How can I add a video title, in the start of a video, without re-encoding the actual video and losing the quality? is it possible in iMovie or Adobe Premiere Pro ? or even any Windows software? is it even possible theoretically?

Update: What I want is this. When I start the video file, first of all a title appears on the blank screen for 2 seconds, then the actual video starts.

What if I create an empty Title video, with the same codec, container and the resolution, comprising only the title. Then using 'ffmepg' join this newly created video at the start of the existing video ( for which I am creating this title).

  • AJ responded as though you asked for a superimposed title, which I didn't get from your question. Is that what you meant? Or are you asking how to add a separate title section of video ahead of what's already there?
    – Jim Mack
    Jan 26, 2015 at 19:05
  • What I want is this. When I start the video file, first of all a title appears on the blank screen for 2 seconds, then the actual video starts. Jan 27, 2015 at 11:35

3 Answers 3


It depends a bit on your file format. But it is possible; if you create a title as a separate video you can concatenate (join) the title and the original video usng tools such as ffmpeg. Generally this will work best if they are the same codec with the same settings. For concatenation using ffmpeg see the FAQ.

Some formats, like MPEG2 program streams (like you get on DVDs) can actually be concatenated by simply adding the second file to the end of the first, eg. by using cat file1.mpg file2.mpg > newfile.mpg on the command line.


Unfortunately, because of the fact that most modern video compression algorithms don't work on single pixels, but rather groups of pixels (often called blocks), it will not be possible to change the values of select pixels (such as by adding a title) without re-encoding the video or using a format that supports an overlay.

For simply re-encoding, if size is not an issue, you can re-encode at a much higher quality level (or even losslessly) to reduce or remove any additional generations of loss, but you will be stuck with a much larger file.

Alternately, you could possibly use a playback system that is capable of overlays and use that to apply the title to the video. It might be possible through a format or play back engine with advanced sub-titling capability, just as an example, but that would also depend on the format that your video is currently in and if it could be moved to a container or player that supports overlays.


I really don't see what the problem is?

In adobe premiere pro, I had done a rough cut of my niece having tea. I added the title screen after, so I just shifted the clips along the timeline to give some extra space at the beginning of the video. The source clips were all .mts file formats, no need to re-encode.

You can see the result here.

  • You do realise that when you export from Premiere you're re-encoding, don't you?
    – stib
    Dec 14, 2017 at 4:08

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