Subscribe to MacYourself via RSSSubscribe to MacYourself via EmailFollow MacYourself on Twitter
Apple Products and Accessories from Amazon.com

Merge multiple video files using the free version of QuickTime

Merge multiple video files using the free version of QuickTime

If you’ve always wanted a simple way to combine movies into a single file, look no further than QuickTime Player. There’s no need to buy the Pro version — the bundled free version is fully capable of handling the task.

A lot of times when you’re dealing with video you run into a situation where you want to merge a movie file with another but aren’t concerned with things like transitions or titles. Using a video editor like iMovie does the job but it’s far too much effort for something so simple. Luckily, hidden in the standard free version of Apple’s QuickTime Player is the ability to drag & drop video clips together.

To start off, open a video in QuickTime. Now position the program’s playhead where you would like your next video clip to be inserted. It can be at the beginning, anywhere in the middle, or right at the end. Once you have done that, locate your second movie file in Finder. Select the file and drag & drop it right onto the QuickTime window. Playing the whole movie will reveal that the clips have now been combined and are acting as if they were a single video. This trick can be applied with any number of files — you’re not limited to just two.

Here’s where things get kind of tricky. Since only QuickTime Pro has the ability to save movies from the File menu, we don’t have the luxury of using that option here. Instead, you have to close the video. Only then will you be greeted with the option of saving your merged file. Click the Save button and, in the dialog box that comes up, choose “Save as a self-contained movie.” It gets messy if you don’t choose this setting, so make sure you don’t skip it before continuing. Click Save once more and you will have a merged movie created entirely with the free version of QuickTime!

Merge movies for free with QuickTime

One last bit of information for anyone who is curious… you can combine any video format that QuickTime supports (both out-of-the-box and with the help of plugins like Flip4Mac and Perian). So a .mov file can be dragged on top of a .avi file, a .mp4 can be merged with a .wmv, and so on. Varying video resolutions can also be combined, although the smaller file will be anchored to the top-left corner with black filling the rest of the frame. It would be nice if it scaled to fit the larger video’s resolution, but that’s getting picky. Free is free, right?

59 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

I already knew this one! I feel smart now, ha ha.

Great article! Wanted to know how to do this. Thanks:)

Every time I do this I lose the audio. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Aaron,
I’ve never experienced the problem you’re having but maybe we can figure it out. What format are the videos you’re trying to combine?

already knew this one! I feel smart now, ha ha.

is there anyway i can get it as a mp4 format? I made a video for my friends and i want to show it to them.

I just tried doing this. I have the newest version of QT which is 7.6.2

When I click save it simply saves and closes. It doesn’t bring up the window to select save as a self contained version.

It appears to be saving the other way as my original file now shows the combined total time length but the file size is unchanged. As long as I leave the files in their original places it will play as 1 file but if I move any of the files to a different location they will no longer play.

Basically, What version are you guys accomplishing this with?

Thanks

RobbieS,
I tried it again myself and it looks like you’re right. Apple must have broken this hidden “feature” (perhaps it was more of a mistake) with the latest update to QuickTime. Bummer!

This posting saved a project for me. I had four animation clips I needed to string together into one. Such a simple and elegant solution; thanks a million!

So when will we have a Pro version that keeps up with the v10 player in Snow Leopard? Lack of QT Pro is what’s keeping me on the fence about SL.

Gerry,
You can still use QuickTime 7 (including the pro version) with Snow Leopard. Both QuickTime 7 and QuickTime X will live in harmony on the same machine. The app is moved to the Utilities folder though.

Brilliant! This is a lifesaver! :)

I merged Quicktime video files into one, and it plays fine as one big file (total of over 7 minutes, and while I can upload the file onto Youtube or a blog, the playback function only plays a few seconds from the first file (all later merged files won’t playback after uploading). I also noticed the file size didn’t change, and the probably the cause of the playback feature being capped, once uploaded. Anybody know how I can upload a merged file and enable complete playback?

BTW, I’m on a Windows PC.

Thanks! Woeked for me, and allowed me to meet a deadline!

I can’t get this to work. I have Version 10.0 (113) I open the first file, then when I go to drag file #2 on to the player, I get no + sign or any indication I can add the 2nd video to the player. If I release the 2nd file on top of the player, nothing happens. Any help is appreciated.

