Cutting the videos based on start and end time using ffmpeg

Try using this. It is the fastest and best ffmpeg-way I have figure it out:

 ffmpeg -ss 00:01:00 -to 00:02:00  -i input.mp4 -c copy output.mp4

This command trims your video in seconds!

Explanation of the command:

-i: This specifies the input file. In that case, it is (input.mp4).
-ss: Used with -i, this seeks in the input file (input.mp4) to position.
00:01:00: This is the time your trimmed video will start with.
-to: This specifies duration from start (00:01:40) to end (00:02:12).
00:02:00: This is the time your trimmed video will end with.
-c copy: This is an option to trim via stream copy. (NB: Very fast)

The timing format is: hh:mm:ss

Please note that the current highly upvoted answer is outdated and the trim would be extremely slow. For more information, look at this official ffmpeg article.

Here's what I use and will only take a few seconds to run:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -ss 01:19:27 -to 02:18:51 -c:v copy -c:a copy output.mp4

Reference: Trim video files using FFmpeg by Alexander Refsum Jensenius.

Generated mp4 files could also be used in iMovie. More info related to get the full duration using get_duration(input_video) model.

If you want to concatenate multiple cut scenes you can use following Python script:

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import subprocess

def get_duration(input_video):
    cmd = ["ffprobe", "-i", input_video, "-show_entries", "format=duration",
           "-v", "quiet", "-sexagesimal", "-of", "csv=p=0"]
    return subprocess.check_output(cmd).decode("utf-8").strip()

def main():
    name = "input.mkv"
    times = []
    times.append(["00:00:00", "00:00:10"])
    times.append(["00:06:00", "00:07:00"])
    # times = [["00:00:00", get_duration(name)]]
    if len(times) == 1:
        time = times[0]
        cmd = ["ffmpeg", "-i", name, "-ss", time[0], "-to", time[1], "-c:v", "copy", "-c:a", "copy", "output.mp4"]
        open('concatenate.txt', 'w').close()
        for idx, time in enumerate(times):
            output_filename = f"output{idx}.mp4"
            cmd = ["ffmpeg", "-i", name, "-ss", time[0], "-to", time[1], "-c:v", "copy", "-c:a", "copy", output_filename]

            with open("concatenate.txt", "a") as myfile:
                myfile.write(f"file {output_filename}\n")

        cmd = ["ffmpeg", "-f", "concat", "-i", "concatenate.txt", "-c", "copy", "output.mp4"]
        output = subprocess.check_output(cmd).decode("utf-8").strip()

if __name__ == "__main__":

Example script will cut and merge scenes in between 00:00:00 - 00:00:10 and 00:06:00 - 00:07:00.

If you want to cut the complete video (in case if you want to convert mkv format into mp4) just uncomment the following line:

# times = [["00:00:00", get_duration(name)]]

ffmpeg -i movie.mp4 -ss 00:00:03 -t 00:00:08 -async 1 -c copy cut.mp4 

Use -c copy for make in instantly. In that case ffmpeg will not re-encode video, just will cut to according size.

You probably do not have a keyframe at the 3 second mark. Because non-keyframes encode differences from other frames, they require all of the data starting with the previous keyframe.

With the mp4 container it is possible to cut at a non-keyframe without re-encoding using an edit list. In other words, if the closest keyframe before 3s is at 0s then it will copy the video starting at 0s and use an edit list to tell the player to start playing 3 seconds in.

If you are using the latest ffmpeg from git master it will do this using an edit list when invoked using the command that you provided. If this is not working for you then you are probably either using an older version of ffmpeg, or your player does not support edit lists. Some players will ignore the edit list and always play all of the media in the file from beginning to end.

If you want to cut precisely starting at a non-keyframe and want it to play starting at the desired point on a player that does not support edit lists, or want to ensure that the cut portion is not actually in the output file (for example if it contains confidential information), then you can do that by re-encoding so that there will be a keyframe precisely at the desired start time. Re-encoding is the default if you do not specify copy. For example:

ffmpeg -i movie.mp4 -ss 00:00:03 -t 00:00:08 -async 1 cut.mp4

When re-encoding you may also wish to include additional quality-related options or a particular AAC encoder. For details, see ffmpeg's x264 Encoding Guide for video and AAC Encoding Guide for audio.

Also, the -t option specifies a duration, not an end time. The above command will encode 8s of video starting at 3s. To start at 3s and end at 8s use -t 5. If you are using a current version of ffmpeg you can also replace -t with -to in the above command to end at the specified time.