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FFmpeg cheat sheet

FFmpeg cheat sheet

A list of useful commands for the FFmpeg command line tool.

Download FFmpeg:

Full documentation:

Basic conversion

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 out.avi

Remux an MKV file into MP4

ffmpeg -i in.mkv -c:v copy -c:a copy out.mp4

High-quality encoding

Use the crf (Constant Rate Factor) parameter to control the output quality. The lower crf, the higher the quality (range: 0-51). The default value is 23, and visually lossless compression corresponds to -crf 18. Use the preset parameter to control the speed of the compression process. Additional info:

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -preset slower -crf 18 out.mp4


Without re-encoding:

ffmpeg -ss [start] -i in.mp4 -t [duration] -c copy out.mp4
  • -ss specifies the start time, e.g. 00:01:23.000 or 83 (in seconds)
  • -t specifies the duration of the clip (same format).
  • Recent ffmpeg also has a flag to supply the end time with -to.
  • -c copy copies the first video, audio, and subtitle bitstream from the input to the output file without re-encoding them. This won't harm the quality and make the command run within seconds.

With re-encoding:

If you leave out the -c copy option, ffmpeg will automatically re-encode the output video and audio according to the format you chose. For high quality video and audio, read the x264 Encoding Guide and the AAC Encoding Guide, respectively.

For example:

ffmpeg -ss [start] -i in.mp4 -t [duration] -c:v libx264 -c:a aac -strict experimental -b:a 128k out.mp4

Mux video and audio from another video

To copy the video from in0.mp4 and audio from in1.mp4:

ffmpeg -i in0.mp4 -i in1.mp4 -c copy -map 0:0 -map 1:1 -shortest out.mp4

Concat demuxer

First, make a text file.

file 'in1.mp4'
file 'in2.mp4'
file 'in3.mp4'
file 'in4.mp4'

Then, run ffmpeg:

ffmpeg -f concat -i list.txt -c copy out.mp4

Delay audio/video

Delay video by 3.84 seconds:

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -itsoffset 3.84 -i in.mp4 -map 1:v -map 0:a -vcodec copy -acodec copy out.mp4

Delay audio by 3.84 seconds:

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -itsoffset 3.84 -i in.mp4 -map 0:v -map 1:a -vcodec copy -acodec copy out.mp4

Burn subtitles

Use the libass library (make sure your ffmpeg install has the library in the configuration --enable-libass).

First convert the subtitles to .ass format:

ffmpeg -i sub.ass

Then add them using a video filter:

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -vf ass=sub.ass out.mp4

Extract the frames from a video

To extract all frames from between 1 and 5 seconds, and also between 11 and 15 seconds:

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -vf select='between(t,1,5)+between(t,11,15)' -vsync 0 out%d.png

To extract one frame per second only:

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -fps=1 -vsync 0 out%d.png

Rotate a video

Rotate 90 clockwise:

ffmpeg -i -vf "transpose=1"

For the transpose parameter you can pass:

0 = 90CounterCLockwise and Vertical Flip (default)
1 = 90Clockwise
2 = 90CounterClockwise
3 = 90Clockwise and Vertical Flip

Use -vf "transpose=2,transpose=2" for 180 degrees.

Download "Transport Stream" video streams

  1. Locate the playlist file, e.g. using Chrome > F12 > Network > Filter: m3u8
  2. Download and concatenate the video fragments:
ffmpeg -i "path_to_playlist.m3u8" -c copy -bsf:a aac_adtstoasc out.mp4

If you get a "Protocol 'https not on whitelist 'file,crypto'!" error, add the protocol_whitelist option:

ffmpeg -protocol_whitelist "file,http,https,tcp,tls" -i "path_to_playlist.m3u8" -c copy -bsf:a aac_adtstoasc out.mp4

Mute some of the audio

To replace the first 90 seconds of audio with silence:

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -vcodec copy -af "volume=enable='lte(t,90)':volume=0" out.mp4

To replace all audio between 1'20" and 1'30" with silence:

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -vcodec copy -af "volume=enable='between(t,80,90)':volume=0" out.mp4


Deinterlacing using "yet another deinterlacing filter".

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -vf yadif out.mp4

Create a video slideshow from images

Parameters: -r marks the image framerate (inverse time of each image); -vf fps=25 marks the true framerate of the output.

ffmpeg -r 1/5 -i img%03d.png -c:v libx264 -vf fps=25 -pix_fmt yuv420p out.mp4

Extract images from a video

  • Extract all frames: ffmpeg -i input.mp4 thumb%04d.jpg -hide_banner
  • Extract a frame each second: ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -vf fps=1 thumb%04d.jpg -hide_banner
  • Extract only one frame: ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -ss 00:00:10.000 -vframes 1 thumb.jpg

Display the frame number on each frame

ffmpeg -i -vf "drawtext=fontfile=arial.ttf: text=%{n}: x=(w-tw)/2: y=h-(2*lh): fontcolor=white: box=1: boxcolor=0x00000099: fontsize=72" -y

Metadata: Change the title

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -map_metadata -1 -metadata title="My Title" -c:v copy -c:a copy out.mp4

Tools is an interactive resource to compose FFmpeg actions.

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Great ref for exploring ffmpeg! Thanks for sharing!

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debuti commented Aug 27, 2023 is a great interactive resource to compose ffmpeg actions

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Author is a great interactive resource to compose ffmpeg actions

Excellent. Added.

Copy link is a great interactive resource to compose ffmpeg actions

Great interactive tool! Thanks @debuti for bringing this up!

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asifajrof commented Dec 23, 2023

i once used this (found from some StackOverflow answer, can't find the link now) to convert a video to gif

ffmpeg -i in.mp4 -vf "fps=10,scale=720:-1:flags=lanczos,split[s0][s1];[s0]palettegen[p];[s1][p]paletteuse" -loop 0 output.gif

Edit: found the original stack post. here

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@asifajrof, nice setup. But what's the use? It creates a huge GIF file. (It can be 15 to 50 times larger, depending on the scale.) The reverse process is more useful. The resulted MP4 file can be about 20 times smaller. (I tested all that with a small MP4 file.)

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asifajrof commented Dec 25, 2023

But what's the use? It creates a huge GIF file.

You are right. It does output a larger file. The one time when I used it was for a very small video file, so the size of the GIF also didn't bother me much. I mentioned it here because I didn't see any process of converting a video to GIF in this cheat sheet.

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@asifajrof, you did very well posting this FFMPEG setup. It's a very useful just by itself. I have worked for a while with FFMPEG, both with the S/W itself (i.e. using console commands) and and with programming, using a Python FFMPEG library. Yet, I couldn't master --actually, I didn't even try-- its too complicated, highly compacted and symbolic commands, an example of which you offered yourself.

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