Joining two or more MP4 files to AVI on Ubuntu (the easy way)
The software described in this article was tested on Ubuntu 9.10 and on Linux Mint Isadora
Yesterday and today, I have been busy discovering a fine, very fine video editing tool for my Linux Ubuntu computers. It’s called LiVES, which stands for Linux Video Editing System. I was looking for a piece of software that would, at least, enable me to join two (or more) MP4 files into one file. The output file did not necessarily have to be in MP4 format, as long as the combined video files would be output to a format that would allow playing the video files in Linux as well as in Windows.
Optionally, I wanted to have the option to insert frames, delete frames, insert something like a title at the beginning, and some text at the end. And last but not least: I wanted the program to have a graphical user interface, so my partner would also be able to do some video editing.
Without the second and third requirements, It would as been as simple as installing a package called MP4Box. This tool allows you, through the command line, to join two, and up to a maximum of 20 MP4 files into one output file with a command like this: MP4Box -cat firstfile.MP4 -cat secondfile.MP4 –newfilename.mp4 , and so on. MP4Box is available in Ubuntu through System -> Management -> Synaptic, just look up the package, install it, and test in in a terminal window. It just works.
However, I wanted to have a graphical user interface. Now my first thought was to go with a program called Avidemux. It’s available in Synaptic and in the Software Center. Avidemux allows joining files in a very simple way, by litterally dragging the files into the program. However, with Avidemux, I found out that joining specifically MP4 files would lead to a loss of the Audio track at about 75% of each set of joint files. That was not acceptable, of course.
Now after some Googling, I found this very fine piece of software called LiVES. It’s available through the Getdeb portal. Please note that the Getdeb Portal is NOT an official Ubuntu site! Please note (11-04-2010): for Ubuntu 10.10, do not try to find the software in the Getdeb portal. It’s just available directly through the Ubuntu software center.Anyway, it is here that I found LiVES for Ubuntu 9.10. I installed it on three of my four Linux desktops, holding either Ubuntu 9.10 or Linux Mint Isadora. Linux Mint Isadora is a derivative of Ubuntu Lucid Lynx (10.04), so I guess that LiVES will also work on Lucid Lynx.
For the above computers, after installing the LiVES program, the software needed some extra packages: specific coders and decoders. Specifically, for my configuration, I did the following:
1. Through Synaptic, install the mencoder package and the ffmpeg package.
2. Next, in LiVES, through Tools / Preferences, Encoder, set the encoder to mencoder_encoder
After that, I had a totally working GUI that would allow me to join two MP4 files into another format: AVI. Since AVI can be played by virtually any player on any operating system, I had what I wanted to have.
The full documentation of LiVES is available through this link. The documentation first goes into installing the software, but I guess that, for Ubuntu, it is sufficient to install through Getdeb, and add the packages that I mentioned, and set the encoder to mencoder_encoder. Usage information in the documentation can be found from chapter 4 ff. Of course, usage of the program, also in the GUI, requires some basic knowlegde of video editing basics, sound and video rates, frame sizes, etc. etc. I will not deal with them in this article. If you’re looking for a fine way to combine MP4’s in Ubuntu and / or do video editing stuff the easy way, you should really have a look at this program! Have fun!