In reality, VirtualDub has a lot of potential for the price tag it holds. It might not be a fully-featured Adobe Premiere alternative, but it certainly can accomplish more than a few tasks that you might think you need other separate applications for.
Let’s examine some of the features VirtualDub offers that might get you uploading your next video to YouTube pretty soon!
Splitting, Extracting & Joining AVI Files Without Re-encoding
VirtualDub has the ability to save a portion of an AVI video file that you have selected with the position slider, provided you’re in Direct Stream Copy mode in both the Video and Audio menus.
You can easily split videos this way or extract portions to be saved as new files.
Here’s another easy one-page tutorial on how to split videos with VirtualDub. To join files, open your first video, then head to File > Append AVI segment.
For more, check out the easy tutorial Merge Multiple Video Files with VirtualDub.
To crop inside the video, first check that you’re in Full Processing mode and then click on Video > Filters. You’ll notice that there’s a Cropping button that’s not quite clickable (because it’s only enabled after you have chosen a filter).
We’ll add a dummy filter (click Add and choose Null Transform) which doesn’t do anything, but will ungray the Cropping button now.
In the Filter input cropping dialog box, you can experiment by typing any numbers to see what covers up the part you wish to crop.
In my case, I’m looking to crop the black bars above and below the video.
Cropping the black bars will change the dimensions and quality of the video, so I will use the resize filter to change the cropped video to the original video’s resolution.
Since the quality will be affected, even YouTube recommends to just use the original resolution.
Saving AVI As Animated GIF
There’s not a whole lot of free animated GIF utilities, perhaps because GIFs are old-school, but I still find GIF animations useful to illustrate articles. This is especially true when the steps I’m trying to illustrate aren’t long enough to make a video out of them.
So after you’ve loaded your video, getting your GIF animation is as easy as selecting the portion of the video you want to save by moving the slider (which is even an optional step if you want the whole movie as a GIF file), heading to File > Export and selecting Animated GIF.
You can choose whether your GIF animation will play once, infinitely or a set number of times.
The tool’s not perfect as I’ve been able to get a perfect-looking GIF animation after a lot of trial and error, but the shorter (fewer frames) your video selection is, the better the GIF might turn out.
Saving JPEG/PNG/BMP Snapshots From A Video To A Folder Or The Clipboard
This is very useful if you want to get thumbnails from your video. The steps are identical to those from the previous section, with the exception that you’ll export the selected portion of the video as an Image Sequence.
Before you do this though, it’s preferable to create a new folder so you can contain all of your images there because there’s no option in VirtualDub to make a new folder when you’re choosing your target folder.
If you’re interested in getting a single snapshot from a scene in the video and editing it in, say, Paint, you can easily use the slider to position it at the right scene, press Ctrl + 1 or head to Video > Copy source frame to clipboard.
You can then open up Paint or another image editing application and paste the image in. If you have applied any filters to the video, pressing Ctrl + 2 will get you a snapshot with the applied filters.
Achieving A Zooming Effect
What would take 3 effects (Zoom In, Zoom/Focus, and Zoom Out) and splitting the file 3 times in Windows Movie Maker to achieve a smooth zooming effect, VirtualDub can do with a simple filter from the VirtualDub filter site. Download the filter and add the .vdf file to VirtualDub’s Plugins folder (usually at C:\Program Files\VirtualDub\plugins, but if you don’t have that plugins subdirectory, just create one).
Here’s a great video tutorial (made by smokscren, which is where I learned this) on how to use it:
Basically, in Full Processing mode, add the zoom (1.2) filter.
You’ll get this screen, where you can choose the duration in frames for zooming in (Phase 1) and zooming out (Phase 2).
In my case, , I’m setting it so that the zooming in will occur from frame 0 to frame 100 (will start at the original view of 100% and then end at 300% zoomed in). I’ve also set the zooming out in Phase 2 to go from 300% view back to the original view (100%) starting from frame 200, lasting all the way through frame 300. That means between frames 100 and 200, the video will stay zoomed in.
Hit the Show Preview button to display the video with the applied effect. Easy peasy.
Adding A Transparent Image Or Logo
You’ll be able to select any 24-bit bitmap file and drag it around the video using the X,Y sliders.
If your image has a black transparent background (like the next screenshot), you can type all zeros under Transparent color.
Type 255 in all of the Red, Green and Blue boxes when your image has a white background.
Embedding Subtitles Permanently
If you have figured out how to create subtitles or you have downloaded some from subtitle search engines, you can use VirtualDub along with the TextSub filter to embed them in your movie permanently, in what is called hardsubbing. Here’s a very detailed guide on how to do it.
If you’re using VirtualDub as your sole video editor, you could always ‘add’ text to your video by embedding it in the form of a subtitle file.
There’s a whole lot of filters that would make VirtualDub a super video editor but we didn’t cover here. If you know of any, enlighten us in the comments!