FFmpeg running on Microsoft Windows
|Original author(s)||Fabrice Bellard|
|Initial release||December 20, 2000|
|Stable release||3.2.1 (November 26, 2016) [±]|
|Preview release||Git [±]|
|Written in||C and Assembly|
|Operating system||Windows, OS X, and Linux; may be compiled for other OSes.|
|Platform||x86, ARM, PowerPC, MIPS, DEC Alpha, Blackfin, AVR32, SH-4, and SPARC; may be compiled for other desktop computers|
LGPL 2.1+, GPL 2+ |
Unredistributable if compiled as such
FFmpeg is a free software project that produces libraries and programs for handling multimedia data. FFmpeg includes libavcodec, an audio/video codec library used by several other projects, libavformat (Lavf), an audio/video container mux and demux library, and the ffmpeg command line program for transcoding multimedia files. FFmpeg is published under the GNU Lesser General Public License 2.1+ or GNU General Public License 2+ (depending on which options are enabled).
The project was started by Fabrice Bellard (using the pseudonym "Gérard Lantau") in 2000, and was led by Michael Niedermayer from 2004 until 2015. Some FFmpeg developers were also part of the MPlayer project.
The project publishes a new release every three months on average. While release versions are available from the website for download, FFmpeg developers recommend that users compile the software from source using the latest build from their source code Git version control system.
On January 10, 2014, two Google employees announced that over 1000 bugs had been fixed in FFmpeg during the previous two years by means of fuzz testing.
Two video coding formats with corresponding codecs and one container format have been created within the FFmpeg project so far. The two video codecs are the lossless FFV1, and the lossless and lossy Snow codec. Development of Snow has stalled, while its bit-stream format has not been finalized yet, making it experimental since 2011. The multimedia container format called NUT is no longer being actively developed, but still maintained.
In summer 2010, Fiona Glaser, Ronald Bultje, and David Conrad of the FFmpeg Team announced the ffvp8 decoder. Through testing, they determined that ffvp8 was faster than Google's own libvpx decoder. Starting with version 0.6, FFmpeg also supported WebM and VP8.
In October 2013, a native VP9 and the OpenHEVC decoder, an open source High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) decoder, were added to FFmpeg. In 2016 the native AAC encoder was considered stable, removing support for the two external AAC encoders from VisualOn and FAAC. FFmpeg 3.0 (nicknamed "Einstein" ) retained build support for the Fraunhofer FDK AAC encoder.
Command line tools
- ffmpeg is a command-line tool that converts audio or video formats. It can also capture and encode in real-time from various hardware and software sources such as a TV capture card.
- ffserver is an HTTP and RTSP multimedia streaming server for live and recorded broadcasts. It can also be used to time shift live broadcasts.
- ffplay is a simple media player utilizing SDL and the FFmpeg libraries.
- ffprobe is a command-line tool to display media information (text, CSV, XML, JSON), see also Mediainfo.
- libswresample is a library containing audio resampling routines.
- libavresample is a library containing audio resampling routines from the Libav project, similar to libswresample from ffmpeg.
- libavcodec is a library containing all of the native FFmpeg audio/video encoders and decoders. Most codecs were developed from scratch to ensure best performance and high code reusability.
- libavformat (Lavf) is a library containing demuxers and muxers for audio/video container formats.
- libavutil is a helper library containing routines common to different parts of FFmpeg. This library includes hash functions (Adler-32, CRC, MD5, RIPEMD, SHA-1. SHA-2, MurmurHash3, HMAC MD-5, HMAC SHA-1 and HMAC SHA-2), ciphers (DES, RC4, AES, AES-CTR, TEA, XTEA, Blowfish, CAST-128, Twofish and Camellia), LZO decompressor and Base64 encoder/decoder.
- libpostproc is a library containing older h263 based video postprocessing routines.
- libswscale is a library containing video image scaling and colorspace/pixelformat conversion routines.
