Free Video Dub trims videos while preserving quality

Most video editors make it easy enough to delete the unwanted sections of a movie. Choose your start and end points, click "Cut" (or something similar), and repeat as required -- easy.

The problem comes about when you save the trimmed footage, because if your editor reencodes the file then it’s going to lose quality. What you really need is a tool like Free Video Dub, which cuts movies down to size without reencoding, producing videos which are just as crisp and clear as the originals.

As usual with DVDVideoSoft products, Free Video Dub tries to install a toolbar and other "extras" along with its own files. This can be avoided, but you need to pay attention, choose the "Custom Installation" options as they appear, and decide exactly what you want on your PC.

With setup out of the way, though, Free Video Dub finally appears. The program has a very basic interface, with no menus -- just about everything you need is presented on a single toolbar.

To begin you must first open a video (MPG, MOV, MP4, FLV, AVI and other formats are supported). You can then browse through the video, clicking the "Trim Left" and "Trim Right" buttons to define an unwanted section, before pressing X to delete it. Repeat this for as many times as you like, click "Save Video" when you’re done, and Free Video Dub saves the trimmed version of the file.

It’s not always as simple as that, of course. The first problem appeared when we tried using the toolbar buttons to step frame by frame through our test video; the program actually moved in half second increments, instead. Drag the selector with the mouse and you have a little more control, but this still isn’t quite as precise as we’d like.

There’s also a built-in scene detection tool, which in theory at least can identify new video scenes for you. Would that help? No, not really: Free Video Dub locked up when we first used it, and even when the scene detector worked, we still only saw the same half second resolution.

Still, with a little care and time we were able to successfully trim a range of MPG, MOV, FLV, MP4 and WEBM videos, and the saved files all played as expected (unwanted sections were trimmed, audio remained synchronized, and so on). Free Video Dub needs plenty of work -- the ability to easily select by frame is essential -- but if you can live with more approximate cuts then the program is simple and straightforward to use.

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