Making simple edits to videos of all formats shouldn't be tricky business, but most tools out there either do way too much or are so belabored with ads that who knows what evil lurks within their code.

Originally written by a French programmer known as Mean, and gloriously open-source on the GNU license, Avidemux is a breath of fresh air and available for both Windows and Mac. Cropping a video is as simple as selecting the section you want to remove and then hitting the Delete key. Re-encoding a video is equally painless: Merely select the output format from the drop-down list, save the file, and you're good to go.

Avidemux cuts the hassle out of simple video editing. (Credit: CNET Networks)

When choosing where to start and stop a crop, there's both incremental and multisecond advance and rewind tools. There's a not-insubstantial list of video and audio codecs that files can be converted to, too. Video formats include multiple codecs for FLV, MPEG, AVI, VCD, H.263/4, and others, while audio formats include MP3, AAC, Vorbis, WAV, and one or two more.

The program also includes advanced options, including generic decoder and post-processing tools, user-defined filters, GlyphSet adjustments, and more features. The full list can be found at the Avidemux Web site, but all these added tools don't prevent the program from having a reasonable file size nor encourage it to devour your RAM--it only takes up 45 to 50MB when running but not saving a file.

The lack of attached adware and other bloat is more than welcome, given what comparable freeware options tend to offer. Avidemux should appeal to users of all abilities who are looking for a quick way to edit down video files.