Ben,
This doesn’t work with QuickTime X. You need QuickTime 7, which you can install from your Snow Leopard disc.

This technique apparently does work, but the resulting video file that’s created, won’t work for YouTube. All the added on videos were so badly corrupted, it cannot work on YouTube. Somehow, Quicktime makes it incompatible with YouTube. I am on Mac, so I do have iMovie. Problem is, this appears to be a fairly complex program, designed for professionals, with a long learning curve.

Thank you for this great tip!

Now I can merge video files, but what about the subtitle files?
Do you know how can I merge the subtitle files?

where is the the programme heading?

haha yeah, where is the programme heading?

This does NOT work!

This is not true

Thank you!!!! Just saved me!

awesome! great post!

Very cool. thanks for the info. I KNEW it was out there somewhere. Here to the Intertubes!!!

quicktime just opens it in another window for me, so this doesn’t work.

To merge multiple files (of the same or similar type), open movie #1, position the video playback head (usually at the end of movie #1) then, in the Finder, select the additional movies you want to add and Drag/Drop them onto the QuickTime movie to add/append/merge them together.
Finally, save the movie as noted above in the article.

I just now did this with Mac OS X 10.6.8, QT v7.6.6.

I had 26 movies to merge. 7.75GB of 1080p HD (1920 x 1080) amateur wedding footage (H.264 format).

Works like a charm!

Side note: It’s nice to have a 2nd hard disk to “save” the final to, as it saves rather quickly when dealing with HD footage.

How do you open the second video in “finder”?

Works for me, using QP 7 on Mac OSX 10.6.8. Merged two m4v files together flawlessly (2 one hour long videos) doing it exactly as was described.

To those that say it doesn’t work… obviously it does work for some people. Try to figure out what is wrong with *your* situation and fix it, instead of just posting “this isn’t true” or “this does NOT work.” You are just flat out wrong, period.

Lauren: Set the locator to the end of the first movie that is playing in Quicktime. Then just locate the file in Finder, drag and drop it into that Quicktime window.

John, I guess why people experienced different on this issue were because they’re using different version of QTP.

I’m using QTP version 10 on MacBook Pro OSX 10.6.8., and i couldn’t figure it out. I have no idea where was the locator or program heading in this version. So, i kept trying to put my second video, and like Greg said, the #2 video will be opened in the new window.

Great article! Works pretty fine, thanks a lot!

For those reading this on the PC side hoping for the same thing, I’ve got QTfW 7.7.1 and any movie added after the first “add” will fail to copy the audio. Anyone else have this issue? Copy and Paste also fails to do this simple addition.

Thanks for the post!
Chris.

A quicker way is to highlight all the files you want to combine, drag them by the LAST file up to the player. They are now combined in the player ready to be saved.

One problem though, if you combine a large number of files, say over 10,the sound will become more and more out of sync with the video with each file you add. Another problem, no sound on a Galaxy player with combined files while single files play fine with audio. Gotta take it back solely for this reason.

QT Pro works fine on a Windows PC. To upgrade to Pro from QT choose “Register” option in QT after finding some KEY information on a certain well known site.

After upgrading to Pro open your first movie clip using QTP and then from the options at the top of the screen choose “Edit”.

A drop down menu appears and the 7th option down is “Select All” or Ctrl + A. Choose “Select All” and the entire film clip is then “marked” for use.

Then open the next clip in a separate screen using QTP and this time choose “Edit” then “Select All” and then “Copy”.

Having copied the entire second clip, return to the original clip which you “marked” earlier and select “Edit” then “Paste” and that should add the second clip to end of the original one. Note that the time length at the bottom of the screen is now longer.

Once you’ve checked the contents are OK then choose “Save As” and save as the top option “Save as a new Movie” and change the title just to be safe.

Unfortunately if you dont upgrade to QTP then most of the above options will be greyed out in Standard QT.

Good luck – Jolly Roger

For those how have Quicktime Player 10 installed can run QTP 7.7 by downloading it from:

http://support.apple.com/downloads/#quicktime

to get the merging working.

Im using QT Version 10 on a Macbook Pro Version 10.6.8 and it just opens a new window… It dont work :(

Must only work with older versions of QT :(

Big Help! Making video for school and was about to buy a fancy movie program, but this was free! I have a PC and the same trick works!!!

WORKS!!!…….but ONLY with Quicktime 7, NOT QT 10.

