Video Editing Tools: An Introduction to Mencoder

Mencoder is one of several video editing tools that are available for converting files free of charge. Mencoder offers free video decoding of the command line type, with encoding and filtering options. It was released through the GNU General Public License. Mencoder is very closely related to MPlayer, and is able to convert all of the formats MPlayer understands into various compressed or uncompressed formats by using different codecs. Mencoder is included in MPlayer's distribution.


Since it is created from the same code as MPlayer, Mencoder is able to read all of the same files that Mplayer can decode, and it supports every filter that the other uses too. It's normal practice to use MPlayer to view the output of most filters, or indeed all of them through a pipeline, before Mencoder is run. If the system being used is somehow unable to process everything in real time, the audio can easily be disabled using the "no sound" command that will allow a comfortable viewing of the filtering results.


With Mencode, it is possible to copy video and/or audio that's unchanged into an output file in order to avoid losing quality due to the re-encoding process. This is useful if you need to modify the video or audio, or just to place video/audio information into different container formats.

Because it uses the same code as MPlayer, it features a very large number of configurable audio and video files filters that will transform the audio and video stream. Filters included allow you to flip content vertically, mirror content horizontally, crop and scale. Others help you to expand in order to create letterboxes, adjust contrast and brightness, rotate, alter the aspect ratio of pixels, convert color space, manipulate saturation and hue, and allow for Gamma correction that is color specific.

Other filters allow you to reduce the visibility of any features brought about as a result of conversion and compression from MPEG. There are automatic contrast and enhancement capabilities, blurring and sharpness correction, de-noising filters and several filters that allow for the reversal of telecine and deinterlacing. 


Mencoder is such a powerful tool, with so many added options and features, that it would be incredibly difficult to cover them all in detail. Converting media files is important in so many ways that having a tool such as Mencoder at your disposal can be seen as essential.

Mencoder is versatile in that it makes a wide range of things possible, from isolating background music from YouTube videos to recording your favorite show on TV. It's easy to see that failing to have a tool like Mencoder at your disposal would amount to a serious deficiency if you need to covert media files, and the conversion of all kinds of media is now an integral part of the way digital media translates to the Internet and into culture in general.

As a command line tool, there aren't many things that Mencoder cannot accomplish for you. With the codec installed on your system, you'll be able to convert most files with ease. Mencoder is simply an invaluable tool that you can use all the time.