Installing FFMpeg

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Much of the Video Wiki's media manipulating magic comes from the use of the commandline tool ffmpeg. It's possible to use a pre-configured package of ffmpeg (e.g. apt-get install ffmpeg) with the Video Wiki, but it may be worth it / necessary to compile a suitable version of ffmpeg from a source package.


Currently recommended/tested version: 0.5.3

The current recommended version of ffmpeg to use with the AA Video Wiki is 0.5.3. Later versions (0.6) seem to no longer support reading from remote URLs and should be avoided (see tests that follows).

In all cases, you should have a working ffmpeg that can read from a remote URL, so in other words, you should be able to type a command line like:

ffmpeg -i


/opt/ffmpeg0.5.3 -i

And get back a meaningful response like:

FFmpeg version 0.5.3, Copyright (c) 2000-2009 Fabrice Bellard, et al.
  configuration: --enable-gpl --enable-libfaac --enable-libfaad --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-nonfree
  libavutil     49.15. 0 / 49.15. 0
  libavcodec    52.20. 1 / 52.20. 1
  libavformat   52.31. 0 / 52.31. 0
  libavdevice   52. 1. 0 / 52. 1. 0
  built on Nov  8 2010 22:13:23, gcc: 4.4.5
[theora @ 0xa88b1c0]7 bits left in packet 82
Input #0, ogg, from '':
  Duration: 00:03:17.52, start: 0.000000, bitrate: 499 kb/s
    Stream #0.0: Video: theora, yuv420p, 400x300, 25 tbr, 25 tbn, 25 tbc
At least one output file must be specified

Whatever the path is to your working copy of ffmpeg, this should then be the variable FFMPEG in the file. In other words:

FFMPEG = "ffmpeg"


FFMPEG = "/opt/ffmpeg0.5.3"

The Video wiki uses this response to confirm that the remote resource is (in this case), an OGG video with frame size 400x300. If your version of ffmpeg refuses to report this information, the Video wiki will have trouble identifying many kinds of files.

Installing ffmpeg

The following instructions are based on installing with OGG/Theora + basic MPEG4 support on an Ubuntu Hardy (8.04) server.


You want up to date ogg/theora encoding support?

apt-get install libogg-dev libvorbis-dev


You want support for creating mp4 files?

apt-get install libfaad-dev libfaac-dev

Compiling ffmpeg

tar xvzf ffmpeg-0.5.3.tar.gz
cd ffmpeg-0.5.3

Pick the options you want, so like:

(no frills)


... or the works (note the incompatible licensing that renders your software unredistributable ;)...

./configure --enable-gpl --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis \
    --enable-nonfree --enable-libfaac --enable-libfaad --enable-libmp3lame

And finally (and make some tea while you're at it cause it may take some time)...

sudo cp ffmpeg /opt/ffmpeg0.5.3


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