- libavfilter is the substitute for vhook which allows the video/audio to be modified or examined between the decoder and the encoder. Filters have been ported from many projects including MPlayer and avisynth
FFmpeg encompasses software implementations of video and audio compressing and decompressing algorithms. These can be compiled and run on diverse instruction sets.
Special purpose hardware
Various application-specific integrated circuit related to video and audio compression and decompression do exist. Such ASIC can perform the computation for audio/video decompression or compression partly or fully to offload these from the host CPU. To make use of such ASIC, instead of an complete implementation of some algorithm, only the API is required. There are numerous ASICs and APIs available, of which several are supported by FFmpeg.
|Firm||ASIC||purpose||supported by FFmpeg||details|
|Intel||Intel Quick Sync Video||both||✓|
|Nvidia||PureVideo / NVDEC||decompression||✓|| via the VDPAU API as of FFmpeg v1.2 (deprecated)|
via CUVID API as of FFmpeg v3.1
|NVENC||compression||✓||as of FFmpeg v2.6|
Supported codecs and formats
FFmpeg supports many common and some uncommon image formats.
The PGMYUV image format is a homebrewn variant of the binary (P5) PGM Netpbm format. FFmpeg also supports 16-bit depths of the PGM and PPM formats, and the binary (P7) PAM format with or without alpha channel, depth 8 bit or 16 bit for
pix_fmts monob, gray, gray16be, rgb24, rgb48be, ya8, rgba, rgb64be.
In addition to FFV1 and Snow codecs, which were created and developed from within FFmpeg, the project also supports codecs from the following:
|Group||Format type||Format name|
|ISO/IEC/ITU-T||Video||MPEG-1 Part 2, H.261 (Px64), H.262/MPEG-2 Part 2, H.263, MPEG-4 Part 2, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, HEVC/H.265 (MPEG-H Part 2), Motion JPEG, IEC DV video and CD+G|
|Audio||MP1, MP2, MP3, AAC, HE-AAC, MPEG-4 ALS, G.711 µ-law, G.711 A-law, G.721 (aka G.726 32k), G.722, G.722.2 (aka AMR-WB), G.723 (aka G.726 24k and 40k), G.723.1, G.726, G.729, G.729D, IEC DV audio and Direct Stream Transfer|
|Subtitle||MPEG-4 Timed Text (aka 3GPP Timed Text)|
|Image||JPEG, JPEG-LS, JPEG 2000, PNG, CCITT G3 and CCITT G4|
|EBU||Subtitle||Spruce subtitle (EBU STL)|
|SMPTE||Video||SMPTE 314M (aka DVCAM and DVCPRO), SMPTE 370M (aka DVCPRO HD), VC-1 (aka WMV3), VC-2 (aka Dirac Pro), VC-3 (aka AVID DNxHD), VC-5 (aka Cineform)|
|ATSC/ETSI/DVB||Audio||Full Rate (GSM 06.10), AC-3 (Dolby Digital) and Enhanced AC-3 (Dolby Digital Plus)|
|Subtitle||DVB Subtitling (ETSI 300 743)|
|DVD Forum/Dolby||Audio||MLP / Dolby TrueHD|
|DTS, Inc||Audio||DTS Coherent Acoustics (aka DTS or DCA), DTS Extended Surround (aka DTS-ES), DTS 96/24, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, DTS Express (aka DTS-HD LBR), DTS-HD Master Audio|
|Blu-ray Disc Association||Subtitle||PGS (Presentation Graphics Stream)|
|3GPP||Audio||AMR-NB, AMR-WB (aka G.722.2)|
|3GPP2||Audio||QCELP-8 (aka SmartRate or IS-96C), QCELP-13 (aka PureVoice or IS-733) and Enhanced Variable Rate Codec (EVRC. aka IS-127)|
|World Wide Web Consortium||Video||Animated GIF|
|IETF||Audio||iLBC (via libilbc), Opus and Comfort noise|
