How to Quickly Join GoPro Video Files That Have Been Split into Chapters

GoPros split up large video files into chapters. Here's a quick method for joining them back together.

NB. For now, at least, the method outlined here only works with video using the H.264 (AVC) codec. Recent generations of GoPro cameras also use a newer, more efficient video codec for some high-end video modes. It’s known as HEVC or H.265. I have a separate post on working with HEVC / H.265 files.

If you’re shooting video on your GoPro in any of the high frame rate and resolution settings, you have probably noticed that GoPros split the resulting video files into segments. At the highest 4K or high-fps settings from something like the GoPro HERO8 Black, those segments might be only 6 to 8 minutes long.

It’s called chaptering, and there are good reasons they do it. But what if you want to join the segments back together.

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There are two ways to do that. The “proper” way is to import the individual clips into a video editor like GoPro Studio (which is no longer available), Final Cut Pro X, or Adobe Premiere, make your edits on the timeline, and export a new file. But that’s slow, somewhat labor intensive, and involves re-encoding the video and applying a new round of video compression. And even if it’s not immediately obvious to the naked eye, that new round of compression inevitably involves some quality loss.

Sometimes you might just want a quick method to join MP4 clips back together without the hassle of going through a video editing app and re-encoding the file.

Joining GoPro Video Segments with MP4Joiner

There are apps that can do that. They simply join the clips back together without re-encoding the video and applying another round of compression. So you don’t lose any quality, and it’s usually much quicker.

The one I’m focusing on here is MP4Joiner. It’s free, it does what it says it will do, and it’s open source, and cross-platform, with versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There’s nothing specific to GoPro about it–it works with any MP4 file. You can download it here.

There’s also not much to it, so this is a pretty brief guide.

Once you’ve opened MP4Joiner, you simply drag and drop the MP4 file segments created by the GoPro directly onto the app. One thing to watch, though, is that you only add the MP4 files and not any of the associated preview or metadata files. So don’t include any THM or LRV files, for instance.

It’s pretty basic. If you want to reorder them you simply add them in the order you want–there’s no drag-and-reorder option. You don’t need to select only some of the displayed clips–nor can you, for that matter–it will join all the clips that are imported into the app.

The stats down the bottom will tell you the total duration of the combined clips as well as the total size of the file that will be generated.

You can specify where you want the joined MP4 saved, but that’s about it.

And the options are pretty basic. You can force it to re-encode the video, but most of the time that’s probably not what you want, and if it is what you want you probably don’t want to do it in this app.

Once you’ve saved the new file, you can use it just like any other very large MP4 file. And because it has been joined, not re-encoded, there’s no quality loss.

Some Reasons Not to Join GoPro MP4 Videos

Joining segmented video files to make one very large file isn’t always a good idea. Sometimes bigger isn’t better, and multi-gigabyte data files can fall into that category. So there are times you might want to think twice before doing it.

The main reason GoPro camera split up the videos in segments just under 4GB is that some common filesystems have a 4GB limit as the maximum size they support for a single file. That’s true of anything using the old FAT32 filesystem, like old versions of Windows, for instance.

There are some obvious places you might run into that. It shouldn’t be an issue with most computers newer than a few years old—most new operating systems use newer filesystems like exFAT or variations that support much larger individual files.

But it might be an issue with the storage systems that the computer interacts with. For example, even new microSHDC memory cards (and the larger SDHC cards) use FAT32. If you’re backing up to an external hard drive, it might be formatted as FAT32, especially if it was formatted to be broadly compatible with several different operating systems such as Mac and Windows. And online cloud backup services often have a maximum file size limit that’s within range of the kind of filesize you’d get from joining GoPro video segments. Trying to upload a 20GB video file to a service that has a 10GB maximum file size isn’t going to work.

If you are backing up your videos to the cloud, here are some file size limits for common cloud backup services:

Another reason not to join segments is that working with very large files can be very slow and can bring some computers to a grinding halt.

And joining video segments with third-party tools will likely remove any GoPro-specific metadata such as GPS and on-board sensors.

More GoPro Tips & Tricks:

This post was last modified on April 8, 2020 7:32 am

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  • Hi David, perhaps you can help me. I have a GoPro 4 Black shooting at 1080p60fps. I have a 10 min video that GoPro chapterized in a 8.52 clip and the rest in a 1.08 clip.
    I used the MP4Joiner app to splice them together again and it worked great. The the joined 10min video showed up in Quick app and could be viewed just fine. Wonderful I speculated, something that finally works.
    I then tried to upload the 10min video to my YouTube channel and 1:18 min of the video ONLY showed up on YouTube. I tried it 3 times hoping to get all 10 mins but alas it was not to be.
    Any help or suggestions........I am in a quandry as to what to do.
    Thanks and if you wish , you might respond to me directly at my email.
    Roy

  • Just for the record, Windows Defender identified a Trojan virus in the file downloaded from the link you provided.

    • After more research, it seems that the exe version at that link contains a browser add-on that's triggering the warning. There seems to be an alternate version at Sourceforge that doesn't have that add-on. You can find the developer's explanation here and the Sourceforge version here. I'll switch the link above to the Sourceforge page.

    • Thanks for the heads up. I use the Mac version, and I've just downloaded and run it through multiple scanners and it's coming up completely clean. But I also did the same for the Windows version, and some, but not all, scanners seem to be flagging it--Windows Defender among them. I have no way to say whether it's a false positive or not, but I'll add a warning above.

  • I have one question about join and convert h.265 to h.264. Which one I should do it first, convert to h.264 then join the clip or join the clip first then convert to h.264. since join is no data loss.

    • There is some quality loss when you convert from H.265 to H.264 because it's applying another round of compression. The app in this post can join H.264 files but not H.265. I've yet to find an app that does a simple join of H.265 files to create another H.265 file without quality loss.

      • Open source video program Avidemux works like a charm on either H.264 and H.265 videos, and allows you to cut/trim/join and then re-save using the same codec without recompression - hence no loss of quality.

  • Hey, Nice post btw. I have issues with it trying to concatenate files shot at 2.7k @60fps from a 7 gopro6 360 video rig The issue I have is that the time code of the new joined files reflects hours rather than minutes (the real total video should be 6 minutes but it says 6 hours) so the software i'm using (kolor autopano video) has issues importing it because of that. Have you had this issue or know of a better way to join files? I'd hate to have to use ffmpeg for it. Thanks!

      • Its doing the same thing for me - GoPro Hero 6. Youtube will not let me upload a 30 minute video because it thinks its 30 hours.

  • Will the MP4Joiner app work with video from a GoPro Hero3? Will the app be available in the app store anytime soon?

  • does't work for me... Always "failed" message appearing after about 20 seconds. I have a Hero5 Black

  • absolute rubbish! Useless app....i just get a "Failed" message every time i try to join two clips together :(

    • Do you happen to be using a HERO6 Black and using some of the high-end video modes? If so, they'll be encoded using the new HEVC / H.265 codec (but they're still saved as mp4 files). I've just now tested some of those in MP4 Joiner (v3.5) and it fails for me, so I've added a note to the top of this post. I have a separate, more recent, post on working with HEVC H.265 files here. If you're not using a HERO6 Black, I'm not sure what's causing the error, I'm afraid.

  • I like the idea of not having to add compression to the file again. Do you have a trick to join the clips and bring up the GoPro GPS overlay suff? The MPH, Distance and course info?

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