Trimming Videos with MPEG StreamClip

MPEG Streamclip is a handy free software tool that we find is very useful for marking and saving clips from video files- this can be more efficient that trying to split it in movie editing software; but more so, sometimes you may need only 20 seconds from a video, so it can save you from filling up a video project with a large mass of files.

In this tutorial we highlight the basic steps of marking, trimming, and saving video clips.

Doing the Trim

I've had mixed success in opeing YouTube URLs directly in MPEG Streamclip (Open URL from the File menu), so you might want to refer to our previous tutorial on downloading YouTube videos as MP4 files. If you have the file on your computer, you can open it into MPEG Streamclip.

The program acts like a video player, what you want to do is use the player controls or move the playhead to the point where you want to mark the beginning of the segment you want, the "In" point. You can use the Edit -> Select In' or just press "i" on your keyboard to mark this point, then use Edit -> Select Out; or just press "o" on your keyboard to mark this point.

Then, select Edit -> Trim and the video is replaced by just that sequence. You can repeat this process to zero on on the exact segment you wish to keep; you can also select in and out points in the middle if you want to remove a segment (I have done this when say, I want only one side of a dialogue).

Once the clip is marked as precisely as you need, simply use File -> Save As to save it as a new MP4 file- this is both quicker and more easy to do than any of the export options, which involve numerous video setting adjustments.

Now here is the neat part, you have not really changed the video file at all; if you select Edit -> Revert All Changes, the clip is restored and you can repeat the process on another section of the video.

Some other things you can do with this program is open a series of saved video files, and it will assemble them in the order of their file names- essentially you are using MPEG Streamclip as a simple video editor when you are just combining clips. Also, the File -> Export Frame option is handy to save single frames from movies (e.g. for making animated GIFs).

For some other ways to use MPEG Streamclip see:


  1. Steve Sherron

    September 5, 2013

    Thank you, this was helpful. I didn’t want to pull in large video files into my editor when just a short clip will suffice.

  2. fred

    September 9, 2013

    I tried to create a trimmed video (MP4) I did not select IN since I wanted to save the MP4 from its beginning to a select OUT point which I chose. chose TRIM saved it as an MP4. I am familiar with MPEG Streamclip but was bit sure of the next step. Do I click start below the file or choose a step in File or Edit . Please clarify if you have time. Thank you..Fred Troiano

    P.S. Excellent app to trim if I get it right.

  3. cogdog

    September 9, 2013

    Fred- if you play to the part you want the outpoint, and press “o” or mark the output, it assumes the in point is the start.

    When you select “Trim” from the “edit” menu, you are looking at a clip that is just that segment. You can continue to do in/out points and trim to get to the point that is just the clip you want (you can also mark in/out points in the middle to remove parts you don’t want.

    The goal is get something in that trim window which is just the stuff you want. I suggest you just the do a “Save As” to get a video file as mp4 (or mov) that you can import to another editor.

    If you want to make more trims from the same original clip, just select “Revert All Changes” from the “Edit” menu and you can create a new trim.

    That is all I use MPEGStreamClip for, making smaller clips. It’;s not much of an editor.

  4. Vlad

    November 20, 2013

    Hello guys! I am writing you from Romania and I encounter a strange problem: having set the IN and OUT points, the file that is exported as .mov is back, meaning no image whatsoever. What do I do wrong? Thank you!

    • cogdog

      November 20, 2013

      Did you go to Edit — Trim to shorten the clip?

      • Vlad

        November 20, 2013

        I did try 3 options:
        1. In and Out points
        2. Cut
        3. Trim
        In all three cases the end result is black screen…

        • cogdog

          November 20, 2013

          Hmmm, I am stumped. What is the source video? I’ve never seen this happen before but do not discount its happening.

          Most of my uses of MPEG are from mp4s downloaded from YouTube.

          • Vlad

            November 20, 2013

            Indeed, it’s a very strange behaviour!
            The source of the video it’s a car camera „Prestigio RoadRunner 511” and the output of the cam are .avi files.

  5. cogdog

    November 21, 2013

    I dont work with AVI except in unusual circumstances; MPWG Streamclip is supposed to be able to help, but it might be a format issue. I guess you could try one of the online converters to make it MP4 or WMV and see if that makes a difference… probably more trouble at this point than it is worth.

    • Vlad

      November 21, 2013

      Yes, it might be that! The interesting thing is that if I wanna export the entire file, it works brilliant, but the end file is huge and I just wanted to avoid that. But I guess I will have to go that way. Thank you!

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