|International Voice Association||Audio||DSS-SP|
|Microsoft||Video||Microsoft RLE, Microsoft Video 1, Cinepak, Indeo (v2, v3 and v5), Microsoft MPEG-4 v1, v2 and v3, Windows Media Video (WMV1, WMV2, WMV3/VC-1), WMV Screen and Mimic codec|
|Audio||Windows Media Audio (WMA1, WMA2, WMA Pro and WMA Lossless), XMA (XMA1 and XMA2), MS-GSM and MS-ADPCM|
|Image||Windows Bitmap, WMV Image (WMV9 Image and WMV9 Image v2) and DirectDraw Surface|
|Interactive Multimedia Association||Audio||IMA ADPCM|
|Digital Video Interactive||Video||RTV 2.1 (Intel Indeo 2)|
|Audio||DVI4 audio codec|
|RealNetworks||Video||RealVideo 1, 2, 3 and 4|
|Audio||RealAudio v1 – v10|
|Apple||Video||Cinepak (Apple Compact Video), ProRes, Sorenson 3 Codec, QuickTime Animation (Apple Animation), QuickTime Graphics (Apple Graphics), Apple Video|
|Audio||QDesign Music Codec 2 and ALAC|
|Adobe Flash Player (SWF)||Video||Screen video, Screen video 2, Sorenson Spark and VP6|
|Audio||Adobe SWF ADPCM and Nellymoser Asao|
|Aldus / Adobe||Image||TIFF|
|Audio||Speex (via libspeex), Vorbis, Opus and FLAC|
|Sony||Audio||Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding (ATRAC1, ATRAC3 and ATRAC3Plus) and PSX ADPCM|
|On2 / GIPS / Google||Video||Duck TrueMotion 1, Duck TrueMotion 2, Duck TrueMotion 2.0 Real Time, VP3, VP5, VP6, VP7, VP8, VP9 and animated WebP|
|Audio||DK ADPCM Audio 3/4, On2 AVC and iLBC (via libilbc)|
|RAD Game Tools||Video||Smacker video and Bink video|
|Netpbm||Image||PBM, PGM and PPM|
|MIT/X Consortium||Image||XBM and xwd|
|Silicon Graphics||Video||Silicon Graphics RLE 8-bit video, Silicon Graphics MVC1/2|
|Image||Silicon Graphics Image|
|Oracle/Sun Microsystems||Image||Sun Raster|
|Avid Technology / Truevision||Video||Avid 1:1x, Avid Meridien, Avid DNxHD and DNxHR|
|Autodesk / Alias||Video||Autodesk Animator Studio Codec and FLIC|
|Grass Valley / Canopus||Video||HQ, HQA, HQX and Lossless|
|Industrial Light & Magic / Lucasfilm||Image||OpenEXR|
|Matrox||Video||Matrox Uncompressed SD (M101) / HD (M102)|
|Asus||Video||ASUS V1/V2 codec|
Output formats (container formats and other ways of creating output streams) in FFmpeg are called "muxers". FFmpeg supports, among others, the following:
- AVI and also input from AviSynth
- GXF, General eXchange Format, SMPTE 360M
- HLS, HTTP Live Streaming
- ISO base media file format (including QuickTime, 3GP and MP4)
- Matroska (including WebM)
- Maxis XA
- MPEG program stream
- MPEG transport stream (including AVCHD)
- MXF, Material eXchange Format, SMPTE 377M
- MSN Webcam stream
- Segment, for creating segmented video streams
- Smooth Streaming
|Without alpha||With alpha||Without alpha||With alpha||Chroma-interleaved||With alpha|
|Monochrome||Binary (1-bit monochrome)||monoblack, monowhite||-||-||-||-||-|
|Grayscale||8 / 10 / 12 / 16bpp||16 / 32bpp||-||-||-||-|
|RGB||RGB 1:2:1 (4-bit color)||4bpp||-||-||-||-||-|
|RGB 3:3:2 (8-bit color)||8bpp||-||-||-||-||-|
|RGB 5:5:5 (High color)||16bpp||-||-||-||-||-|
|RGB 5:6:5 (High color)||16bpp||-||-||-||-||-|
|RGB/BGR||24 / 48bpp||32 / 64bpp||-||-||-||8bit->32bpp|
|GBR||-||-||8 / 9 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 16bpc||8 / 10 / 12 / 16bpc||-||-|
