I can successfully join multiple files using the following command:

ffmpeg -f concat -i input.txt -codec copy output.mp4

The only problem with this command is that you need to read the filepaths from the text file called input.txt with the following content:

file 'C:\Users\fabio\Downloads\Super\Sharks\01.mp4'
file 'C:\Users\fabio\Downloads\Super\Sharks\02.mp4'
file 'C:\Users\fabio\Downloads\Super\Sharks\03.mp4'

Is there a way to achieve the same goal without having to read the filepaths from a file? I have tried the following with no luck:

ffmpeg -f concat -i file "C:\a\b\01.mp4" file "C:\a\b\02.mp4" -codec copy output.mp4
ffmpeg -f concat -i "C:\a\b\01.mp4" "C:\a\b\02.mp4" -codec copy output.mp4

Do I have to use a different command?


2019 Update:

As mentioned in the comments, Stack Overflow has a great description of the available options for concatenation, as well as a discussion of which method to use depending on the types of files you're using:

How to concatenate two MP4 files using FFmpeg?

Original 2016 Answer:

You should be able to use the concat protocol method to combine the files:

ffmpeg -i "concat:input1.mp4|input2.mp4|input3.mp4" -c copy output.mp4

In addition, the FFmpeg manual discusses a method specifically for MP4 files, in order to losslessly concatenate them, but requires that you create temporary files (or named pipes):

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
  • 1
    First command worked for me like a butter..it took 2 to 3 seconds to concat my 6 mp4 files into output file (239 MB approx). – Sachin Dec 16 '16 at 10:39
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    The first command didn't work for me. It just copied the first file. – Luis A. Florit Jun 11 '17 at 1:32
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    This doesn't work, it just copied the first file to output.mp4. – crmpicco Nov 14 '18 at 14:01
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    File-level concatenation does not work for MP4, so the concat protocol is not recommended for this format and will generally not work. – llogan Feb 21 '19 at 18:23
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    @brasofilo Thank you for the link. This is long overdue, but I updated the answer to point people in that direction. – Carson Darling Feb 22 '19 at 16:11

You may replace file with list by outputting list to stdout and reading the list from stdin by ffmpeg:

(echo file 'a.mp4' & echo file 'b.mp4') | ffmpeg -protocol_whitelist file,pipe -f concat -safe 0 -i pipe: -vcodec copy -acodec copy "result.mp4"
  • Using ffmpeg version 2.4.3-tessus on Mac OS 10.12.6, this just throws an error: "Unrecognized option 'protocol_whitelist'". Without the protocol_whitelist option, it seems to just make a copy of the second MP4 file. – James Jun 20 '19 at 18:53
  • @ErmanKadirKahraman, singleline form is fine for both windows and linux, but trailing \ makes it correct only for linux as windows uses ^ as escaping for linebreak. – Qwertiy Jun 11 '20 at 13:26
  • @ErmanKadirKahraman, buy the way, I'm not sure if it works in linux at all as its echo file 'a.mp4' prints file a.mp4 when on windows it keeps apostrophe file 'a.mp4'. – Qwertiy Jun 11 '20 at 13:31
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    This is best answer I found after search for hours , it even works on shell script . – Salem F Jul 1 '20 at 19:33
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    I also liked this best. I posted a 'script' based on this idea. – Marius Hofert Aug 8 '20 at 1:29

No, there appears to be no way to use the ffmpeg concat demuxer on a single command line without some hack. You need to create the input text file with the list of files. I thought this strange myself, maybe someone will add this to FFMpeg at a later date.

The accepted answer to this question uses the concat protocol, not the concat demuxer which is what the OP asked.

  • 1
    Actually there is. stdin. – Qwertiy Feb 21 '19 at 9:11
  • concat protocol shouldn't be used with MP4 or any other format the requires a global header. – llogan Sep 18 '19 at 19:00

You could still do it in a script without changing the command. Something like:

echo "file fname1" >$$.tmp    #single redirect creates or truncates file
echo "file fname2" >>$$.tmp   # double redirect appends
echo "file fname3" >>$$.tmp   # do as many as you want.

ffmpeg -f concat -i $$.tmp -codec copy output.mp4

rm $$.tmp  # just to clean up the temp file. 
           # For debugging, I usually leave this out.

The $$ expands to the pid of the shell running the command, so the file name will be different every time you run it. so you could use $$.txt if you prefer. Or something else...

Also, you can use here files to add a bunch of data to the file:

cat <<EOF >$$.tmp
file fname1
file fname2
file fname3

bash Variable substitution works, so you can programatically determine the content of the file, it doesn't have to be fixed. I embed this sort of stuff in for loops all the time. Finally, the redirect works the same as above, so >$$.tmp truncates then writes, >>$$.tmp appends.

  • 2
    The question asks, "is there a way to achieve the same goal without having to read the filepaths from a file?"  All you have done is provide a way to write the filepaths to a file (prior to reading the filepaths from the file).  This does not answer the question. – Scott Feb 13 '17 at 0:01

I also liked Qwertiy's answer best. Here is a script (works for an arbitrary number of files, also for .mov; tested on macOS):


if [ $# -lt 1 ]; then
    echo "Usage: `basename $0` input_1.mp4 input_2.mp4 ... output.mp4"
    exit 0

ARGS=("$@") # determine all arguments
output=${ARGS[${#ARGS[@]}-1]} # get the last argument (output file)
unset ARGS[${#ARGS[@]}-1] # drop it from the array
(for f in "${ARGS[@]}"; do echo "file '$f'"; done) | ffmpeg -protocol_whitelist file,pipe -f concat -safe 0 -i pipe: -vcodec copy -acodec copy $output

Without external text file, one line command to merge all MP4 files in a folder:

(FOR /F "delims=" %%A IN ('DIR *.mp4 /O:D /B') DO @ECHO file '%%A') | ffmpeg -protocol_whitelist file,pipe -f concat -safe 0 -i pipe: -c copy "result.mp4"

(This based Qwertiy's one-line command. Thanks Qwertiy!)

  • Not sure that you need dir command - for hase some forms that iterate filenames. Also a questionable moment is order of files - I'm not sure whether it sorts the list somehow or not. – Qwertiy Jan 11 at 17:05

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