Best quality export for preserving clipped video footage for editing later?

I’m a bit new when it comes to using my own recorded source material for video editing.

What I’m doing is recording my own drum videos and I need to delete the unwanted footage to preserve harddrive space, and, most importantly I need to save/ preserve the good footage so it can be used as the source for other Shotcut projects.

I’ve searched through the forums and it has been recommended that lossless/H.264 is the highest quality export for preserving footage for later editing. However, I was hoping someone could lend a confirmation or maybe a little extra input/direction about this before I delete a 12 gb video file.

The video is from a GoPro that is clipped to a microphone stand above my drums.
Codec: H.264
Resolution: 1920x1080
Frame Rate: 29.970030

More specifically what I’m doing is recording 30 minute drum sessions of myself and capturing it both on video and the Midi data. I’m not a very polished or disciplined drummer, though, and a lot of the recording is trash. I just finished editing the midi data of my first recording and I’m only keeping 2 minutes of a 30 minute recording.

So, from a 30 minute (~12gb) video recording – I only need to preserve/export 2 minutes of various clips and I need to delete the rest of the video to clear space so that I can keep this process of recording happening. I was hoping to hear input on the best/ ideal quality export for preserving video footage like this for future projects.

Any input, direction, or a link to read is sincerely appreciated!

Best case scenario is to use the Extract sub-clip in the properties panel (the 3 horizontal lines menu). This way it is the exact original footage and it extracts it almost instantly, with no need for conversion.

Anything else will either lower quality or increase filesize.


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Thank you! This is exactly what I want to do. I just saved my first sub-clip and it is 17 mb – exactly what I need sitting in my folders for later projects, not a 12 gb file.

However, and, this is definitely much more a technical questions regarding Extract Sub-Clip, but, the extracted Sub-clip I created has a bit of a problem. I pulled it into it’s own track right above the original selected clip and it’s not the same.

  1. The duration of the Extract Sub-clip is one frame shorter in duration of the selected clip.
  2. The timeline is late by 14 frames (I re-aligned it to the audio).

I included a couple screen shot illustrations:

I restarted the program a few times. Deleted the file and tried a few extra times and it’s the same issue each time.

If anyone reading this can see what I’m doing wrong, or, can suggest a few troubleshooting ideas - it is sincerely appreciated. The Extract Sub-clip feature is exactly what I need - I just need it to copy the exact selected clip.

It is not frame accurate; it is best effort. With material that has interframe compression like most video today including GoPro, it is impossible to make it frame accurate without transcoding (Shotcut can do that too). You should extract a margin of a few seconds before and after the desired points. Then, should you decide to use them in an edit at a later point, it gives you some flexibility including for within a transition.

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I finished extracting 15 different clips using Extract Sub-clip and I found that a margin of 15 frames before and after the desired points worked consistently. Some of the clips ended up having a bit more extra footage than desired but you’re correct that it won’t hurt if needed for a transition.

12 GB video file is now down to 422 MB.

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