[FFmpeg-user] CLI User Documentation

Jeff Eckermann jeff_eckermann at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 8 04:27:28 CEST 2011

>    I am trying to use FFmpeg and have no prior experience
>processing video files. To that end, I went to the FFMpeg.org site -->
>Documentation tab --> Command Line Interface (CLI) and Related User
>Documentation section --> FFmpeg Documentation link. This document
>apparently presumes a great deal of background knowledge and used many
>terms w/o defining them. I have been Google-ing a lot and not getting
>very far. Can anyone recommend a Glossary or "Video Processing for
>Dummies"-type site explaining the fundamental concepts and terms? 

>    I appreciate the help.

>Frank Schwartz

It would help if you could tell us what you are trying to do.

As a general introduction: best to start small and work up.  FFmpeg supports 
lots of features that most people will rarely if ever use.  A minimal command 
line is:
ffmpeg -i inputfile outputfile

FFmpeg will usually do a good job of working out what "inputfile" actually is, 
and what "outputfile" is intended to be.  If transcoding is required, default 
values will be used for the optional parameters.  These defaults may be fine for 
you, or they might not e.g. the default video bitrate is 200kbs, which will give 
poor quality and is really only suitable for internet streaming.  You can use 
the "-b" flag to specify the video bitrate, and "-ab" to specify the audio 

You can specify the audio and video format by using "-acodec" and "-vcodec" 
options, for example:

ffmpeg -i dvd_rip.mpg -vcodec mpeg4 -acodec libmp3lame -b 1500k -ab 320k 

(this assumes that your ffmpeg is compiled with libmp3lame, which it probably 

Try googling "ffmpeg"; you will find plenty of usage examples.

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