This short guide will teach you how to split large MKV files (aka Matroska) so that they can be burned to multiple DVDs. MKV is a video container format similar to AVI in the sense that it can hold almost any audio or video stream, however it has more features than AVI and is a true successor. MKV is primiarly used to store very large H.264 videos. These videos can be upwards of 4GB or larger, which can make burning them to DVDs very difficult
1. Questions and Answers
Q. Why split an MKV file when I can just compress it into multiple zips?
A. Splitting an MKV file into multiple parts has its advantages. The conventional way to burn files larger than DVD is to zip the file and split the zip into multiple parts. The problem with doing this for MKV files is, if you want to watch your video, you have copy the zip files from your DVDs to your harddrive and then extract them. This is a time consuming 2-step process. While this works, it's hardly appealing. Not to mention, if your DVD becomes scratched or damaged, the entire zip file cannot be unzipped.
If you choose to split your MKV file, you can burn them directly to DVD and then watch them directly from DVD without having to first extract or copy the files to your harddrive. Additionally, MKV supports file linking, which means if the multiple MKVs reside in the same folder, they will be seamlessly combined when you play the first MKV file. This means you won't have a noticeable delay during the transition from part 1 to part 2.
Lets say that you want to upload a video to Youtube. The problem with that is Youtube has a 10 minute restriction. We can sidestep this annoyance by splitting your video into multiple parts. On top of that, if your video is an AVI or MP4, no worries. You can simply remux (remultiplex or "convert") your video into multiple MKV files without any loss of quality.
2. Required Files
- MKV Toolnix (Windows Installer)
- An MKV File you want to split
- Run the MKV Merge GUI (mmg.exe)
- Next to Input Files, click Add and navigate for the MKV file you wish to split. Once found, press Open.
- Go up to the Global tab and click it.
- Check Enable Splitting
- Choose after this size...
For this part, you will need a calculator.
- Open a calculator from your start menu. Leave this window open for now.
- Open an explorer (My Computer) from your Start Menu and navigate to the folder containing your MKV file.
- Take note of its filesize. My MKV filesize is 1,535,652 KB. It is very important that you note its exact filesize without rounding any numbers. You need to be as precise as possible with this part.
- Simply input the number into your calculator and divide it by however many parts you wish to split your file to. In my case, I want to split it into 3 parts so that it can be burned to 3 CDs. Mine comes to 511,884 KB. That is the number I will be typing next to after this size in MKV Merge.
- Next to ...after this size:, type the filesize you wish to split your video into. Make sure you type the number without commas and type the letter K after the number. If you don't, MKV Merge automatically assumes Bytes which can easily confuse you when you end up with 1 or 2 very small files and an extremely large file. Don't make this mistake! :)
- (Optional Step) Check Link Files. If you do not do this, each MKV will be independent and will not merge into a single video file while watching.
Note: File linking can sometimes create issues with certain hardware or software media players. It has been brought to my attention that File Linking will sometimes make the video have difficulty rewinding. Personally, I do not have issues when using File linking because I watch everything on my computer with Media Player Classic Homecinema, however many people use different players and file linking may be problematic. Use at your own risk.
- Next to Max number of Files, type the number of files you wish to create. In my case, 3. If you skip this step, you might end up with a 4th MKV file that is only a few KB in size. This happens because splitting MKV files isn't perfect. When a video is split into multiple parts, sometimes the first part will be smaller than the second (or vice versa). This is due to the way splitting works. Videos are comprised of keyframes and frames. Keyframes are like perfect quality snapshots and frames contain less information. A video cannot be split on a frame, it has to be split exactly on a keyframe. If you intend to split your video into 2 parts, sometimes you will end up with a 3rd part. This 3rd part might be a few kilobytes in size. I like to call this the "remainder". To avoid this, simply type the number of parts you wish to split your video into. This ensures that the final part contains the remainder.
- Next to Output Filename, append your filename with "_part". Your file should look like this:
By default, MKV Merge tries to create your MKV files in the same directory with the same filename. In short, MKV Merge will try to overwrite your file, which will result in an error. By adding the "_part", it not only changes the resulting filename but it helps you distinguish between a multipart MKV and non multipart MKV.
- Press "Start Muxing" to begin.
4. Important Notes
Make sure you don't accidentally split the files too big so that they won't fit on CDs or DVDs. A DVD+R's typical capacity is 4,482MB (4,590,208KB). Dual layer DVD-R can fit 8,147MB (8,343,424KB) I have burned DVDs with about 4470MB without any problems. Your results may vary.
5. How to Split Videos for Youtube (and other Video Streaming Sites)
Splitting video can be useful for Youtube or other video streaming sites. Youtube enforces a strict 10 minute limitation, which can be easily bypassed by simply splitting your videos into 10 minute increments. Simply follow steps 1 through 4. When you reach step 5, instead of choosing After this size..., choose After this duration. In the text box, you need to type a timecode. For 10 minutes, you would type:
But for Youtube, I recommend splitting a video around 9 minutes and 45 seconds just to be safe. To do that, simply type:
you can also type seconds like this:
360s (This will split the video into 6 minute parts)
Important: Youtube gets confused if you link the videos. I ran into this problem with a video I uploaded, so make sure you don't choose Link Files during Step 7.
Q. Why does the split MKV file play fine on my PC but does not work in my hardware media player? (e.g. Sony BDP-S370, Playstation 3, PopCorn Hour, etc.)
A #1. There are 2 possible answers for this. The first is, your MKV file contains a Level 5.1 Mpeg-4 AVC (H.264) video stream. If this is the case, then your video will not work in any hardware decoder or media player and will need to be reconverted. This process takes hours even on the fastest of computers. Only videos with a Level of 4.1 or lower will play in hardware players. If you need to determine if your video is Level 5.1, simply open your video with a program called MediaInfo and look for its "Format Profile" If it says "High@L5.1", then it will not play and will need to be reconverted. If it says High@L4.1 (or Main@L3.2 etc.), then there must be something else wrong with your video that is causing it to have playback issues. Refer below for other possible solutions.
A #2. If for some reason after splitting your MKV file, it does not play in your hardware media player, it may be due to a recent change in MkvToolnix that implements a feature called "Header Removal Compression" All versions of MKVToolnix starting from versions 4.1.0 and newer use Header Removal Compression, which is responsible for making certain video and audio tracks take up less space, consequently making the MKV file smaller.
Certain hardware and software players do not have Header Removal Compression support, which therefore means they do not fully support the MKV container. A possible fix would be to downgrade MKVToolnix to a version prior to v4.1.0 or explicitly set the "Compression scheme" for all video and audio tracks to "none". A much better solution would be to contact the maker and request support for Header Removal Compression" For more information regarding Header Removal Compression, visit http://www.bunkus.org/videotools/mkvtoolnix/faq.html#header_removal_compression
Q. After splitting a file into multiple MKV files, I get an error when uploading to Youtube.
A. It's possible you enabled "file linking" which is recommended in Step 7. For some odd reason, Youtube throws a fit sometimes when file linking is enabled. To fix this, simply split the video again with file linking disabled and then upload them again.
Last Updated (Saturday, 18 September 2010 12:32)