How to Flip Video 90 Degrees
Submitted by Jeremy R. Schwartz
In The Beginning
Did you forget that you can't turn your digital camera sideways when taking a video? Maybe it was just easier to balance that way? If you have a Windows PC, you can rotate the video with the free included program Windows Movie Maker or use the more powerful (and still free) tool VirtualDub.
The Main Steps
Open Windows Movie Maker. From the Tasks pane, select "Import Video" or from the File menu, select "Import into Collections" (shortcut key: CTRL+I). Select your movie clips, which will appear under the Collections pane and drag them to the movie time line at the bottom of the window.
Add the Rotate effect by going to the Tasks panes, expanding Edit Movie, and selecting "View video effects." Alternatively, go to the Tools menu and select "Video effects." Scroll down to Rotate 90, Rotate 180, and Rotate 270 and drag the desired effect to the movie clip in the time line. Note that adding an effect to a clip will turn the star blue in the lower-left corner of the clip.
Go to Save Movie File (shortcut: CTRL+P) and select the destination, following the prompts to save it to your computer. Note that you are saving your movie as a Windows Media Video file with extension wmv.
Download and install VirtualDub (see Additional Resources). Load your video by going to the File menu and selecting "Load" or drag-and-drop. Then, go to Video and select "Full Processing Mode." Compression is now available under Video--select it, and in the popup, choose your preferred codec (see "Choosing the Right Compression").
Go to the Video menu, select "Filters" click "Add." Two options are available for rotation. "Rotate" turns the video by 90, 180 or 270 degrees. "Rotate2" turns the video by a value that you enter
Run the processing by going to the File menu and selecting "Save as AVI" (shortcut key: F7).
If you have multiple videos to process, when saving each video, check the box at the bottom-left of the Save window that states "Don't run this job now; add it to job control..." After saving the last video go to the File menu and select "Job Control" (shortcut key: F4) and click "Start" to begin processing.
Making any change to a video, especially its dimensions, requires that you recompress the video. Although it has the benefit of reducing the file size, it can also affect the video quality. With VirtualDub, you have several options for compression, and many settings for quality and file size, depending on the codecs installed on your computer. Different codecs provide different quality/file size ratios; some may also not be immediately compatible with other systems (see Additional Resources). XviD provides a good ratio and converts easily, so we will use it here.
To get the best results, match the source video properties as closely as possible. View these properties from the File menu and then select "File Information." Pay particular attention to the Data Rate, given in kbps.
Go to the Video menu, then Compression and select "XviD MPEG-4 Codec." Press the "Configure" button to select the specific settings. These settings will affect the video quality and file size, but for a typical digital camera the following settings should be fine: - Profile @ Level: Advanced Simple @ L5 - Encoding: Single Pass - Target Quantizer: around 8.00 to 12.00 (lower number means higher quality and larger size) - Other Options (button) - Profile (tab) - Quantization Type: H.263
Some cameras record with uncompressed sound, and so file sizes can be significantly reduced by encoding the soundtrack as an MP3. Go to the Audio menu, Full Processing Mode and then select the "Compression." Choose "LAME MP3" and try to match the original source's Sampling rate (usually 44100 Hz) with a bitrate of either 96 or 128 kbps.


  • Windows Movie Maker (XP version 5.1 SP3 used below)
  • VirtualDub (1.8.5 Portable used below)
  • AviSynth (when using VirtualDub, if your movie extension isn't ".avi")
  • High-quality video codec (optional, either XviD or x264; both are free)
  • LAME mp3 audio codec (optional)


  • While Windows Movie Maker may come with your computer and may be easier to use, VirtualDub allows more control over the final output, as well as batch processing. In Windows Movie Maker, you can delete effects from clips by right-clicking on the star at the lower-left corner of the clip. In VirtualDub, when using the "rotate2" filter, the "Filtering mode" affects how the rotated pixels are blended. "Bicubic 4x4" should provide better quality, but it may take longer to process.
  • When rotating in Windows Movie Maker, you may need to adjust the pixel aspect ratio of your rotated video so that it looks normal during playback. For example, in Windows Media Player 10 under the Tools menu and then Options, on the Devices tab, click "Display," then "Properties." Adjust the pixel aspect ratio by using the slider and spin box controls until the playback looks correct. Not all computers may have each codec. If someone complains that your video is blank, or doesn't play, they may need to download the appropriate decoder. Increasing the quality of the compression may also increase the time it takes to encode the video, especially for less powerful processors. If your movie file has an extension other than .avi (e.g., .mov or .mp4), you may need to install AviSynth to load it with VirtualDub. Create a text file with the extension ".avs," open the file in Notepad and enter the text DirectShowSource("<FILEPATH>"), replacing <FILEPATH> with the complete directory path and file name of your video, for example, D:\Video Samples\Snow Then load the .avs file into VirtualDub.

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