In this guide, I’ll tell you how to install FFmpeg on various Linux distributions. For those who don’t know, FFmpeg is one of the best multimedia framework that can be used to encode, decode, transcode, mux, demux, record, stream, filter, and play any type of media files. It is completely free multimedia framework that works on almost all operating systems, including Linux, macOS X, Microsoft Windows, the BSDs, Solaris, etc. For more details, refer the official website link given at the end of this guide.

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Install FFmpeg In Linux

FFmpeg is packaged for most Linux distributions and is available in the default repositories. Here I have included installation instructions for popular Linux distros.

Install FFmpeg on Arch Linux and its derivatives

FFmpeg is available in the default repositories of Arch Linux. You can install it using command:

$ sudo pacman -S ffmpeg

The latest development version is available in the AUR. , so you can install it using any AUR hepers, for example Yay.

$ yay -S ffmpeg-git

There is also ffmpeg-full package in AUR, which is built with as many optional features enabled as possible. You can install that too if you want.

$ yay -S ffmpeg-full-git

Install FFmpeg on Debian

FFmpeg is available in the default repositories. Open your Terminal and run the following command to install it.

$ sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

Install FFmpeg on Ubuntu and its derivatives

In Ubuntu, FFmpeg is available in the official repositories, so you can install it using command:

$ sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

FFmpeg in the official repositories might be bit outdated. To install most recent version, use the FFmpeg PPA.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mc3man/trusty-media
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Install FFmpeg on Fedora, RHEL, CentOS

FFmpeg can be installed via EPEL and RPM Fusion repositories on RPM-based distributions, such as RHEL, Fedora, CentOS.

First, Add EPEL repository using command:

$ sudo dnf install epel-release

Add RPM Fusion repository as shown below depending upon the distribution you use:

To enable access to both the free and the nonfree repository use the following command:

Fedora 22 and later:

$ sudo dnf install https://mirrors.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm https://mirrors.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm

RHEL 8.x and compatible systems:

$ sudo dnf install --nogpgcheck https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-8.noarch.rpm
$ sudo dnf install --nogpgcheck https://mirrors.rpmfusion.org/free/el/rpmfusion-free-release-8.noarch.rpm https://mirrors.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/el/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-8.noarch.rpm

RHEL 7.x, CentOS 7.x:

$ sudo yum localinstall --nogpgcheck https://mirrors.rpmfusion.org/free/el/rpmfusion-free-release-7.noarch.rpm https://mirrors.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/el/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-7.noarch.rpm

The above commands will install both free and non-free repositories.

After enabling EPEL and RPM Fusion repositories, run the following command to install FFmpeg:

$ sudo dnf install ffmpeg ffmpeg-devel

Or,

$ sudo yum install ffmpeg ffmpeg-devel

Install FFmpeg in openSUSE

Enable Packman repository on your openSUSE system.

If you’re using openSUSE Tumbleweed edition, run the following command to enable Packman repository:

$ sudo zypper addrepo -cfp 90 'https://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/packman/suse/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/' packman

On openSUSE Leap:

$ sudo zypper addrepo -cfp 90 'https://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/packman/suse/openSUSE_Leap_$releasever/' packman

Refresh the repository database:

$ sudo zypper refresh

Finally, install FFmpeg on openSUSE using command:

$ sudo zypper install --from packman ffmpeg

Congratulations! You have successfully installed FFmpeg on your Linux box.

To verify the FFmpeg version, run:

$ ffmpeg -version

Sample output:

ffmpeg version 4.2.4-1ubuntu0.1 Copyright (c) 2000-2020 the FFmpeg developers
built with gcc 9 (Ubuntu 9.3.0-10ubuntu2)
configuration: --prefix=/usr --extra-version=1ubuntu0.1 --toolchain=hardened --libdir=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu --incdir=/usr/include/x86_64-linux-gnu --arch=amd64 --enable-gpl --disable-stripping --enable-avresample --disable-filter=resample --enable-avisynth --enable-gnutls --enable-ladspa --enable-libaom --enable-libass --enable-libbluray --enable-libbs2b --enable-libcaca --enable-libcdio --enable-libcodec2 --enable-libflite --enable-libfontconfig --enable-libfreetype --enable-libfribidi --enable-libgme --enable-libgsm --enable-libjack --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libmysofa --enable-libopenjpeg --enable-libopenmpt --enable-libopus --enable-libpulse --enable-librsvg --enable-librubberband --enable-libshine --enable-libsnappy --enable-libsoxr --enable-libspeex --enable-libssh --enable-libtheora --enable-libtwolame --enable-libvidstab --enable-libvorbis --enable-libvpx --enable-libwavpack --enable-libwebp --enable-libx265 --enable-libxml2 --enable-libxvid --enable-libzmq --enable-libzvbi --enable-lv2 --enable-omx --enable-openal --enable-opencl --enable-opengl --enable-sdl2 --enable-libdc1394 --enable-libdrm --enable-libiec61883 --enable-nvenc --enable-chromaprint --enable-frei0r --enable-libx264 --enable-shared
libavutil 56. 31.100 / 56. 31.100
libavcodec 58. 54.100 / 58. 54.100
libavformat 58. 29.100 / 58. 29.100
libavdevice 58. 8.100 / 58. 8.100
libavfilter 7. 57.100 / 7. 57.100
libavresample 4. 0. 0 / 4. 0. 0
libswscale 5. 5.100 / 5. 5.100
libswresample 3. 5.100 / 3. 5.100
libpostproc 55. 5.100 / 55. 5.100

To print FFmpeg help section:

$ ffmpeg -h

Sample output:

ffmpeg version 4.2.4-1ubuntu0.1 Copyright (c) 2000-2020 the FFmpeg developers
built with gcc 9 (Ubuntu 9.3.0-10ubuntu2)
configuration: --prefix=/usr --extra-version=1ubuntu0.1 --toolchain=hardened --libdir=/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu --incdir=/usr/include/x86_64-linux-gnu --arch=amd64 --enable-gpl --disable-stripping --enable-avresample --disable-filter=resample --enable-avisynth --enable-gnutls --enable-ladspa --enable-libaom --enable-libass --enable-libbluray --enable-libbs2b --enable-libcaca --enable-libcdio --enable-libcodec2 --enable-libflite --enable-libfontconfig --enable-libfreetype --enable-libfribidi --enable-libgme --enable-libgsm --enable-libjack --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libmysofa --enable-libopenjpeg --enable-libopenmpt --enable-libopus --enable-libpulse --enable-librsvg --enable-librubberband --enable-libshine --enable-libsnappy --enable-libsoxr --enable-libspeex --enable-libssh --enable-libtheora --enable-libtwolame --enable-libvidstab --enable-libvorbis --enable-libvpx --enable-libwavpack --enable-libwebp --enable-libx265 --enable-libxml2 --enable-libxvid --enable-libzmq --enable-libzvbi --enable-lv2 --enable-omx --enable-openal --enable-opencl --enable-opengl --enable-sdl2 --enable-libdc1394 --enable-libdrm --enable-libiec61883 --enable-nvenc --enable-chromaprint --enable-frei0r --enable-libx264 --enable-shared
libavutil 56. 31.100 / 56. 31.100
libavcodec 58. 54.100 / 58. 54.100
libavformat 58. 29.100 / 58. 29.100
libavdevice 58. 8.100 / 58. 8.100
libavfilter 7. 57.100 / 7. 57.100
libavresample 4. 0. 0 / 4. 0. 0
libswscale 5. 5.100 / 5. 5.100
libswresample 3. 5.100 / 3. 5.100
libpostproc 55. 5.100 / 55. 5.100
Hyper fast Audio and Video encoder
usage: ffmpeg [options] [[infile options] -i infile]... {[outfile options] outfile}...

Getting help:
-h -- print basic options
-h long -- print more options
-h full -- print all options (including all format and codec specific options, very long)
-h type=name -- print all options for the named decoder/encoder/demuxer/muxer/filter/bsf
See man ffmpeg for detailed description of the options.

