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How do I split a large mp4 file into small playable pieces?

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Last Modified: 2020-04-12
I need to split a large mp4 file into smaller pieces no larger than 28 mb where each piece is playable. What can I use to do this?
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Gary BenjaminBusiness Analyst
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Commented:
I use the VideoPad Editor by NCH. They have a free for non-commercial use version that has most of the paid version features available for download on this page:
https://www.nchsoftware.com/videopad/download-now.html
Assuming you qualify for the non-commercial version, make sure you download the "free version" and not the trial version which is in the link "Windows" on this page, since the latter is a trial version which you eventually have to upgrade to a licensed version.

I can also recommend WavePad Audio Editor by NCH to edit audio files. They have a free for non-commercial use version that has most of the paid version features available for download on this page:
https://www.nch.com.au/wavepad/download-now.html

NCH has other free software listed on this page:
https://www.nchsoftware.com/software/free-downloads.html
I have not verified that all the links on this page are for the free versions. The last time I looked at their software I thought that NCH only had free versions for a few of their products, and this page appears to list them all. They may have changed their licensing since I last looked.

Be aware that if you are using the product for commercial use or want to upgrade to get the most advanced features, the the first time you exit the free version the program will present you with a link to get an extra discount to buy the license. NCH also has special pricing when you bundle.
Gary BenjaminBusiness Analyst
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Commented:
I should have mentioned that you can also use VLC to split files. If you Google "split files using vlc" (without the quotes) you will find many web pages with tutorials to do this. Here is the first hit in the list.
https://techwelkin.com/split-video-vlc-media-player
I have never tried this myself, but I believe that using VLC to split a 2 hour file into four .5 hour pieces it will take you 2+ hours since the procedure works at one times play speed. Using VideoPad the speed is perhaps ten times faster than play speed.

Also, you can use VLC or VideoPad to convert files to another format or another resolution as well. In this case I think VLC works better on batches of files, but I occasionally get a file that VLC won't convert and then I use VideoPad.

Finally, the main reason I got VideoPad was that, as far as I know, VLC won't let you join files, but VideoPad will.
dovidfCEO

Author

Commented:
Nch looks like too much work. Bandicam splits up a large file into multiple pieces in one shot. However, the cost is a bit high
dovidfCEO

Author

Commented:
I saw the vlc video and it also requires a lot of diddling. Your suggestions will work but with a non trivial level of user involvement
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
You could try Audacity.
https://www.audacityteam.org/
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
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Most Valuable Expert 2013

Commented:
You could also try this:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/mp3splt/
Never used it myself, but seems to have decent features.
Paul SauvéRetired
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Commented:
unless you are familiar with audio editor apps, no matter which one you choose will require you to spend time learning

like Lee W, MVP says, i too, use Audacity
Gary BenjaminBusiness Analyst
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Commented:
Since mp3splt appears to be for audio files I searched SourceForge for a video splitter and found
https://sourceforge.net/projects/mp4joiner/files/
There are many reviews complimenting the program's function, but also complaining that the installer also installs adware, so Aidan's advice in the reviews might help

"Program does exactly what you want. I downloaded the installer by selecting the latest from the files section rather than the default download & it didn't even offer any adware - just the splitter & joiner."
David FavorFractional CTO
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Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
1) If you only have to do this once, use any tool. VLC or ScreenFlow or Camtasia. Any video tool will work.

2) If you must do this repeatedly... over time... across 100s-1000s of videos...

Writing a script using ffmpeg will be the fastest way to do this, as splitting can be done without any transcode.

The reason is ffmpeg is usually smart enough to correctly process i + b + p frames correctly, so video correctly plays from the first frame.

You'll never get a hard 28M or any other size, unless you have 100% fixed bitrate... which will be very rare, unless you transcoded the video ahead of time, specifically with something like a 2 pass fixed bit rate.

You script will introspect the video, looking at duration + bitrate, then guess at the specific duration time of each video chuck, then repeatedly run ffmpeg to skip to certain points, then likely use the concatenate operation to slice out each specific chunk, with no transcode to preserve original quality + speed up the process.

Likely there's some way to do this so only one pass is made through the video to split out all the chunks.

Check the https://ffmpeg.org user forums or https://GitHub.com - you might get lucky and find a script already written that does this exact operation.
dovidfCEO

Author

Commented:
I found Bandicam an easy and quick way to split the file into useful chunks. It's a bit expensive but very easy to use and does the trick/
CEO
Commented:
This one is on us!
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