Help me help my videos!
April 25, 2008 2:03 PM   Subscribe

VideoFilter: I have a ton of .mpg video files out of my camcorder. I would like to join them together as one file. It doesn't work using the copy command, I'm assuming because of embedded file data that messes up the indexes within the video footage. Is there a program that will take them and join them together quickly? I don't want to edit them, just join them. So far the only options I've found is to import them all to Avid or Vegas and let it re-render it as a whole which takes forever. The second option was some cheesy software I found that did it but it also took 30 minutes for 10 minutes of footage to join, which seems ridiculous. Does anyone in out there have a blackbelt in video-fu and can help me?
posted by damiano99 to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Google for "virtualdub mpeg," which will provide links to the a modified V-Dub called "VirtualDub mpeg2." It may be missing some licensing agreements, so I'm not going to link to it directly to avoid the inevitable "OMG WAREZ!" metatalk post.

Anyway, use the "append" function to join a bunch of mpegs of the same resolution together quickly.
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:12 PM on April 25, 2008

Windows Movie Maker?
posted by arco at 2:30 PM on April 25, 2008

Response by poster: Nope didn't work. When I load the first file and try to load the subsequent files, the APPEND choice is grayed out.

Any other ideas?
posted by damiano99 at 2:33 PM on April 25, 2008

If you have access to a Mac, or a friend with a Mac, I've done this many times with VisualHub. It has a "stitch videos together" option.
posted by bryanjbusch at 2:44 PM on April 25, 2008

I've had great luck with EO Video with many different formats (other than wmv). It's fast, and (afaik) free.
posted by porpoise at 2:56 PM on April 25, 2008

MEncoder can do this quickly.
posted by russilwvong at 3:20 PM on April 25, 2008

Generally, mpg files can simply be concatenated. With a UNIX style operating system, you can just cat the files into a new one.

Here's a trick if you're using Windows.

Using any compression / archiving program such as WinZip or WinRar, simply archive the files into a new zip file, but without compression. (That part is essential.) Look in the options of whatever program you have, and you'll see what I mean.

Rename the resulting file with a mpg extension, and bang, you're good to go.
posted by nedpwolf at 4:04 PM on April 25, 2008

Ah jeez, in my hurry to answer, I didn't notice you already tried to do the essentially the same thing by using "copy".
posted by nedpwolf at 4:16 PM on April 25, 2008

Check out ProjectX and Cuttermaran - yes, they're a MPEG demuxer and editor respectively, but thanks to the container structure & encoding of MPEG2 video, joining them is not totally straightforward.

Together, they'll allow you to join MPEG2 without recoding. In fact, ProjectX alone can do that for you, but I'd have to explain things a bit more. Together, it's easier to understand - demux/strip with ProjectX, join with Cuttermaran.

(I linked the sourceforge page for ProjectX above, which only carries source, not compiled binaries, for licensing reasons. Precompiled binaries are available if you Google a bit further...)
posted by Pinback at 4:51 PM on April 25, 2008

nedpwolf: I don't see why that would work very well - sure, they'd be stored uncompressed & head-to-tail, but there's still archive headers and delimiters in the resultant file. Most software players will probably treat those bits as errors and skip them, but it doesn't mean it's anything near right.

Besides, what's wrong with a good ol' "copy /b ..." command?
posted by Pinback at 4:57 PM on April 25, 2008

Try VideoReDo. Nice and simple.

Just FYI, (assuming you're on windows), you DID use the /b switch when trying to append, right? /b does a binary copy.


copy /b video1.mpg + video2.mpg + video3.mpg bigvideo.mpg
posted by flutable at 6:00 PM on April 25, 2008

Response by poster: Yep, I did do the binary copy. The problem is that 90% of all video players don't just stream the video data, they look for keyframes and indexes. So when I copied the files together in binary mode, it did copy, but it would only play pieces of it because it kept skipping to the next index section.

I'll try these other options tonight and report back. Thanks!

btw, I did try memcoder, but it the link given only points to mplayer and it doesn't include memcoder with it. I tried to find memcoder in other packages with google-fu but had no luck.

I'll try these others now and report back in couple o hours.
posted by damiano99 at 6:06 PM on April 25, 2008

Years ago I used to do a lot with TMPGEnc: you go into File - MPEG Tools - Merge & Cut. It's just a suggestion since you seem willing to give different tools a shot. I haven't used it recently but I know I have in the past.
posted by forthright at 7:48 PM on April 25, 2008

Pinback:. You're right, of course. I didn't read the question thoroughly and tried to give an end-user-friendly / easy / free solution that avoided the command prompt.

mea culpa
posted by nedpwolf at 8:09 PM on April 25, 2008

btw, I did try mencoder, but it the link given only points to mplayer and it doesn't include mencoder with it. I tried to find mencoder in other packages with google-fu but had no luck.

Sorry about that, I assumed that the MPlayer package included MEncoder. If the other tools don't work, try googling "mencoder windows package"; here's an example.
posted by russilwvong at 9:51 PM on April 25, 2008

the only answer you need to read is flutable's. VideoReDo is the only reliable, user-friendly, non-destructive MPEG editor out there. and there's a free trial
posted by ascullion at 12:38 AM on April 26, 2008

You need to be looking for mencoder, not memcoder.
posted by flabdablet at 1:51 AM on April 26, 2008

Check out the SomethingAwful forum Serious Software/Hardware Crap's wiki, particularly the Useful Windows Software guide.
posted by stenseng at 8:11 PM on April 26, 2008

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