Print help / information / capabilities:
-L show license
-h topic show help
-? topic show help
-help topic show help
--help topic show help
-version show version
-buildconf show build configuration
-formats show available formats
-muxers show available muxers
-demuxers show available demuxers
-devices show available devices
-codecs show available codecs
-decoders show available decoders
-encoders show available encoders
-bsfs show available bit stream filters
-protocols show available protocols
-filters show available filters
-pix_fmts show available pixel formats
-layouts show standard channel layouts
-sample_fmts show available audio sample formats
-colors show available color names
-sources device list sources of the input device
-sinks device list sinks of the output device
-hwaccels show available HW acceleration methods

Global options (affect whole program instead of just one file:
-loglevel loglevel set logging level
-v loglevel set logging level
-report generate a report
-max_alloc bytes set maximum size of a single allocated block
-y overwrite output files
-n never overwrite output files
-ignore_unknown Ignore unknown stream types
-filter_threads number of non-complex filter threads
-filter_complex_threads number of threads for -filter_complex
-stats print progress report during encoding
-max_error_rate maximum error rate ratio of errors (0.0: no errors, 1.0: 100% errors) above which ffmpeg returns an error instead of success.
-bits_per_raw_sample number set the number of bits per raw sample
-vol volume change audio volume (256=normal)

Per-file main options:
-f fmt force format
-c codec codec name
-codec codec codec name
-pre preset preset name
-map_metadata outfile[,metadata]:infile[,metadata] set metadata information of outfile from infile
-t duration record or transcode "duration" seconds of audio/video
-to time_stop record or transcode stop time
-fs limit_size set the limit file size in bytes
-ss time_off set the start time offset
-sseof time_off set the start time offset relative to EOF
-seek_timestamp enable/disable seeking by timestamp with -ss
-timestamp time set the recording timestamp ('now' to set the current time)
-metadata string=string add metadata
-program title=string:st=number... add program with specified streams
-target type specify target file type ("vcd", "svcd", "dvd", "dv" or "dv50" with optional prefixes "pal-", "ntsc-" or "film-")
-apad audio pad
-frames number set the number of frames to output
-filter filter_graph set stream filtergraph
-filter_script filename read stream filtergraph description from a file
-reinit_filter reinit filtergraph on input parameter changes
-discard discard
-disposition disposition

Video options:
-vframes number set the number of video frames to output
-r rate set frame rate (Hz value, fraction or abbreviation)
-s size set frame size (WxH or abbreviation)
-aspect aspect set aspect ratio (4:3, 16:9 or 1.3333, 1.7777)
-bits_per_raw_sample number set the number of bits per raw sample
-vn disable video
-vcodec codec force video codec ('copy' to copy stream)
-timecode hh:mm:ss[:;.]ff set initial TimeCode value.
-pass n select the pass number (1 to 3)
-vf filter_graph set video filters
-ab bitrate audio bitrate (please use -b:a)
-b bitrate video bitrate (please use -b:v)
-dn disable data

Audio options:
-aframes number set the number of audio frames to output
-aq quality set audio quality (codec-specific)
-ar rate set audio sampling rate (in Hz)
-ac channels set number of audio channels
-an disable audio
-acodec codec force audio codec ('copy' to copy stream)
-vol volume change audio volume (256=normal)
-af filter_graph set audio filters

Subtitle options:
-s size set frame size (WxH or abbreviation)
-sn disable subtitle
-scodec codec force subtitle codec ('copy' to copy stream)
-stag fourcc/tag force subtitle tag/fourcc
-fix_sub_duration fix subtitles duration
-canvas_size size set canvas size (WxH or abbreviation)
-spre preset set the subtitle options to the indicated preset

Display FFmpeg man page:

$ man ffmpeg

Now, head over to the next tutorial to learn to use FFmpeg. I have compiled the most commonly and frequently used 20+ FFmpeg commands in the following guide.

20+ FFmpeg Commands For Beginners

Resource:

FFmpeg website

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About the author

Hassan Latif

A Microsoft Certified Trainer, a hobby blogger and geek

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