|YUV||YVU 4:1:0||-||-||(9bpp (YVU9))||-||-||-|
|YUV 4:1:1||8bpc (UYYVYY)||-||8bpc||-||(8bpc (NV11))||-|
|YVU 4:2:0||-||-||(8bpc (YV12))||-||8 (NV21)||-|
|YUV 4:2:0||-||-||8 (I420 aka YUV420P) / 9 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 16bpc||8 / 9 / 10 / 16bpc||8 (NV12) / 10 (P010) / 16bpc (P016)||-|
|YVU 4:2:2||-||-||(8bpc (YV16))||-||(8bpc (NV61))||-|
|YUV 4:2:2||8bpc (YUYV and UYVY)||-||8 (I422 aka YUV422P) / 9 / 10 / 16bpc||8 / 9 / 10 / 16bpc||8 (NV16) / 10bpc (NV20 aka P210)||-|
|YUV 4:4:0||-||-||8 / 10 / 12bpc||-||-||-|
|YVU 4:4:4||-||-||(8bpc (YV24))||-||(8bpc (NV42))||-|
|YUV 4:4:4||(10 (Y410) and 16bpc (Y416))||16bpc||8 (I444 aka YUV444P) / 9 / 10 / 16bpc||8 / 9 / 10 / 16bpc||(8bpc (NV24))||-|
|Bayer||BGGR/RGGB/GBRG/GRBG||8 / 16bpp||-||-||-||-||-|
- RGBx (rgb0) and xBGR (0bgr) are also supported
- used in YUV-centric codecs such like H.264
- YVU9, YV12, YV16, and YV24 are supported as rawvideo codec in FFmpeg.
- aka YUY2 in Windows
- 10bpc (Y210) is not supported. 16bpc (Y216) is supported as targa_y216 codec in FFmpeg.
- 16bpc (P216) is not supported
- 8bpc (AYUV) is not supported
- used in JPEG2000
FFmpeg does not support IMC1-IMC4, AI44, CYMK, RGB Float, RGBE, Log RGB and other formats. It also does not yet support ARGB 1:5:5:5, 2:10:10:10, or other BMP bitfield formats that are not commonly used.
- IETF RFCs
- IETF I-Ds:
- Microsoft OSP
- Pro-MPEG Forum: Pro-MPEG CoP #3 r2
- Icecast protocol
- Adobe RTMP, RTMPT, RTMPE, RTMPTE and RTMPS (can be compiled with the native support or using rtmpdumps librtmp library)
- RealMedia RTSP/RDT
FFmpeg contains more than 100 codecs, most of which use compression techniques of one kind or another. Many such compression techniques may be subject to legal claims relating to software patents. Such claims may be enforceable in countries like the United States which have implemented software patents, but are considered unenforceable or void in member countries of the European Union, for example.
In June 2011 an election was organized to establish the board of FFmtech foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated for managing donation funds. It was designed to offer reimbursement for expenses and work done to FFmpeg and Libav. However, according to FFmpeg developer Ronald Bultje the results have been doubtful.
Projects using FFmpeg
FFmpeg is used by software such as VLC media player, xine, HandBrake, Plex, Blender, YouTube, and MPC-HC; it handles video and audio playback in Google Chrome, and Linux version of Firefox. Graphical user interface front-ends for FFmpeg have been developed, including Avanti, and XMedia Recode. JavaCV, a Java wrapper for OpenCV, includes a supplementary Java wrapper for FFmpeg.
On March 13, 2011, a group of FFmpeg developers decided to fork the project under the name "Libav". The event was related to a recent issue in project management, in which developers disagreed with the leadership of FFmpeg.
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...with VLC, Boxee, MythTV, Handbrake and MPlayer being some of the more popular projects utilizing FFmpeg...
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