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1. General Questions


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1.1 When will the next FFmpeg version be released? / Why are FFmpeg releases so few and far between?

Like most open source projects FFmpeg suffers from a certain lack of manpower. For this reason the developers have to prioritize the work they do and putting out releases is not at the top of the list, fixing bugs and reviewing patches takes precedence. Please don't complain or request more timely and/or frequent releases unless you are willing to help out creating them.


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1.2 I have a problem with an old version of FFmpeg; where should I report it?

Nowhere. Upgrade to the latest release or if there is no recent release upgrade to Subversion HEAD. You could also try to report it. Maybe you will get lucky and become the first person in history to get an answer different from "upgrade to Subversion HEAD".


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1.3 Why doesn't FFmpeg support feature [xyz]?

Because no one has taken on that task yet. FFmpeg development is driven by the tasks that are important to the individual developers. If there is a feature that is important to you, the best way to get it implemented is to undertake the task yourself or sponsor a developer.


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1.4 FFmpeg does not support codec XXX. Can you include a Windows DLL loader to support it?

No. Windows DLLs are not portable, bloated and often slow. Moreover FFmpeg strives to support all codecs natively. A DLL loader is not conducive to that goal.


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1.5 My bug report/mail to ffmpeg-devel/user has not received any replies.

Likely reasons


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1.6 Is there a forum for FFmpeg? I do not like mailing lists.

You may view our mailing lists with a more forum-alike look here: http://dir.gmane.org/gmane.comp.video.ffmpeg.user, but, if you post, please remember that our mailing list rules still apply there.


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1.7 I cannot read this file although this format seems to be supported by ffmpeg.

Even if ffmpeg can read the container format, it may not support all its codecs. Please consult the supported codec list in the ffmpeg documentation.


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1.8 Which codecs are supported by Windows?

Windows does not support standard formats like MPEG very well, unless you install some additional codecs.

The following list of video codecs should work on most Windows systems:

msmpeg4v2

.avi/.asf

msmpeg4

.asf only

wmv1

.asf only

wmv2

.asf only

mpeg4

Only if you have some MPEG-4 codec like ffdshow or Xvid installed.

mpeg1

.mpg only

Note, ASF files often have .wmv or .wma extensions in Windows. It should also be mentioned that Microsoft claims a patent on the ASF format, and may sue or threaten users who create ASF files with non-Microsoft software. It is strongly advised to avoid ASF where possible.

The following list of audio codecs should work on most Windows systems:

adpcm_ima_wav
adpcm_ms
pcm

always

mp3

If some MP3 codec like LAME is installed.


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2. Compilation


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2.1 error: can't find a register in class 'GENERAL_REGS' while reloading 'asm'

This is a bug in gcc. Do not report it to us. Instead, please report it to the gcc developers. Note that we will not add workarounds for gcc bugs.

Also note that (some of) the gcc developers believe this is not a bug or not a bug they should fix: http://gcc.gnu.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=11203. Then again, some of them do not know the difference between an undecidable problem and an NP-hard problem...


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3. Usage


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3.1 ffmpeg does not work; what is wrong?

Try a make distclean in the ffmpeg source directory before the build. If this does not help see (http://ffmpeg.org/bugreports.html).


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3.2 How do I encode single pictures into movies?

First, rename your pictures to follow a numerical sequence. For example, img1.jpg, img2.jpg, img3.jpg,... Then you may run:

 
  ffmpeg -f image2 -i img%d.jpg /tmp/a.mpg

Notice that ‘%d’ is replaced by the image number.

img%03d.jpg’ means the sequence ‘img001.jpg’, ‘img002.jpg’, etc...

If you have large number of pictures to rename, you can use the following command to ease the burden. The command, using the bourne shell syntax, symbolically links all files in the current directory that match *jpg to the ‘/tmp’ directory in the sequence of ‘img001.jpg’, ‘img002.jpg’ and so on.

 
  x=1; for i in *jpg; do counter=$(printf %03d $x); ln "$i" /tmp/img"$counter".jpg; x=$(($x+1)); done

If you want to sequence them by oldest modified first, substitute $(ls -r -t *jpg) in place of *jpg.

Then run:

 
  ffmpeg -f image2 -i /tmp/img%03d.jpg /tmp/a.mpg

The same logic is used for any image format that ffmpeg reads.


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3.3 How do I encode movie to single pictures?

Use:

 
  ffmpeg -i movie.mpg movie%d.jpg

The ‘movie.mpg’ used as input will be converted to ‘movie1.jpg’, ‘movie2.jpg’, etc...

