FFmpeg running on Microsoft Windows
|Initial release||December 20, 2000|
|Stable release||1.2.1 (May 10, 2013[±])|
|Preview release||Git [±]|
|License||GNU LGPL 2.1+
GNU GPL 2+
Unredistributable if compiled as such
FFmpeg is a free software project that produces libraries and programs for handling multimedia data. The most notable parts of FFmpeg are libavcodec, an audio/video codec library used by several other projects, libavformat, an audio/video container mux and demux library, and the ffmpeg command line program for transcoding multimedia files. FFmpeg is published under the GNU Lesser General Public License 2.1+ or GNU General Public License 2+ (depending on which options are enabled).
The project was started by Fabrice Bellard (using the pseudonym "Gerard Lantau"), and has been maintained by Michael Niedermayer since 2004. Many FFmpeg developers are also part of the MPlayer project. The name of the project comes from the MPEG video standards group, together with "FF" for "fast forward". The logo uses a zigzag pattern that shows how MPEG video codecs handle entropy encoding.
FFmpeg is developed under GNU/Linux, but it can be compiled under most operating systems, including Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, AmigaOS and its heir MorphOS. Most computing platforms and microprocessor instruction set architectures are also supported, like x86 (IA-32 and x86-64), PPC (PowerPC), ARM, DEC Alpha, SPARC, and MIPS.
There are two video codecs and one video container invented in the FFmpeg project during its development. The two video codecs are the lossless "FFV1", and the lossless and lossy Snow codec, the development of which has stalled, while its bitstream format hasn't been finalized yet, making it experimental for now (February 2011), and the multimedia container is "NUT" which is also not being actively developed anymore, but is still maintained.
On July 23, 2010 Jason Garrett-Glaser, Ronald Bultje, and David Conrad of the FFmpeg Team announced the ffvp8 decoder. Through testing they determined that ffvp8 was faster than Google's own libvpx decoder.
On March 13, 2011 a group of FFmpeg developers decided to fork the project under the name "Libav". The event seems related to a recent issue in project management. Since then, the maintainer of FFmpeg packages for Debian and Ubuntu operating systems, being one of the group of developers who forked FFmpeg, has switched them to the fork.
The project is made of several components:
- ffmpeg is a command-line tool to convert one video file format to another. It can also grab and encode in real-time from a TV card.
- ffserver is an HTTP and RTSP multimedia streaming server for live broadcasts. It can also time shift live broadcast.
- ffplay is a simple media player based on SDL and on the FFmpeg libraries.
- ffprobe is a command-line tool to show media information.
- libswresample is a library containing audio resampling routines.
- libavresample is a library containing audio resampling routines from the Libav project, completely different from libswresample from ffmpeg.
- 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. This library includes adler32, crc, md5, sha1, lzo decompressor, Base64 encoder/decoder, des encrypter/decrypter, rc4 encrypter/decrypter and aes encrypter/decrypter.
- libpostproc is a library containing video postprocessing routines.
- libswscale is a library containing video image scaling and colorspace/pixelformat conversion routines.
- libavfilter is the substitute for vhook which allows the video/audio to be modified or examined between the decoder and the encoder.
Codecs, formats and protocols supported 
Codecs which originated from within the FFmpeg project:
The FFmpeg developers have implemented among others:
- ITU-T video standards: H.261, H.262/MPEG-2 Part 2, H.263 and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
- ITU-T vocoder standards: G.711 µ-law, G.711 A-law, G.721 (aka G.726 32k), G.722, G.722.2 (aka AMR-WB), G.723 (aka G.726 24k and 40k), G.723.1, G.726, G.729 and G.729D
- ISO/IEC MPEG video standards: MPEG-1 Part 2, H.262/MPEG-2 Part 2, MPEG-4 Part 2 and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
- ISO/IEC MPEG audio standards: MP1, MP2, MP3, AAC, HE-AAC and MPEG-4 ALS
- ISO/IEC/ITU-T JPEG image standards: JPEG, JPEG-LS and JPEG 2000
- SMPTE video standards: VC-1 (aka WMV3), VC-2 (aka Dirac), VC-3 (aka AVID DNxHD) and DPX image
- SMPTE audio standards: SMPTE 302M
- DVD Forum standards related / Dolby audio codecs: MLP (aka TrueHD) and AC-3
- 3GPP vocoder standards: AMR-NB, AMR-WB (aka G.722.2)
- GSM- and CDMA-related voice codecs: Full Rate, Enhanced Variable Rate Codec
- Windows Media Player related video codecs: Microsoft RLE, Microsoft Video 1, Cinepak, Indeo 2, 3 and 5, Motion JPEG, Microsoft MPEG-4 v1, v2 and v3, WMV1, WMV2, WMV3 (aka VC-1) and several screen capture codecs.
