Editing mpeg video

I just downloaded The Great Train Robbery from the Library of Congress’s awesome American Memory website. The movie comes in three mpeg files of about 35Mb each, and they play fine in my Windows Media Player…

I would like to join the files up into a single movie; i would also like to be able to take a few short excerpts out of the movie. Initially, i thought that the best way to do this might to to import the clips to VirtualDub and convert them to avi clips, which would give me good control over the editing. But when i try to open them in VirtualDub, it says “Cannot detect file type.”

I know that i’ve opened and converted mpg files using VirtualDub before, so i’m assuming that my problem arises from the fact that the Great Train Robbery clips are mpeg, which is (i believe) MPEG-1, rather than MPEG-2. Does anyone know of a decent program (preferably freeware or cheap) that i can use to editing this type of mpeg?


<assuming you are on a Windows machine>
What you want to do sounds like a perfect job for Windows Movie Maker. IIRC, it will handle mpeg files. No need for conversions back and forth. Then again, I could be wrong about mpeg support, but I think I remember doing it once.

Thanks for the advice. It’s funny how i sometimes forget the most obvious solution.

Windows Movie Maker worked fine. The only problem is that WMM’s output is in .wmv form, and i would have liked to keep the mpeg format. But the quality was fine, and it did the job.

Thanks again.

Well, you go t it done, but if you want to keep it in mpg format, you can try TmpegEnc. The free version supports mpg1 output, and the full version (totally worth it) support mpg-2.

IIRC, Windows Movie Maker will also output in DV-AVI. The output file will be incredibly large, but you will then be able to load it up into VirtualDub (which I don’t think has native support for WMV), and save as an mpeg.

I wonder if it would work to just append them, since MPEG is supposedly a streamable format.

Something like: copy /b part1+part2+part3 newname

Would be easy enough to try, if you already have the files downloaded.

Wow! I just tried, and it worked. Amazing.

I’m pretty sure that VirtualDub only outputs in AVI form, not MPEG. If there is a version that will output in MPEG format (MPEG2, specifically) that would rule all time and space.

I do this all the time.
Move the files to a folder one by one in the order you want them merged and then run

copy /b *.mpeg mergedmovie.mpg

No muss, no fuss. Very simple and straightforward

Thanks, Kinthalis; i might try that program that you recommended.

sailor, i don’t seem to be able to do what you and SmackFu suggest, and i’m sure it’s because i’m a bit of a doofus when it comes to using the “run” command for anything. I put the three files in a folder, the i typed what you suggested, as well as a few variations, but it didn’t work. I was wondering if you might walk me through it.

The files are named 1.mpeg, 2.mpeg, and 3.mpeg.

They are in the folder C:/My Documents/mpeg

If you could give me some help, i’d be most appreciative.

I do this often enough that I have sort of automated it.

I just have a folder with a .BAT file with just that single line:

copy /b *.mpeg mergedmovie.mpg

That way I don’t have to type it again every time.

I move the MPEG files to that folder, run the BAT file and that’s it.

I have never had a problem so I don’t know what kind of error you may be getting

I’m sure i’m just typing something wrong, at the wrong time, or in the wrong place.

Anyway, i downloaded the TmpegEnc program recommended by Kinthalis and it did the job perfectly.

Thanks again, everyone.

Since the OP was answered, I don’t feel bad about a slight hijack to ask a question related to this.

I have several short video clips that I’ve downloaded, only to find that a bit someplace got messed up. The clip will start, then freeze, or I can see motion in one section of the frame, but not the rest. It seems obviouse to me, that something got corrupted during my download, and a bit got misplaced somehow. Is there a program that can “fix” this sort of problem if it’s not too severe?

I downloaded a program from download.com that claimed to fix corrupted video files, it’s shareware (I think it has a 10 day trial period or something). It was pretty hit and miss though. I think the main issue is the video format. Some of them appear to be much easier to fix than others. I can’t remember the name of the prog but it was something like mpegfixxer. It had fixer or fixxer in the name at any rate. Also, depending on the format, AVIPreview can let you view whatever data isn’t corrupted. I found AVIPreview in the tools that come with Kazaa Lite, but I think you can download it on it’s own, and as far as I know, it’s free. Sorry if this is no help but I’m kinda wondering if there’s an easy solution to this myself as this is the best I’ve been able to find so far and it’s really not all that great.

VirtualDub can do it if, as you say, the problem isn’t too severe.


Anyone serious at all about desktop video, especially if they are working with source files they don’t produce themselves, should have both Virtual Dub and TMPGenc in their bag of tricks.


Good luck!

Thanks all…I actually have both of those on another system…just didn’t occure to me to use them for this.

I have them both and many more but, to tell the truth, doing any video editing is a PITA. It is still geek stuff and not simple and user-friendly. I have done a few things but at a cost of a lot of time and frustration.

I was just trying to join two very short clips captured from broadcast TV but VirtualDub refuse to join thenm saying they have different frame rate. When I check the rates they are off by a few parts per million. Iin other words, the normal variation. So I have a dozen programs and have to keep trying tricks. It is a big waste of time.

Several months ago I started trying to transfer my old video tapes to computer files and I still have not succeeded. The audio and video become out of sync. I am sure I could get around this if I spent countless hours. I am also sure that as soon as i got around that I would run into another problem.

Video editing still has a long way to go before it is for non-geeks.

That very problem is the reason I quit using commercial software for video editing.

I record holidays and birthdays on video, and capture them into my PC to edit and send them to my folks back in the US so that they can see what the grandkids are up to. I’ll usually get about an hour of video from a holiday, and cut it to about 45 minutes.

The capture itself has audio and video perfectly synced, but the software I used to edit with would screw things up so that the finished video would gradually wander out of sync. At the end of a 45 minute video, the video and audio would be out of sync by ten or fifteen seconds. Outrageous.

I use Cinelerra these days. It is a bitch to use (Main Actor was much more user friendly,) but stuff stays synced all the way through. I use ffmpeg to recode between file formats or to change video sizes and rates. It is also not terribly user friendly (command line only) but it gets the job done.