Instead of relying on file format self-recognition, you may also use

-vcodec ppm
-vcodec png
-vcodec mjpeg

to force the encoding.

Applying that to the previous example:

 
  ffmpeg -i movie.mpg -f image2 -vcodec mjpeg menu%d.jpg

Beware that there is no "jpeg" codec. Use "mjpeg" instead.


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3.4 Why do I see a slight quality degradation with multithreaded MPEG* encoding?

For multithreaded MPEG* encoding, the encoded slices must be independent, otherwise thread n would practically have to wait for n-1 to finish, so it's quite logical that there is a small reduction of quality. This is not a bug.


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3.5 How can I read from the standard input or write to the standard output?

Use ‘-’ as file name.


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3.6 Why does the chrominance data seem to be sampled at a different time from the luminance data on bt8x8 captures on Linux?

This is a well-known bug in the bt8x8 driver. For 2.4.26 there is a patch at (http://svn.ffmpeg.org/michael/trunk/patches/bttv-420-2.4.26.patch?view=co). This may also apply cleanly to other 2.4-series kernels.


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3.7 How do I avoid the ugly aliasing artifacts in bt8x8 captures on Linux?

Pass 'combfilter=1 lumafilter=1' to the bttv driver. Note though that 'combfilter=1' will cause somewhat too strong filtering. A fix is to apply (http://svn.ffmpeg.org/michael/trunk/patches/bttv-comb-2.4.26.patch?view=co) or (http://svn.ffmpeg.org/michael/trunk/patches/bttv-comb-2.6.6.patch?view=co) and pass 'combfilter=2'.


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3.8 -f jpeg doesn't work.

Try '-f image2 test%d.jpg'.


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3.9 Why can I not change the framerate?

Some codecs, like MPEG-1/2, only allow a small number of fixed framerates. Choose a different codec with the -vcodec command line option.


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3.10 How do I encode Xvid or DivX video with ffmpeg?

Both Xvid and DivX (version 4+) are implementations of the ISO MPEG-4 standard (note that there are many other coding formats that use this same standard). Thus, use '-vcodec mpeg4' to encode in these formats. The default fourcc stored in an MPEG-4-coded file will be 'FMP4'. If you want a different fourcc, use the '-vtag' option. E.g., '-vtag xvid' will force the fourcc 'xvid' to be stored as the video fourcc rather than the default.


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3.11 How do I encode videos which play on the iPod?

needed stuff

-acodec libfaac -vcodec mpeg4 width<=320 height<=240

working stuff

4mv, title

non-working stuff

B-frames

example command line

ffmpeg -i input -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -vcodec mpeg4 -b 1200kb -mbd 2 -flags +4mv -trellis 2 -aic 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -s 320x180 -title X output.mp4


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3.12 How do I encode videos which play on the PSP?

needed stuff

-acodec libfaac -vcodec mpeg4 width*height<=76800 width%16=0 height%16=0 -ar 24000 -r 30000/1001 or 15000/1001 -f psp

working stuff

4mv, title

non-working stuff

B-frames

example command line

ffmpeg -i input -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -vcodec mpeg4 -b 1200kb -ar 24000 -mbd 2 -flags +4mv -trellis 2 -aic 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -s 368x192 -r 30000/1001 -title X -f psp output.mp4

needed stuff for H.264

-acodec libfaac -vcodec libx264 width*height<=76800 width%16=0? height%16=0? -ar 48000 -coder 1 -r 30000/1001 or 15000/1001 -f psp

working stuff for H.264

title, loop filter

non-working stuff for H.264

CAVLC

example command line

ffmpeg -i input -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -vcodec libx264 -b 1200kb -ar 48000 -mbd 2 -coder 1 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -s 368x192 -r 30000/1001 -title X -f psp -flags loop -trellis 2 -partitions parti4x4+parti8x8+partp4x4+partp8x8+partb8x8 output.mp4

higher resolution for newer PSP firmwares, width<=480, height<=272

-vcodec libx264 -level 21 -coder 1 -f psp

example command line

ffmpeg -i input -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -ac 2 -ar 48000 -vcodec libx264 -level 21 -b 640kb -coder 1 -f psp -flags +loop -trellis 2 -partitions +parti4x4+parti8x8+partp4x4+partp8x8+partb8x8 -g 250 -s 480x272 output.mp4


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3.13 Which are good parameters for encoding high quality MPEG-4?

'-mbd rd -flags +4mv+aic -trellis 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -g 300 -pass 1/2', things to try: '-bf 2', '-flags qprd', '-flags mv0', '-flags skiprd'.