- Windows Media Player related audio codecs: WMA1, WMA2, WMA Pro and WMA Lossless
- Windows Media Player related voice codecs: WMA Voice and MS-GSM
- RealPlayer-related video codecs: RealVideo 1, 2, 3 and 4
- RealPlayer-related audio codecs: RealAudio 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10
- RealPlayer-related voice codecs: RealAudio 1, 2 (variant of G.728), 4 and 5
- QuickTime-related video codecs: Cinepak, Motion JPEG, ProRes, Sorenson 3 Codec, Animation codec, Graphics codec, Video codec
- QuickTime-related audio codecs: QDesign Music Codec 2 and ALAC
- Adobe Flash Player related video codecs: Screen video, Screen video 2, Sorenson 3 Codec, VP6 and Flash Video (FLV)
- Adobe Flash Player related audio codecs: Adobe SWF ADPCM and Nellymoser Asao
- Xiph.Org: Theora, Speex (via libspeex), Vorbis, Opus (via libopus) and FLAC
- Sony: ATRAC1 and ATRAC3
- NTT: TwinVQ
- On2: Duck TrueMotion 1, Duck TrueMotion 2, VP3, VP5, VP6 and VP8
- RAD Game Tools: Smacker video and Bink video
- RenderWare: TXD
Container formats 
- AVI and also input from AviSynth
- GXF, General eXchange Format, SMPTE 360M
- ISO base media file format (including QuickTime, 3GP and MP4)
- Matroska (including WebM)
- Maxis XA
- MPEG program stream
- MPEG transport stream (including AVCHD)
- MXF, Material eXchange Format, SMPTE 377M
- MSN Webcam stream
- IETF standards:
- Apple-related protocols: HTTP Live Streaming
- RealMedia-related protocols: RealMedia RTSP/RDT
- Adobe-related protocols: RTMP, RTMPT (via librtmp), RTMPE (via librtmp), RTMPTE (via librtmp) and RTMPS (via librtmp)
- Microsoft-related protocols: MMS over TCP and MMS over HTTP
Projects using FFmpeg 
Multimedia frameworks using FFmpeg 
- Perian (external project)
- GStreamer FFmpeg plug-in (external project)
Legal status of codecs 
See also 
- Libav FFmpeg fork
- MPlayer, the media player that takes much of its source code from FFmpeg
- Media Player Classic, the forked version, Media Player Classic Home Cinema and Black Edition, are using codes based on FFmpeg for their internal decoders.
- MEncoder, the encoder variant of MPlayer, which is similar to FFmpeg
- Plex (software), a cross-platform media player/server that incorporates the source code and codecs
- VLC media player uses FFmpeg as its codec base, adds other codecs, cross platform
- RetroCode, an open source encoder/decoder for proprietary mobile content formats, based in parts on FFmpeg
- Open source codecs and containers
- "Initial revision - git.videolan.org/ffmpeg.git/commit". git.videolan.org. 2000-12-20. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
- "Developer Documentation". ffmpeg.org. 2011-12-08. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- "Download". ffmpeg.org. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- FFmpeg can be configured to make it proprietary and unredistributable software because libfaac and libaacplus, two optional external libraries, are proprietary software and cannot be distributed under the terms of the GPL.
- "FFmpeg License and Legal Considerations". ffmpeg.org. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- Bellard, Fabrice (18 February 2006). "FFmpeg naming and logo". FFmpeg developer mailing list. FFmpeg website. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
- "FFmpeg Automated Testing Environment". Fate.multimedia.cx. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- "FFmpeg Goes WebM, Enabling VP8 for Boxee & Co". newteevee.com. 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2012-01-04. "...with VLC, Boxee, MythTV, Handbrake and MPlayer being some of the more popular projects utilizing FFmpeg..."
- Jason Garrett-Glaser (210-07-23), Diary Of An x264 Developer: Announcing the world’s fastest VP8 decoder, retrieved 2012-01-04
- FFmpeg Announces High-Performance VP8 Decoder, Slashdot, 2010-07-24, retrieved 2012-01-04
- Libav project site, retrieved 2012-01-04
- Ronald S. Bultje (2011-03-14), Project renamed to Libav, retrieved 2012-01-04
- A group of FFmpeg developers just forked as Libav, Phoronix, 2011-03-14, retrieved 2012-01-04
- What happened to FFmpeg, 2011-03-30, retrieved 2012-05-19
- FFMpeg turmoil, 2011-01-19, retrieved 2012-01-04
- transition: Libav 0.7, 2011-05-01, retrieved 2012-01-04
- Ubuntu Release Management: Transition: "libav", retrieved 2012-01-04
- banan (17 April 2007). "Changelog". FFmpeg trunk SVN. FFmpeg website. Retrieved 26 April 2007.
- ivo (7 May 2007). "FFmpeg development mailing list". FFmpeg development. FFmpeg website. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
- vitor (13 April 2008). "FFmpeg development mailing list". FFmpeg development. FFmpeg website. Retrieved 14 April 2008.
- vitor (30 March 2008). "FFmpeg development mailing list". FFmpeg development. FFmpeg website. Retrieved 30 March 2008.
- faust3 (21 March 2008). "FFmpeg development mailing list". FFmpeg development. FFmpeg website. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
- benoit (14 April 2008). "FFmpeg development mailing list". FFmpeg development. FFmpeg website. Retrieved 14 April 2008.
- ramiro (18 March 2008). "FFmpeg development mailing list". FFmpeg development. FFmpeg website. Retrieved 18 March 2008.
- banan (8 June 2008). "FFmpeg development mailing list". FFmpeg development. FFmpeg website. Retrieved 8 June 2008.
- "Google’s YouTube Uses FFmpeg | Breaking Eggs And Making Omelettes". Multimedia.cx. 2011-02-08. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
- "[FFmpeg-devel] [RFC] Facebook bug reports". Lists.mplayerhq.hu. 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
- "FFmpeg-based Projects". Ffmpeg.org. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- "Origyn Web Browser for MorphOS". Fabian Coeurjoly. Retrieved 2010-01-04.
- Thom Holwerda (March 8, 2010). "Origyn Web Browser 1.7 Supports HTML5 Media, More". OSNews. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
- "Avanti: FFmpeg/Avisynth GUI". Retrieved 2011-08-17.
- "WinFF is a GUI to the command line video converter FFmpeg". Retrieved 2011-08-17.
- "Miro Video Converter FFMPEG Conversion Matrix". Participatory Culture Foundation. 2011-04-08. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
- "ffmbc - FFMedia Broadcast - Google Project Hosting". Code.google.com. 2012-07-05. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
- "Codecs list". ffmpeg.org. Retrieved 2012-01-01.
- "Legal information on FFmpeg's website". ffmpeg.org. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs