How To Remove the Audio Track from a Video
Smartphone owners take a lot of video every day. On YouTube alone, more than 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute, and that is literally a drop in the bucket. People do everything from taking short videos of their kids or cats doing something cute or terrible, to making full-fledged motion pictures with their phones. The amount of video being taken grows enormously every year, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down.
This creates a problem for people actually intending to do something with their video, of course. Much of the time, the audio track that accompanies our recordings is too loud, or captures sounds we don’t want to hear like swearing or other interference. Other times, the sound being recorded is irrelevant to our intentions for the video – we plan to replace it with a soundtrack such as music. In any event, there are many times when we want to just remove the audio component altogether.
Whether you are creating video for your own consumption or for posting online, removing audio can be an important part of production. It can remove ambient noise, remove loud or distracting sounds or pave the way for you to add a soundtrack to your production. Either way, you first need to remove the original audio component of the recording. In this article, I will show you how to strip out the audio portion of your recordings.
Remove the audio track from a video on a computer
If you have your video file on a computer, then the easiest and most powerful way of removing the audio track is to use the supremely-useful VLC media player. VLC has the capability to remove the audio track from a video on Windows PCs, Linux and Mac. You can also use iMovie on Mac OS. I’ll show you how to use both. Both VLC and iMovie are completely free to use.
Use VLC to remove the audio track from a video
VLC is the king of media players because it plays almost any video file in any format and has a range of powerful editing and manipulation tools for those who want to dig a little deeper.
- Open VLC and select Media from the menu.
- Select Convert/Save and Add.
- Add the media you want to remove audio from and select Convert from the small dropdown at the bottom.
- Select the spanner icon next to Profile in the next window.
- Select the Audio codec tab and uncheck the box next to Audio in the window.
- Hit Save.
- Enter a destination for the file at the bottom of the Convert window.
- Select Start to recode the media without audio.
Remember to name the file something different in Step 7 to create a copy of the file and not overwrite the original. That way, if anything goes wrong or you want to undo the changes, the original remains untouched. You can always delete the original once you’re sure you no longer need it, if you like.
Use iMovie to remove the audio track from a video
iMovie comes built into Mac OS and is pretty good for basic movie editing and managing short videos for social media. It can remove audio from a video just like VLC. If you would like to try iMovie, you can download it from here.
- Launch iMovie and select Import Movie in the center.
- Load your video, right click it and Select Entire Clip.
- Drag the video into the Timeline at the bottom of the screen to allow editing.
- Right click on the Timeline and select Detach Audio. This splits the Timeline into pure video and pure audio.
- Select the audio track and hit Delete.
- Select Export in the menu and save the video somewhere.
Save the media as a different file than the original to ensure you can undo or redo any changes from the original. You can delete the original later should you want to.
Remove the audio track from a video on mobile
You might be working directly from your smartphone or tablet and don’t have a chance to get back to a desktop PC, or you may not have access to a desktop. Mobile-only solutions are less feature-laden, but if all you need to do is strip out audio, then a single-purpose app can get the job done for you.
For Android, try Mute Video, Silent Video. It does exactly what it says on the label – it takes a video shot on your phone and removes the audio track before saving it. You can then use the video as you see fit.
For iOS, try Mute Video. It works in much the same way. It has a mini timeline where you can edit your video and save while removing the audio track. It works well and then enables you to save or download to another device should you wish to.
The only real downside of the smartphone-based apps is that they are significantly slower than desktop software. Mobile CPUs aren’t really up to the challenge of handling large video files quickly (other than to play them) and so it may take a while. If speed counts, then a desktop solution is the way to go.
Remove the audio with a web-based tool
If you have a slow computer but a decent Internet connection, then using a web-based tool to remove your audio track might be the way to go. There are many tools available, but I have had success using Kapwing Mute Video. Kapwing has other free video tools available online, but in this case the mute video tool does all we need. It also gives you the ability to trim off material from the beginning and/or end of the video, which might be a helpful extra tool. The resulting video doesn’t have a watermark and the service is very fast.
Got any other suggestions for removing the audio track from a video? Tell us about it below if you do!
TechJunkie has a lot more articles about handling your video needs! Take a look at our review of the best video editing software for PCs, or our review of the best editing apps for iPhone. We’ve got a tutorial on video editing from your Chromebook, and how to resize a video you’ve already recorded. We’ve even got an article on how to add music to your videos with iClips.