profiles and output file name in vlc media convert menu
Set conversion profiles and output file name in VLC media convert menu

This will start the conversion and will be completed as per the duration of the source. Once done, you can access the converted output from your ~/Videos directory.

original trimmed and converted file in nautilus file manager
Original trimmed and converted file in nautilus file manager

Wrapping Up

While it is true that VLC player can be used to trim videos, the entire process is in no way similar to a dedicated video editor.

The biggest issue is that you need to watch the entire trim portion to complete the trimming, which is not convenient if you are trimming a large portion of a video spanning several minutes.

Anyway, this cool feature can be a handy tool on some occasions, where you only want to trim a small clip or make a gif from a movie scene.

About the author


Linux tinkerer by day, Lord of the Rings fanatic by night. When I'm not busy conquering the command line, you can find me kicking back and watching some football while quoting JRR Tolkien

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