A really nice-looking video editing program for Microsoft Windows.

Have you ever worked with desktop video?

Sure, you've probably played a few video clips on your monitor. But have you ever made one yourself? Used a video capture device? Wrestled with the software that comes with it? Felt like the software is a few leagues above or below your level? Time to try something else.

- hype in the home page

This is what I call "see-what-they-want-and-provide-them-that" marketing. Personally, I sort of liked the video editing package (Studio PCTV - I assume this is properly called a lighter version of Pinnacle Studio) that came with my video capture card; it had a very intuitive user interface. Yet, it was buggy when capturing video, and refused to do things and didn't tell me why it was behaving like it was. Worst of yet, it originally worked but didn't seem to be able to do that now!

So I tried VirtualDub. The cool thing was that all capture settings could be tweaked much more detailedly than in that other program, it had much more detailed capture screen - it showed data flow rates, CPU usage, total amout of captured data, free disk space, number dropped frames...

The basic operation - editing parts out of the footage, merging two parts, applying filters, and so on - seems fairly straightforward. It's fast too. The interface is fairly minimal, but it's more than enough.

The filters are pretty nice. It comes with many, many nice filters, everything from basic resizing to color adjustments and such. What's interesting is that the image that "goes in" to the plugin can be cropped any time. There's also support for filter plugins - many people have made some outstanding plugins, of which I have so far found the Subtitler (insert subtitles based on SSA scripts) and fxVHS (fix crappy video material) to be very useful.

I particularly like its ability to use "Direct stream copy" and "Fast/Normal recompress" options. I can capture stuff, remove parts from the captured file, and save it as is with same codec - or quickly recompress with some other.

If there's one bad thing to say... as said in the home page, it's not really an editing program, and doesn't have any nonlinear editing features. Merging and splicing clips is pretty hard, it only supports merging two clips. There's no effects or transitions of any kind, not even fades! No audio editing (apart of saving the clip's audio as .wav and modifying it on some other program). I'll leave the NLE ideas for Pinnacle Studio...

There are some things that I really would like to see that would benefit its current mode of operation: There is no framerate change option (apart of frame decimation and serious messing of a/v synch) - this would be great. Also, support for audio plugins would be nice - it'd be pretty nice to have a "volume normalize" plugin, for example, so that I would not need to recycle the audio through audio editing app. (speaking of which, the current version has a bug regarding use of .wav soundtrack when cutting video...)

Back to the good things. Overall, I'd say VirtualDub is extremely good program for capture, correction and rough editing of video clips.

The best part? It's distributed under GPL. Another great victory for Open Sourcefree software.

VirtualDub was written by Avery Lee.


VirtualDub is more of a video processing program than an editing program. This is supported by a quote from the VirtualDub website:

There are lots of programs that let you "edit" video. And yet, they're frustratingly complex for some of the simplest tasks. VirtualDub isn't an editor application; it's a pre- and post-processor that works as a valuable companion to one.


VirtualDub has some of the same features as many video editing applications, such as video capture support and rudimentary linear cut & paste editing. However, VirtualDub was never intended to be a nonlinear editing application, so it's really unfair to compare it to software such as Adobe Premiere or Pinnacle Studio.

As a video processor, VirtualDub is untouched by any other program I've used. It comes with a set of optimized video filters for resizing, sharpening, deinterlacing, cropping, etc. and you can write your own filters to enable it to perform an unlimited number of video processing tasks. Basically, anything you can feasibly do to video (and, to a large extent, audio) can be done with VirtualDub. In addition, it has real-time previewing of output and is extremely optimized, which is good for those of us with little patience.

VirtualDub is open source software and is distributed under the GPL. You can download binaries and source code (Windows-only) from http://www.virtualdub.org/.

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