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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?

65 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

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


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.

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.

Kenneth Winiecki
April 26th, 2014, 3:02 PM

Works in Mavericks 10.9.2 with QT7Pro 7.6.6 and QTX 10.3. Combined 3 mp4 1 MB files. QT7Pro created .mov file size 4.1 MB; QTX created .mp4 size 16.7 MB. Why does QTX create such a large file? How to get QTX to create 4.1 MB file?

Awesome!…Saves a lot of time for me!

This doesn’t work. When I try to drag n drop the second file, it just goes back to the Finder list.

Great tip… and I went around looking solution since long…

I am trying to save the file as said but I am not being given the option to save file as you are indicating. Once it starts saving (this is a 3 minute video) it is estimating a total of 300 hours to save!!! where am I going wrong?

I too am having the audio problem mentioned here. i can combine the video, but only the audio from the first file is brought in.

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