How to Use VLC to Combine Two Clips

By Aaron Parson

Though best known for video playback, VLC Media Player has a whole second life as a video editing tool. There's a good reason few know about these features, however: You can access some only through the Command Prompt. One of VLC's command-line features gathers multiple video clips and outputs them into a single file. To start, you need two clips with identical encoding, so begin by transcoding the files if necessary.

Step 1

**Transcode both of your clips into matching video formats**. The format you use doesn't matter -- among supported VLC formats -- as long as both clips have the *same* format. If you got both clips from the same place or split them yourself, they probably have matching formats already, so you can skip this step, but if you run into trouble, try transcoding.To transcode in VLC, open the "Media" menu and pick "Convert/Save." Add one clip, press "Convert/Save" and pick a format from the *Profile* list. After VLC finishes, convert the second clip. You can also use another video editor to convert your clips, if you prefer.

Step 2

"Shift-right-click" in the Windows folder containing your video clips and pick "Open Command Window Here" to open a Command Prompt.

Step 3

Type the following command, replacing the components in brackets:**"[Location of vlc.exe]" [first_clip.ext] [second_clip.ext] --sout "#gather:std{access=file,dst=[new_name.ext]}" --sout-keep**For example, if you have VLC installed in the default directory and you want to combine two video clips named *1.avi* and *2.avi* into *3.avi*, your complete command would read:**"C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLan\VLC\vlc.exe" 1.avi 2.avi --sout "#gather:std{access=file,dst=3.avi}" --sout-keep**

Step 4

Press "Enter" and wait while VLC merges the files. When VLC's status bar appears blank, rather than showing the name of one of the clips, the program has finished.**Close the VLC window before you try to open your new file**, or the new file won't merge correctly, causing an incorrect time count or corrupted video.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want to play two clips together but don't need to merge them into a single file, there's a much easier solution. Select "Playlist" from the View menu (or press "Ctrl-L") to open the playlist. Drag your two clips into the list and press "Play" to play them back to back.
  • To combine more than two clips, add each file's name to the command in order, separated by spaces -- "1.avi 2.avi 3.avi 4.avi" and so on.
  • Many other programs and sites offer video merging through a graphical interface, in case you aren't comfortable using the command line. Desktop options include Avidemux and Windows Movie Maker, or you could upload the clips to YouTube and use the video editor there to combine them and download the result. (Links in Resources.)
  • Before transcoding, make sure you do not have "Repeat" turned on, or VLC might freeze.