Reverse a Video Clip and Play it Backwards

Many of the popular consumer video editing apps lack an effect for playing video in reverse. Windows Movie Maker has no method for playing video backward on the timeline. The Videowave editor included with Roxio Easy Media Creator has no video reverse mode. Using AVISynth and VirtualDub you can play out almost any video file backward, saving an AVI to import into your favorite video editor.

The following method will work for almost any video that plays back in Windows Media Player, including WMV, MP4, and most AVI files. Your mileage may vary depending on which codecs are installed, but installing ffdshow certainly can't hurt.

Required Software:

VirtualDub
AVIsynth

Install both applications and then follow these steps:

Reversing an AVI File
After you get all your applications installed, you need to create an AVIsynth scripts. These are simple text files telling VirtualDub which video you want to reverse.

For any AVI source, open notepad and type in the following replacing C:\yourfile.avi with the path to your video:

Reverse(AVISource("C:\yourfile.avi"))

Save the notepad file with .avs as the file extension.

Open VirtualDub.exe and drag and drop your .avs file onto the application window. You can then save the reversed file as an AVI from File > Save As for use in any other application.

Reversing any other Video File

For all non-AVI formats playable in Windows Media Player, you need to use a slightly different method. After you get all your applications installed, you need to create an AVIsynth scripts. These are simple text files telling VirtualDub which video you want to reverse.

For these other video formats, open notepad and type in the following replacing C:\yourfile.wmv with the path to your video:

Reverse(DirectShowSource("C:\yourfile.wmv", 29.97))

For all non-AVI file types you must include the frame rate of the video in order for VirtualDub to properly open the video file. I included 29.97 in this example because it's the most common NTSC frame rate. Other common frame rates include 23.976, 25, and 59.94.

Save the notepad file with .avs as the file extension.

Open VirtualDub.exe and drag and drop your .avs file onto the application window. You can then save the reversed file as an AVI from File > Save As for use in any other application.