Removing the audio track from a video file is a very simple task to perform with ffmpeg. Say you have a video file called example.mp4 that contains an audio track as we can check with the command:

ffmpeg -i example.mp4 -hide_banner

We have the following output:

Stream #0:1 (und): Audio: AAC indicates that the video has an audio track with an aac format and a bitrate of 126 kb/s. (If we compare it with the video stream bitrate of 308 Kb/s we can check that the audio track occupies a third of the file, so it can be interesting to remove the track).

Well, we now use the appropriate command to remove the audio track with ffmpeg:

ffmpeg -i example.mp4 -vcodec copy -an example_na.mp4 -hide_banner

which gives us the following output

This is a transformation that ffmpeg is running very quickly, leaving us at the end with a 4.1MB file, having the original one 5.8MB, in which the video quality is maintained exactly like the original (since actually the video stream has being copied as is). We have used the following parameters:

  • -vcodec copy this parameter is used normally to indicate the video codec that we want to use on the process. By specifying "copy" we are telling the program to copy the video track as it is, and that means there is no process of video compression so therefore the process will run much faster.
  • -an in this parameter it is where we are telling ffmpeg to remove any audio track, and thus eliminate the audio of the original video.
  • -hide_banner as in other cases we use this parameter to hide display information of the program.

Once again we will emphasize that in this way the video will remove audio tracks and therefore the file size is reduced. Making this transformation in videos that we will show and do not need audio can be interesting. In fact, on the Internet we can find multiple video sites, in which it is not desirable to have sound (for example one site that shows several videos at once, so the site do not want to fool the user listening to all sounds at once). In addition, it is very interesting to low-resolution videos (below 200 pixels) as we find that the sound track occupies more space than the video itself, and therefore may be interesting to eliminate it.

This of course has nothing to do with playing a video web without volume, or "mute" because in that video the audio information it is transferred, and although the video is not playing any sound, it will be using bandwidth, which is actually wasted.

We hope that you find useful to remove the audio track of a video.

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