Export settings that keep the source material properties

Hello there,

I’ve recently installed Shotcut and I am in the process of learning how to navigate the software. I’ve been watching a lot of tutorials on YouTube but I’m unable to find a video that answers this question -

How do I export a video while keeping the exact same properties of the source video?

A little insight into what I am trying to do… I have some 60+ video files of various lengths, and I am trying to edit each one down to the exact content I want to work with. For example, I have a video that is like 20 minutes long, however there is only 15 seconds of the video that I actually want to keep and use. Now, I know that I can import the file into Shotcut and then add it to the timeline, then use the ‘split at playhead’ and remove the part(s) that I don’t want, but the problem is is that I still have this big source file sitting on my hard drive.

So this is what I want to do - I want to import each source file one at a time separately, and edit each one individually on it’s own down to the exact content I want to work with… and export these as new individual source files to work with. This way I can free up a lot of space on my hard drive by cutting down unnecessary video, and the act of ‘snapping’ the clips together will be cleaner.

I already know how to edit my source material down to what I want to keep, but when going to export the video I’m at a loss as to what settings to pick in order to keep the exact same properties of the original source material. It would be really nice if there was an option that said ‘same as source’ when exporting. Actually, there may already be something like that but I can’t see it. Can anyone help me accomplish what I’m trying to do in regards to same as source export quality?

Try the lossless exports.

Hi Sauron,

Thanks for the suggestion. I saw the lossless options initially, but they confused me because when I selected them several of the resulting values within various fields seemed ‘off’ to me. For example, when I choose lossless/H.264 the resolution gets changed to something different than the source, the Frames/second are halved, the rate control is set to quality-based VBR when I’m pretty certain the video is of constant bit rate (not sure how I would verify this). The same goes with the other lossless options, various fields have values which do not represent the original source. Yes, I guess I could go into each field and manually set the values, but there are a bunch of fields whose purpose I don’t fully understand… this is why I was hoping for a ‘same as source’ option.

Can anyone explain how to go about achieving same as source quality when exporting?

Shotcut does not provide this, but if you know what you are doing with respect to encoding, you can approximate quite closely yourself. Basically, it goes like this:

  1. inspect your source using Shotcut, ffprobe, or Media Info
  2. choose the closest preset in Shotcut > Export
  3. customize the Export settings to better match what you discovered in step 1.

Hi Shotcut Leader,

Oh, darn. That’s unfortunate.

I do have Media Info and I was trying to best approximate the values manually last night, but I’m admittedly lacking knowledge on the subject of encoding. This has been a learning experience for sure. I set the major fields (Frames/second, resolution, aspect ratio, codec etc.) to what I was able to see in Media Info, but there are fields in the export section of Shotcut that aren’t represented in Media Info… for example rate control, GOP, b frames etc. so I have no idea what I’m doing there.

The resulting export I made looked good, but ran extremely slow, like it was in slow-motion, almost like the computer was having a hard time running it or something (I could be misinterpreting that). All of the major values were similar to what the source file has, so I’m stumped.

May I ask, are you one of the developers of Shotcut? If so, would you ever consider adding a ‘same as source’ option to the export function? If the answer is ‘no,’ may I ask why?

In the meantime, do you happen to know of any video editing software that has a ‘same as source’ export function? I really like using Shotcut so far and I’ll continue to use it for the construction of my project, but I’m very much in need of a tool that will allow me to pare down unnecessarily large source files in order to create and export new source files with original source quality. Thanks for your time.

Which source? This is multi-track with a mix of different clips, images, audio files, and generators. Perhaps some day you can choose a particular clip’s encoding attributes to mimic.
As an alternative, try VidCutter:

When I say ‘same as source’ I am talking about an individual source file. Media Info can read all of the attributes of an individual source file and display them. In fact, I think Shotcut has this same ability except maybe not so comprehensive.

So what I am asking for is for Shotcut to read the attributes of a single source file and then automatically fill in all of the fields in the export section with those same attributes. For example: Imagine a new empty instance of Shotcut, nothing added to it. I then add a single mp4 file to the timeline. The video is 5 minutes long but I only want 15 seconds of the footage, so I ‘split at playhead’ and remove the unwanted parts. I then want to export this newly edited single instance in order to create a new smaller, more streamlined source file. Shotcut would then recognize that I’m working with a single file and a ‘same as source’ option would be available in the export section. This option would read the source file attributes and automatically fill them in to the export fields. I’m not talking about multiple source files, just one file (although technically if multiple source files had the same underlying attributes there’s no reason why a ‘same as source’ function wouldn’t work there either).

Shotcut is very friendly, easy to get into and use and I think having a feature like this would be valuable to your users. The export section, unless you’re very schooled in encoding, can seem like power user land. Any function or tool tip that can be added to this section would go a long way toward the ease of use identity that Shotcut is going for.

I’d like to thank you for the VidCutter recommendation… it’s doing exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.

As my Linux release is kind of old, I do all of my video editing work from a live DVD. Because of this (and the ancient nature of my laptop), I needed a video trimmer that doesn’t re-encode the trimmed video and by chance, I ended up trying VidCutter and I have to say, it works pretty nicely. I was gonna recommend it here in the forum for anyone who might have a need for it but I see you’ve already done so yourself. :wink:

In Avidemux I believe this is called “copy” under Video (and Audio) output. If you only have one “source” file, chose “copy” and the output file (container) will have the same quality is your input file. Of course you will have to pick a suitable Output Format like “MP4 Muxer”.

I am new here and I like ShotCut, but aligning external audio by time-offset we are doing so far in Avidemux because it is very quick and efficient. hth

OpenShot does this very well. Clip and delete few frames here and there or whatever. Export video. Output file remains same bit rate within a few bps, same file size within a few bytes, and looks to me like same quality, and same sound quality and channels as specified. Takes 2x - 3x to output, though, but it’s worth it.

VidCutter will do the same, but it’s UI is bad. Mainly for lack of zoom control and frame selection. Also, it crashes a lot. Probably can’t handle big files. IDK. Use OpenShot IMHO.

ShotCut is a way, way better editor UI, but I don’t know why this task is so hard (impossible) for this program.

Original mp4 on left vs. OpenShot export mp4 on right

You are right but make sure you save them into the same file. When exporting them choose a suffex .H264 Mainline. Most H264 would work , try each . Always work with 2 Folders Keep your valuable files in one file and copy them to a secondary file and work with them.When you open your clips should be there.
Regards Pete