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FFmpeg is a collection of software libraries that can record, convert and stream digital audio and video in numerous formats.

FFmpeg includes the libavcodec audio/video codec library, a decoder/encoder codec-suit that forms the basis of most free and open source software multimedia programs. The FFmpeg project aims to support all popular and less known codec formats and it is closer to that goal than any other (commercial or open source) program or library

FFmpeg also contains libavformat, a library for multimedia container formats and libpostproc for postprocessing, (and in the future also libavfilter for video and audio filtering). ffplay is a simple media player that uses libavcodec and libavformat.

In 2011 FFmpeg was forked and the Libav project came into being.

About the FFmpeg project

The name of the project comes from the MPEG video standards group, together with "FF" for "fast forward".[1]

The project was started by Fabrice Bellard (using the pseudonym “Gerard Lantau”), and is now maintained by Michael Niedermayer. Many FFmpeg developers are also part of the MPlayer project, and FFmpeg is hosted at the MPlayer project server.

FFmpeg is developed under Linux, but it can be compiled under most operating systems, including Microsoft Windows. There are periodic releases. FFmpeg developers recommend using the latest Git snapshot as development maintains a constantly stable trunk. Released under the GNU Lesser General Public License or GNU General Public License (depending on which sub-libraries one would include), FFmpeg is free software.

Image of applications that uses FFmpeg and libavcodec and libavformat

Diagram showing different applications that uses FFmpeg, (the applications listed are VDR, MPlayer, Xine and VideoLAN)


FFmpeg Components

The FFmpeg project is made of several components:

  • ffmpeg is a command line tool to convert one video file format to another. It also supports grabbing and encoding in real time from a TV card.
  • ffserver is an HTTP (RTSP is being developed) multimedia streaming server for live broadcasts. Time shifting of live broadcast is also supported.
  • ffplay is a simple media player based on SDL and on the FFmpeg libraries.
  • libavcodec is a library containing all the FFmpeg audio/video encoders and decoders. Most codecs were developed from scratch to ensure best performance and high code reusability.
  • libavformat 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.
  • libpostproc is a library containing video postprocessing routines.
  • libswscale is a library containing video image scaling routines.
  • (libavfilter is in development and is an API and library for video and audio filtering)

Codecs and formats supported

The FFmpeg developers have reverse engineering|reverse-engineered and/or reimplemented or invented, among others:


See libavcodec for more details.

The default MPEG-4 codec used by FFmpeg for encoding has the FourCC of FMP4.


Legal status

FFmpeg's legal status varies by country. Some included codecs, (such as Sorenson 3), are claimed by patent owners. Such claims may be enforceable in countries like the United States which recognize software patents, but are considered unenforcable or void in countries that do not recognize software patents. Furthermore, many of these codecs are only released under terms that forbid reverse engineering, even for purposes of interoperability. However, these terms of use are forbidden in certain countries. For example, some European Union nations do not recognize software patents and/or have laws expressly allowing reverse engineering for purposes of interoperability.<ref>Template:Cite encyclopedia</ref> In any case, many Linux distributions do not include FFmpeg to avoid legal complications.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>


Clang Static Analyzer

  1. http://tranquillity.ath.cx/clang/scan-build-2009-04-17-1/
  2. http://tranquillity.ath.cx/clang/scan-build-2009-04-18-1/


  1. http://scan.coverity.com/rungAll.html


  1. http://caca.zoy.org/wiki/zzuf/bugs

PVS-Studio Static C/C++ Analysis

See also

Websites using FFMPEG

This is a VERIFIED list of websites using FFmpeg. Testing was done by uploading a obscure media file that only FFMPEG and one other obscure framework can decode. Since there is no evidence of usage of the other framework anywhere, it is safe to assume they are using FFMPEG

Other projects and applications that use FFmpeg

External Links