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3.14 Which are good parameters for encoding high quality MPEG-1/MPEG-2?

'-mbd rd -trellis 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -g 100 -pass 1/2' but beware the '-g 100' might cause problems with some decoders. Things to try: '-bf 2', '-flags qprd', '-flags mv0', '-flags skiprd.


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3.15 Interlaced video looks very bad when encoded with ffmpeg, what is wrong?

You should use '-flags +ilme+ildct' and maybe '-flags +alt' for interlaced material, and try '-top 0/1' if the result looks really messed-up.


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3.16 How can I read DirectShow files?

If you have built FFmpeg with ./configure --enable-avisynth (only possible on MinGW/Cygwin platforms), then you may use any file that DirectShow can read as input. (Be aware that this feature has been recently added, so you will need to help yourself in case of problems.)

Just create an "input.avs" text file with this single line ...

 
  DirectShowSource("C:\path to your file\yourfile.asf")

... and then feed that text file to FFmpeg:

 
  ffmpeg -i input.avs

For ANY other help on Avisynth, please visit http://www.avisynth.org/.


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3.17 How can I join video files?

A few multimedia containers (MPEG-1, MPEG-2 PS, DV) allow to join video files by merely concatenating them.

Hence you may concatenate your multimedia files by first transcoding them to these privileged formats, then using the humble cat command (or the equally humble copy under Windows), and finally transcoding back to your format of choice.

 
ffmpeg -i input1.avi -sameq intermediate1.mpg
ffmpeg -i input2.avi -sameq intermediate2.mpg
cat intermediate1.mpg intermediate2.mpg > intermediate_all.mpg
ffmpeg -i intermediate_all.mpg -sameq output.avi

Notice that you should either use -sameq or set a reasonably high bitrate for your intermediate and output files, if you want to preserve video quality.

Also notice that you may avoid the huge intermediate files by taking advantage of named pipes, should your platform support it:

 
mkfifo intermediate1.mpg
mkfifo intermediate2.mpg
ffmpeg -i input1.avi -sameq -y intermediate1.mpg < /dev/null &
ffmpeg -i input2.avi -sameq -y intermediate2.mpg < /dev/null &
cat intermediate1.mpg intermediate2.mpg |\
ffmpeg -f mpeg -i - -sameq -vcodec mpeg4 -acodec libmp3lame output.avi

Similarly, the yuv4mpegpipe format, and the raw video, raw audio codecs also allow concatenation, and the transcoding step is almost lossless. When using multiple yuv4mpegpipe(s), the first line needs to be discarded from all but the first stream. This can be accomplished by piping through tail as seen below. Note that when piping through tail you must use command grouping, { ;}, to background properly.

For example, let's say we want to join two FLV files into an output.flv file:

 
mkfifo temp1.a
mkfifo temp1.v
mkfifo temp2.a
mkfifo temp2.v
mkfifo all.a
mkfifo all.v
ffmpeg -i input1.flv -vn -f u16le -acodec pcm_s16le -ac 2 -ar 44100 - > temp1.a < /dev/null &
ffmpeg -i input2.flv -vn -f u16le -acodec pcm_s16le -ac 2 -ar 44100 - > temp2.a < /dev/null &
ffmpeg -i input1.flv -an -f yuv4mpegpipe - > temp1.v < /dev/null &
{ ffmpeg -i input2.flv -an -f yuv4mpegpipe - < /dev/null | tail -n +2 > temp2.v ; } &
cat temp1.a temp2.a > all.a &
cat temp1.v temp2.v > all.v &
ffmpeg -f u16le -acodec pcm_s16le -ac 2 -ar 44100 -i all.a \
       -f yuv4mpegpipe -i all.v \
       -sameq -y output.flv
rm temp[12].[av] all.[av]

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3.18 FFmpeg does not adhere to the -maxrate setting, some frames are bigger than maxrate/fps.

Read the MPEG spec about video buffer verifier.


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3.19 I want CBR, but no matter what I do frame sizes differ.

You do not understand what CBR is, please read the MPEG spec. Read about video buffer verifier and constant bitrate. The one sentence summary is that there is a buffer and the input rate is constant, the output can vary as needed.


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3.20 How do I check if a stream is CBR?

To quote the MPEG-2 spec: "There is no way to tell that a bitstream is constant bitrate without examining all of the vbv_delay values and making complicated computations."


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4. Development


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4.1 Are there examples illustrating how to use the FFmpeg libraries, particularly libavcodec and libavformat?

Yes. Read the Developers Guide of the FFmpeg documentation. Alternatively, examine the source code for one of the many open source projects that already incorporate FFmpeg at (projects.html).


