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My mother and I have a tradition. Every year, she sends me a DVD recording of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo which is shown on BBC television every August. I have quite a few years worth of Tattoo recordings now – mostly Scottish bagpipe music so when I get a bit homesick, I turn it on, crank up the volume and start dancing round the room!

The other day I decided to merge some of the “avi” video files into one big “avi” file so they can be played continuously. Video file merging can be done easily and quickly with a piece of free open source software called VirtualDub.

VirtualDub is the video equivalent of Audacity Record audio files with Audacity Record audio files with Audacity Read More . You can use it to edit your video files any way you want them – you can merge the video files, split them, save the source audio, capture screenshots, fix the colouring in the video footage and much more.

combine video clips together

It’s worth taking some time to explore VirtualDub in depth if you’re serious about video footage editing. I use VirtualDub, for example, to edit my videos after filming on my video camera. Today I am going to show you how to merge two or more video files together. Next time I will show you how to split video files (also see how to split regular files to pieces Files too big? Split them up with JR Split File Files too big? Split them up with JR Split File Read More ) into separate files which is also an extremely handy skill to practice.

Please note that the video files in question HAVE to be “avi” files.

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When you have opened VirtualDub, go to File–>Open Video File.

merge video files

Now upload the first “avi” file you want to have in your new video file.

Next, go to File–>Append AVI segment :

virtualdub

Now upload the second “avi” file you want to have in your new video file.

If you have more than 2 files, continue to return to File–>Append AVI segment and attach as many files as you want. Watch the size of the new file though! Don’t let it get too big!

When you have attached all the files together into one big new file,the next step is to go to Video–>Direct Stream Copy. If you don’t choose this option and go for the default “Full Processing Mode”, you’ll be waiting for ever for your new file to be made. A DSC on the other hand will be made for you in less than 60 seconds (often a lot less) :

combine video files into 1

Finally, go to File–>Save Segmented AVI to save your work to your computer :

combine video files

Put in a new name for your new combined file and then VirtualDub will get to work, merging all the files into one big one for you.

Once it’s finished, test it and you’ll see that the merging was so good, you don’t even see any disturbance in the picture where one file ended and another began! There will be the odd occasion though when the sound may get out of sync a little but some advanced users may be able to quickly fix that problem. I am not knowledgable enough to be able to fix sound synchronisation problems.

VirtualDub is an amazing piece of free software. Along with Audacity, you have all you need to edit and put together video and audio on your computer – without any of it costing you a single penny. I highly recommend you download this app to your computer and take the time to go through it.

What other pieces of video editing software do you like to use? Anything that gives VirtualDub a run for its money?

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