How To Remove the Audio Track from a Video
Smartphone owners take a lot of videos every day. On YouTube alone, more than 300 hours of video 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 that YouTube will take down 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 we record 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 a video for your own consumption or for posting online, removing audio can be an essential part of the 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 can remove the audio track from a video on Windows PCs, Linux and Mac. You can also use iMovie on macOS. I’ll show you how to use both. Both VLC and iMovie are entirely free to use.
Remove audio from video with VLC
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 drop-down menu 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.
Use iMovie to Remove the Audio Track from a Video
iMovie comes built into macOS 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 file after you’ve made sure the new file is what you’re looking for.
Use Adobe Premiere Pro to Remove the Audio Track from a Video
If you happen to attend a college with a video lab, or you work at a place with access to Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite of applications, you can use Adobe Premiere Pro to quickly remove the audio files from any video. Make sure you have the video stored on your computer, then open up Premiere and create a new project.
In the standard layout for Premiere, drag and drop your video into the library in the lower-left corner of your display. Double-click this file to load it into your preview monitor on the upper-left portion of the screen, then click and hold the video icon below this. Drag and drop the video icon you’re holding onto the timeline, and have Premiere set the sequence settings based on your file. Your video will now appear in the timeline with an audio file attached.
Now export your video from Premiere while making sure that your export is set to match your sequence settings. The resulting video file is the original video you imported into Premiere without audio attached, and it only takes about thirty seconds to do.
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 it 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.
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