Rotate videos in VLC - Tutorial

Updated: September 21, 2016

A friend of mine sent me a 253MB video file, created on a mobile phone, and recorded with the phone device positioned upside down. Ipso facto, the output was also inverted, and it looked like I would have to either rotate my head ever so uncomfortably, turn my monitor around, flip its display using keyword fury, or I had a better idea, summon VLC to my aid!

This little guide is not about video processing. That's a separate topic, and we have covered it a few times, including my original tutorial and the Frankenstein video prep stuff. Today, we will learn how to use VideoLAN for one-off changes to video clips, so that you can enjoy them without a lengthy process of, well, um, processing. After me.


VLC has it all

This media player is truly the Jack o' all Trades. So versatile, it should be called the Dutch Trading Company. But seriously, if there's a task you can think of it, and it has something to do with photons or audio waves, there's a function hidden somewhere inside the player's menu that will do it for you. To wit.

To rotate a video clip, let's start with Tools > Effects and Filters. This is where you will find most of the stuff that can be done to change the playback on the fly. Please note that the use of effects and filters will require more power slash juice from your CPU, so if you have high-def videos, and you apply a load of filters, your system may struggle a bit.

Effects and filters

A new window will open, labeled Adjustments and Effects. There are three separate tabs, for audio, video and synchronization, again each with its own subset of options. We want the middle tab.

Effects tabs

There are seven tabs for video effects. Again, we want the middle one - Geometry. On this be window panel, you will be able to do all sorts of little games and tricks, but most importantly, transform the video playback. You can use presets, which are very OCD governed in quota of 90 degrees, or use a free rotation knob. Not for the faint hearted.

Geometry, transform

In essence, that's all you need. I could show you a screenshot of a video clip, but that's missing the point, really, as anyone can rotate an image. Still to make it all lovely and complete, let's have some more pixels.

Rotate done


Here we are, at the end of this article. 'Tis a short and sweet one. There isn't much to it, except to praise all the many and hidden goodies in VLC, which also include a whole bunch of effects and filters you can apply to your playback. This happens instantly, it tolls some CPU, and it is not persistent once you close the file. But it gives you a good idea what you may want to do if you choose to go full processing. You never go full processing.

Hopefully, you've learned a new tricky today. If ever in doubt, VLC. This little media player probably has it somewhere, somehow, and before you invoke heavy guns, magic or other software, try VLC as your first option. Video rotation, job done. Warcraft narration style. We part ways, right now.


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