Cut a video based on start and end time using FFmpeg

You probably don’t have a keyframe at the specified second mark if you can’t cut a video at a particular moment.
Non-keyframes need all of the data beginning with the previous keyframe because they encode variations from other frames.

Using an edit list, it is possible to cut at a non-keyframe with the mp4 container without re-encoding.
In other words, if the closest keyframe before 3s is at 0s, the video will be copied starting at 0s, and FFmpeg will use an edit list to tell the player to begin playing 3 seconds in.

If you’re using the latest version of FFmpeg from git master, it’ll use an edit list when you run it with the command you give.
If this does not work for you, it is you are likely using an older version of FFmpeg or that your player does not support edit lists.
Some players can disregard the edit list and play the entire file from beginning to end, regardless of the edit list.

If you want to cut specifically at a non-keyframe and have it play at the desired point on a player that doesn’t support edit lists, or if you want to make sure the cut section isn’t in the output file (for example, if it includes sensitive information), you can do so by re-encoding so that a keyframe is present at the desired start time.
If you don’t mention copy, re-encoding is the norm.
Consider the following scenario:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -ss 00:00:07 -t 00:00:18 -async 1 output.mp4
  • The -t option defines a length rather than an end time.
  • The command above will encode 18 seconds of video beginning at 7 seconds.
  • Use -t 8 to start at 7 seconds and end at 15 seconds.
  • If you’re using a recent version of FFmpeg, you can also use -to instead of -t in the above command to make it end at the required time.

Bash: Print time stamp in front of every line in a pipe

Recently, we received a binary that collected data from a web service and it printed them on screen.
The binary did not print a time stamp in front of each line so we had to improvise of a way to add the time stamp to the logs without modifying the binary.

The solution we came to was to use awk to prepend the time stamp in front of every line using a pipe.
Specifically, our solution was the following:

server_application 2>&1 | awk '{ print strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"), $0; fflush(); }'

What we did there was to start our binary server_application, redirect stderr to stdout (using 2>&1) so that we will have only one stream and then we read the lines one by one using awk and printed the time stamp right before the line ($0) using strftime.
The strftime() function formats the broken-down time according to the format specification format.
fflushforces a write of all user-space buffered data for the given output or update stream via the stream’s underlying write function. We call it at each line to make sure that we do not cause additional delay in presenting the data due to buffering limitations caused by our prints.


$ echo -e "hi\nHI" 2>&1 | awk '{ print strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"), $0; fflush(); }'
2017-06-21 20:33:41 hi
2017-06-21 20:33:41 HI

C: Code to time execution with accuracy greater than a second

The following application computes the time needed for a process to finish using the method clock().
The result of the application is the time in seconds as a floating number (where 1.0 = 1 second).
It provides greater accuracy than seconds as the estimation is done using processor time used by the program.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <time.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <limits.h>

int main()

    /* clock_t clock(void)
     The clock() function returns an approximation of processor time used by the program.
     The value returned is the CPU time used so far as a clock_t,
     to get the number of seconds used, divide by CLOCKS_PER_SEC.
     On error it returns -1. */
    const clock_t start = clock();

    /* svoid srand(unsigned int __seed)
     The srand() function sets its argument as the seed for a new sequence of pseudo-random
     integers to be returned by rand(). These sequences are repeatable by calling srand() with the
     same seed value.
     If no seed value is provided, the rand() function is automatically seeded with a value of 1. */
    /* time_t time(time_t *__timer)
     time() returns the time since the Epoch (00:00:00 UTC, January 1, 1970), measured in seconds.
     If the __timer variable is not NULL, the return value is also stored there. */
    unsigned long i;
    for (i = 0; i < 10000000; i++)
        /* int rand(void)
         The rand() function returns a pseudo-random integer in the range 0 to RAND_MAX inclusive. */
    const clock_t end = clock();

    /* ISO/IEC 9899:1999 7.23.1: Components of time
    The macro `CLOCKS_PER_SEC' is an expression with type `clock_t' that is
    the number per second of the value returned by the `clock' function. */
    /* CAE XSH, Issue 4, Version 2: <time.h>
    The value of CLOCKS_PER_SEC is required to be 1 million on all
    XSI-conformant systems. */
    const float seconds = (float) (end - start) / CLOCKS_PER_SEC;

    printf("Seconds elapsed %f\n", seconds);
    return 0;

Find files that were created, modified or accessed in the last N minutes

Find all files in $my_folder that their status changed in the last 60 minutes

find $my_folder -cmin -60

Find all files in $my_folder that their data were modified in the last 60 minutes

find $my_folder -mmin -60

Find all files in $my_folder that they were accessed in the last 60 minutes

find $my_folder -amin -60

Please remember to use negative values for the minutes. e.g. use -60 and not 60.

More examples

Find all files in $my_folder that their status changed in the last 60 minutes AND they were accessed in the last 10 minutes

find $my_folder -cmin -60 -amin -10

Find all files in $my_folder that their status changed in the last 60 minutes OR they were accessed in the last 10 minutes

find $my_folder \( -cmin -60 -o -amin -10 \)

Notes on find command

  • -cmin n Matches files which their status was last changed n minutes ago.
  • -mmin n Matches files which which data was last modified n minutes ago.
  • -amin n Matches files which they were last accessed n minutes ago.
  • -o is the logical Or operator. The second expression  is not evaluated if the first expression is true.