So, even if you have QT 10, download QT 7.6.6 (see link to Apple website by Lars 3 posts above)
After you install QT 7 in OSX 10.6.8 it will be in the Utilities folder of the Application folder.

Open it and follow the steps as outlined.

The first SAVE dialog will look as if you cannot get to the described option “self-contained movie”

Click SAVE anyway and THEN you get the option in the next window.

SAVE again, rename movie and it will get saved as an .mov file.

.mov files open in itunes, which means you can also play them via an AppleTV on a large screen.

Works great with Quicktime 10.2 on Mountain Lion. Nice post. Saved a lot of headache since the next step was to use a video merging software, etc. It’s good to know that that this feature is still active (for now.)

Using QT 10.2 here. Drag and drop like indicated, then go to File, Export to, and choose one. Im exporting as we speak with 14 videos, ~9hrs long with no problems.

Brilliant! Thanks alot!!

Thanks very much. Very clear and worked just as you described.

Thanks for this. Great help

Works with Windows Vista, using QuickTime 7.7.3. My Canon s95 .mov segments are easily merged (lossless!). Video shot in segments can give you an overview of a trip, a resort, an activity that you cannot get with a continuous shot.

Open your first segment in QT. Then locate your next segment (DO NOT open it in QT – that will just open another window). Drag it onto the cursor marker and it WILL be added. Close window, then choose SAVE when asked to save changes.

It works with Vista, I’ll have to check with my Windows 7 machine.

Then just hook up the notebook via HDMI cable to the flat screen, and view the movie in HD. Why burn a DVD (lose resolution) or a Bluray (expensive).

For more complicated editing, effects, chapters, fades, etc go to Adobe Premiere. But, heck, just some good segment shooting can make life much easier. I’m sure lossless mp4 h.264 editing will come but its not here yet in a convenient package.

Works with Windows 7, same version of QT.

So simple yet so powerful. Thanks a lot!

Simple and effective. Good stuff. Thanks.

This is kinda working for me. im using a macbook pro, with snow leopard, and quicktime 7. Im trying to merge .FLV files. now, my problem is, when I merge the videos, it sort of stops after the first video. QT is still playing, but the video ‘freezes’ just as the second video starts. is it because im merging .FLV files? :C

Tested on Win7 and QT7, works!

Because the files are not really joined but only linked the original file size doesn’t change. The joined file can only be replayed with QT, other players distort the image and sound in interesting ways.

Anyway, it’s possible to take the linked file to Adobe Media Encoder, and it creates the final joined video file automatically to whatever format one wishes (for youtube for instance).

HA!! I’ve been searching the web for days trying to find some software that would combine several YouTube videos into one movie. Then I found your site and viola!

I’m running a MAC OSX and the upgrade for QuickTime 10.07 won’t allow one to do what is described above. Sooo, I dumped my “upgraded” version and installed QuickTime 7 and guess what?

I was also looking for a decent player that would fill the entire screen and I ran across MPlayerX. It does exactly what QuickTime 10.07 did.

Problems solved.

Man, am I glad I found your site!!

Thanks mate!

Cymru am byth!

Thanks for all of the information on this site. Everything has been a tremendous help as I am quite novice. I am able to merge multiple video files downloaded from my digital recorder, however when I try to close and save for later viewing and email ….it says exporting and nothing happens, progress bar stays blank.

Please help.

I tried several times but the second clip loses its audio.. both videos are of the same MOV format

THIS IS TOTALLY TRUE I TESTED AN THIS WORK FINE WITH MAVERIC OS X (10.9)

Thank you so much! Somehow my video got saved as 2 parts and I just wanted to reunite them.

Jumps back to finder.
I need to do this merge.. I see all the reports of success.. but mine somehow failing. I have mbpro with both qt7 and qt10 .. neither seems to work. The second file just jumps back to finder.
ANY IDEAs?

is it touchy about where to drop on the qt movie thats open? hold any extra keys? ??

This does not work with QTP 7.6.6. The only thing it seems to do is adding a playlist to the file. When the added video files are deleted or moved from their source, QT produces an error.
The best way to check if files have been REALLY merged is to check the file size. If the file size has not changed, QT has just added a playlist.

Have Something To Say? Join The Discussion!

  (required)
  (required; will be kept private)
  (optional)