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4.2 Can you support my C compiler XXX?

It depends. If your compiler is C99-compliant, then patches to support it are likely to be welcome if they do not pollute the source code with #ifdefs related to the compiler.


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4.3 Is Microsoft Visual C++ supported?

No. Microsoft Visual C++ is not compliant to the C99 standard and does not - among other things - support the inline assembly used in FFmpeg. If you wish to use MSVC++ for your project then you can link the MSVC++ code with libav* as long as you compile the latter with a working C compiler. For more information, see the Microsoft Visual C++ compatibility section in the FFmpeg documentation.

There have been efforts to make FFmpeg compatible with MSVC++ in the past. However, they have all been rejected as too intrusive, especially since MinGW does the job adequately. None of the core developers work with MSVC++ and thus this item is low priority. Should you find the silver bullet that solves this problem, feel free to shoot it at us.

We strongly recommend you to move over from MSVC++ to MinGW tools.


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4.4 Can I use FFmpeg or libavcodec under Windows?

Yes, but the Cygwin or MinGW tools must be used to compile FFmpeg. Read the Windows section in the FFmpeg documentation to find more information.

To get help and instructions for building FFmpeg under Windows, check out the FFmpeg Windows Help Forum at http://ffmpeg.arrozcru.org/.


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4.5 Can you add automake, libtool or autoconf support?

No. These tools are too bloated and they complicate the build.


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4.6 Why not rewrite ffmpeg in object-oriented C++?

FFmpeg is already organized in a highly modular manner and does not need to be rewritten in a formal object language. Further, many of the developers favor straight C; it works for them. For more arguments on this matter, read "Programming Religion" at (http://www.tux.org/lkml/#s15).


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4.7 Why are the ffmpeg programs devoid of debugging symbols?

The build process creates ffmpeg_g, ffplay_g, etc. which contain full debug information. Those binaries are stripped to create ffmpeg, ffplay, etc. If you need the debug information, used the *_g versions.


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4.8 I do not like the LGPL, can I contribute code under the GPL instead?

Yes, as long as the code is optional and can easily and cleanly be placed under #if CONFIG_GPL without breaking anything. So for example a new codec or filter would be OK under GPL while a bug fix to LGPL code would not.


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4.9 I want to compile xyz.c alone but my compiler produced many errors.

Common code is in its own files in libav* and is used by the individual codecs. They will not work without the common parts, you have to compile the whole libav*. If you wish, disable some parts with configure switches. You can also try to hack it and remove more, but if you had problems fixing the compilation failure then you are probably not qualified for this.


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4.10 I'm using libavcodec from within my C++ application but the linker complains about missing symbols which seem to be available.

FFmpeg is a pure C project, so to use the libraries within your C++ application you need to explicitly state that you are using a C library. You can do this by encompassing your FFmpeg includes using extern "C".

See http://www.parashift.com/c++-faq-lite/mixing-c-and-cpp.html#faq-32.3


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4.11 I have a file in memory / a API different from *open/*read/ libc how do I use it with libavformat?

You have to implement a URLProtocol, see libavformat/file.c in FFmpeg and libmpdemux/demux_lavf.c in MPlayer sources.


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4.12 I get "No compatible shell script interpreter found." in MSys.

The standard MSys bash (2.04) is broken. You need to install 2.05 or later.


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4.13 I get "./configure: line <xxx>: pr: command not found" in MSys.

The standard MSys install doesn't come with pr. You need to get it from the coreutils package.


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4.14 I tried to pass RTP packets into a decoder, but it doesn't work.

RTP is a container format like any other, you must first depacketize the codec frames/samples stored in RTP and then feed to the decoder.


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4.15 Where can I find libav* headers for Pascal/Delphi?

see http://www.iversenit.dk/dev/ffmpeg-headers/


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4.16 Where is the documentation about ffv1, msmpeg4, asv1, 4xm?

see http://svn.ffmpeg.org/michael/trunk/docs/


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4.17 How do I feed H.263-RTP (and other codecs in RTP) to libavcodec?

Even if peculiar since it is network oriented, RTP is a container like any other. You have to demux RTP before feeding the payload to libavcodec. In this specific case please look at RFC 4629 to see how it should be done.


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4.18 AVStream.r_frame_rate is wrong, it is much larger than the framerate.

r_frame_rate is NOT the average framerate, it is the smallest framerate that can accurately represent all timestamps. So no, it is not wrong if it is larger than the average! For example, if you have mixed 25 and 30 fps content, then r_frame_rate will be 150.


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