Version 37 (modified by slhck, 10 days ago) (diff)

move mmcat script to separate page, since it's not strictly required anymore

Concatenating media files

If you have media files with exactly the same codec and codec parameters you can concatenate them as described in "Concatenation of files with same codecs". If you have media with different codecs you can concatenate them as described in "Concatenation of files with different codecs" below.

Concatenation of files with same codecs

There are two methods within ffmpeg that can be used to concatenate files of the same type: the concat ''demuxer'' and the concat ''protocol''. The demuxer is more flexible - it requires the same codecs, but different container formats can be used; and it can be used with any container formats, while the protocol only works with a select few containers. However, the concat protocol is available in older versions of ffmpeg, where the demuxer isn't.

Concat demuxer

The concat demuxer was added to FFmpeg 1.1. You can read about it in the documentation.


Create a file mylist.txt with all the files you want to have concatenated in the following form (lines starting with a # are ignored):

# this is a comment
file '/path/to/file1'
file '/path/to/file2'
file '/path/to/file3'

Note that these can be either relative or absolute paths. Then you can stream copy or re-encode your files:

ffmpeg -f concat -safe 0 -i mylist.txt -c copy output

The -safe 0 above is not required if the paths are relative.

It is possible to generate this list file with a bash for loop, or using printf. Either of the following would generate a list file containing every *.wav in the working directory:

# with a bash for loop
for f in ./*.wav; do echo "file '$f'" >> mylist.txt; done
# or with printf
printf "file '%s'\n" ./*.wav > mylist.txt

On Windows Command-line:

(for %i in (*.wav) do @echo file '%i') > mylist.txt

Or for Windows bat-file:

(for %%i in (*.wav) do @echo file '%%i') > mylist.txt

If your shell supports process substitution (like Bash and Zsh), you can avoid explicitly creating a list file and do the whole thing in a single line. This would be impossible with the concat protocol (see below). Make sure to generate absolute paths here, since ffmpeg will resolve paths relative to the list file your shell may create in a directory such as "/proc/self/fd/".

ffmpeg -f concat -safe 0 -i <(for f in ./*.wav; do echo "file '$PWD/$f'"; done) -c copy output.wav
ffmpeg -f concat -safe 0 -i <(printf "file '$PWD/%s'\n" ./*.wav) -c copy output.wav
ffmpeg -f concat -safe 0 -i <(find . -name '*.wav' -printf "file '$PWD/%p'\n") -c copy output.wav

You can also loop a video. This example will loop input.mkv 10 times:

for i in {1..10}; do printf "file '%s'\n" input.mkv >> mylist.txt; done
ffmpeg -f concat -i mylist.txt -c copy output.mkv

Concatenation becomes troublesome, if next clip for concatenation does not exist at the moment, because decoding won't start until the whole list is read. However, it is possible to refer another list at the end of the current list:


fn_concat_init() {
    echo "fn_concat_init"
    concat_pls=`mktemp -u -p . concat.XXXXXXXXXX.txt`
    echo "concat_pls=${concat_pls:?}"
    mkfifo "${concat_pls:?}"

fn_concat_feed() {
    echo "fn_concat_feed ${1:?}"
        >&2 echo "removing ${concat_pls:?}"
        rm "${concat_pls:?}"
        >&2 fn_concat_init
        echo 'ffconcat version 1.0'
        echo "file '${1:?}'"
        echo "file '${concat_pls:?}'"
    } >"${concat_pls:?}"

fn_concat_end() {
    echo "fn_concat_end"
        >&2 echo "removing ${concat_pls:?}"
        rm "${concat_pls:?}"
        # not writing header.
    } >"${concat_pls:?}"


echo "launching ffmpeg ... all.mkv"
timeout 60s ffmpeg -y -re -loglevel warning -i "${concat_pls:?}" -pix_fmt yuv422p all.mkv &


echo "generating some test data..."
i=0; for c in red yellow green blue; do
    ffmpeg -loglevel warning -y -f lavfi -i testsrc=s=720x576:r=12:d=4 -pix_fmt yuv422p -vf "drawbox=w=50:h=w:t=w:c=${c:?}" test$i.mkv
    fn_concat_feed test$i.mkv
echo "done"


wait "${ffplaypid:?}"

echo "done encoding all.mkv"

Concat protocol

While the demuxer works at the stream level, the concat protocol works at the file level. Certain files (mpg and mpeg transport streams, possibly others) can be concatenated. This is analogous to using cat on UNIX-like systems or copy on Windows.


ffmpeg -i "concat:input1.mpg|input2.mpg|input3.mpg" -c copy output.mpg

If you have MP4 files, these could be losslessly concatenated by first transcoding them to mpeg transport streams. With h.264 video and AAC audio, the following can be used:

ffmpeg -i input1.mp4 -c copy -bsf:v h264_mp4toannexb -f mpegts intermediate1.ts
ffmpeg -i input2.mp4 -c copy -bsf:v h264_mp4toannexb -f mpegts intermediate2.ts
ffmpeg -i "concat:intermediate1.ts|intermediate2.ts" -c copy -bsf:a aac_adtstoasc output.mp4

If you're using a system that supports named pipes, you can use those to avoid creating intermediate files - this sends stderr (which ffmpeg sends all the written data to) to /dev/null, to avoid cluttering up the command-line:

mkfifo temp1 temp2
ffmpeg -i input1.mp4 -c copy -bsf:v h264_mp4toannexb -f mpegts temp1 2> /dev/null & \
ffmpeg -i input2.mp4 -c copy -bsf:v h264_mp4toannexb -f mpegts temp2 2> /dev/null & \
ffmpeg -f mpegts -i "concat:temp1|temp2" -c copy -bsf:a aac_adtstoasc output.mp4

All MPEG codecs (H.264, MPEG4/divx/xvid, MPEG2; MP2, MP3, AAC) are supported in the mpegts container format, though the commands above would require some alteration (the -bsf bitstream filters will have to be changed).

Concatenation of files with different codecs

Concat filter

The concat filter is available in recent versions of ffmpeg. See the concat filter documentation for more info.


This is easiest to explain using an example:

ffmpeg -i input1.mp4 -i input2.webm \
-filter_complex "[0:v:0] [0:a:0] [1:v:0] [1:a:0] concat=n=2:v=1:a=1 [v] [a]" \
-map "[v]" -map "[a]" <encoding options> output.mkv

On the -filter_complex line, the following:

[0:v:0] [0:a:0] [1:v:0] [1:a:0]

tells ffmpeg what streams to send to the concat filter; in this case, video stream 0 [0:v:0] and audio stream 0 [0:a:0] from input 0 (input1.mp4 in this example), and video stream 0 [1:v:0] and audio stream 0 [1:v:0] from input 1 (input2.webm).

concat=n=2:v=1:a=1 [v] [a]'

This is the concat filter itself. n=2 is telling the filter that there are two input files; v=1 is telling it that there will be one video stream; a=1 is telling it that there will be one audio stream. [v] and [a] are names for the output streams to allow the rest of the ffmpeg line to use the output of the concat filter.

Note that the single quotes around the whole filter section are required.

-map '[v]' -map '[a]'

This tells ffmpeg to use the results of the concat filter rather than the streams directly from the input files.

Note that filters are incompatible with stream copying; you can't use -c copy with this method. Also, I'm not sure whether softsubs are supported.

As you can infer from this example, multiple types of input are supported, and anything readable by ffmpeg should work. The inputs have to be of the same frame size, and a handful of other attributes have to match.

Using an external script

There is a Bash script called mmcat which was useful for older versions of ffmpeg that did not include the concat filter.

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