removing audio from .MOV file

I’ve looked through several pages of the forum to no avail.
I’ve got Audacity 2.1.0! installed on Windows Pro 8.1 and it starts and runs like its supposed to. I have installed Lame and FFmpeg and can open the audio from a .MOV file that I need to remove the entire audio from. I’ve successfully opened the .MOV file and exported the audio as an MP3 in case I need it later but the original .MOV file still contains the soundtrack. When I mute the sound, all I get is a message that the audio is muted!

I’m not particularly competent with Audio editing. I’m hoping to change that at an early date. In the mean time if someone can help me remove the audio altogether, ProShow Producer that I’m using to create a mix of stills and video with is well able to put a subdued sound track and narration under my imagery… If I can just kill the audio in the DSLR videos. Any help will be gratefully received.

When you ‘open’ a file (of any supported media type), Audacity “Imports” the audio data from the file. That is, Audacity accesses the audio data from the file (by default Audacity copies the data into a data folder). Audacity does not directly edit the original file.

Audacity only edits audio, not video. To edit a video file you need to use a video editor. I don’t use Windows, but I guess that you may be able to do that in Windows Movie Maker. I think Windows Movie Maker is included in Windows 8, but if you’ve not got it, it’s available from Microsoft as part of “Windows Essentials”: Windows Essentials - Microsoft Support

Have a look at How to Extract the Audio from .MOV files in Windows

Thanks but that doesn’t of course tell ryadia how to produce a new movie with no audio if that is the idea. Perhaps this would help: Redirecting.

The problem with that is that you will be making the video quality worse by re-encoding it with no audio. It would be much better to do this in Avidemux which lets you directly swap or remove the audio without re-encoding the video.


Thanks everyone for your help. Explaining how Audacity works was most helpful reply. I wasn’t aware it created new files and left the original alone.

I use Sony’s Vegas Pro video editor. I can mute the audio using this program but that still leave the audio in the file, only killing the sound. This leaves the file size unchanged and carrying a load of unwanted data that bloats the final movie.

Before asking for help I explored all or most of the open source editors recommended in an on-line search. It seems to me that there is either a glaring need for audio removal without re-writing the file or doing it is such a simple task, there is no need to include it in an editor. Either way, these files were recorded with a Nikon DSLR which does not have the flexibility of film speed or audio recording that a dedicated video camera has. This will show most when I upscale it to a 4k final movie. The least degradation is what I’m aiming for.

For now (day 3 of searching and trying) I’ll have to just mute the Audio so it won’t interfere with the soundtrack and narration. When I do discover how to remove the audio I’ll post again with the answer. There must be an application that can pull the individual video and audio files from a .MOV container. Maybe I’m asking the wrong question?

The question is “how to demux”. The answer is Avidemux. (Avidemux - Main Page)

The system may not like making a new movie file with no sound channels.

If I had to do this (in my head), I would open the movie in a video editor and using the sound sweetening tools, instead of sweetening, collapse the sound channels to dead silence. The Audacity example would be Control-L, Make Silence. Then I would have to make a new video with the corrections. It still has sound channels, but they’re silent.

If you force a multiplex with no sound channels, you risk making a movie either nobody can play, or worse, some people can’t play. And in all cases, the video goes through an extra compression step.


Do you know of a media player that won’t play video files with no sound? iTunes, WMP, MPlayer (and players based on it), XMBC (and players based on it), and VLC all manage with no problem.

No that’s not the case. In both avidemux and FFmpeg you can demux and force a direct copy (no transcoding) of the retained video / audio data. Both applications have settings specifically for that task. (“SUPER” can also do this for some video formats, but we tend to not recommend SUPER these days).

The temporary answer — Why:
Perhaps I am more fortunate than many people who responded to my plea for help… I have a full edition of Adobe CC which of course has the monster Video Editor called ‘Premier Pro’ that I could download. I don’t intend to continue that subscription past November. That’s the reason I’m seeking help here. I wish to avoid all Adobe products except Photoshop in the future. Not because of any flaws in them but because of the insecurity of having to rent what I need forever. $60 per month is not going to be well received by me when I go freelance and work alone.

Problem solved:
Adobe Premier Pro has an insanely simple way to remove the soundtrack in a .MOV file.

  1. Open the file.
  2. Choose to ‘export media’ without ticking the option ‘Audio’.
  3. The result is a MP4 video file with no soundtrack and yes… It plays in every program I’ve tried it on. Presently its in a HTML5 web page with a soundtrack that comes as part of my main presentation program: Pro Show Producer. I’m a Qualified Photographer. I’ve used Pro Show for many years to make wedding and commercial slide shows.

The movie I’m making is eventually going to be part of my portfolio. Pro Show allows me to use a soundtrack and sync it to a slideshow or movie. This is the first video I’ve taken with a DSLR… And the last. The only way to do it right is use a dedicated Video camera and separately record the sound track. That way programs like Audacity come into their own. Simple enough you don’t have to use it daily and advanced enough to do almost anything I can imagine needs to be done for a low budget movie.

I was really hoping to be able to do all of this with open Source software. I’m of the opinion now that this forum whilst excellent for audio related issues… Is the wrong place to get the answer to my question about splitting up a .MOV file which is only an MP4 video file in a container with an audio file. I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to reply. I learned a lot about Audacity and audio in general that I’m sure will help me in the future.

We don’t claim to be a video forum. For example there is or Doom9's Forum - Powered by vBulletin.

I don’t think you mentioned “splitting up” before. But we know enough to say that you could have used Avidemux (free, open source) to do what you did in Adobe Premiere Pro. And if Export in Adobe is re-encoding as I think, you could have done it better (losslessly) in Avidemux.