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1 7ff56c72 Fabrice Bellard
\input texinfo @c -*- texinfo -*-
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@settitle FFmpeg FAQ
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@titlepage
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@sp 7
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@center @titlefont{FFmpeg FAQ}
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@sp 3
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@end titlepage
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@chapter General Questions
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@section When will the next FFmpeg version be released? / Why are FFmpeg releases so few and far between?
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Like most open source projects FFmpeg suffers from a certain lack of
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manpower. For this reason the developers have to prioritize the work
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they do and putting out releases is not at the top of the list, fixing
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bugs and reviewing patches takes precedence. Please don't complain or
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request more timely and/or frequent releases unless you are willing to
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help out creating them.
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@section I have a problem with an old version of FFmpeg; where should I report it?
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Nowhere. We do not support old FFmpeg versions in any way, we simply lack
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the time, motivation and manpower to do so. If you have a problem with an
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old version of FFmpeg, upgrade to the latest Subversion snapshot. If you
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still experience the problem, then you can report it according to the
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guidelines in @url{http://ffmpeg.org/bugreports.html}.
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@section Why doesn't FFmpeg support feature [xyz]?
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Because no one has taken on that task yet. FFmpeg development is
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driven by the tasks that are important to the individual developers.
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If there is a feature that is important to you, the best way to get
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it implemented is to undertake the task yourself or sponsor a developer.
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@section FFmpeg does not support codec XXX. Can you include a Windows DLL loader to support it?
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No. Windows DLLs are not portable, bloated and often slow.
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Moreover FFmpeg strives to support all codecs natively.
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A DLL loader is not conducive to that goal.
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@section My bug report/mail to ffmpeg-devel/user has not received any replies.
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Likely reasons
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@itemize
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@item We are busy and haven't had time yet to read your report or
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investigate the issue.
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@item You didn't follow @url{http://ffmpeg.org/bugreports.html}.
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@item You didn't use Subversion HEAD.
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@item You reported a segmentation fault without gdb output.
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@item You describe a problem but not how to reproduce it.
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@item It's unclear if you use ffmpeg as command line tool or use
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libav* from another application.
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@item You speak about a video having problems on playback but
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not what you use to play it.
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@item We have no faint clue what you are talking about besides
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that it is related to FFmpeg.
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@end itemize
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@section Is there a forum for FFmpeg? I do not like mailing lists.
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You may view our mailing lists with a more forum-alike look here:
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@url{http://dir.gmane.org/gmane.comp.video.ffmpeg.user},
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but, if you post, please remember that our mailing list rules still apply there.
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@section I cannot read this file although this format seems to be supported by ffmpeg.
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68 4f1ab3ce Diego Biurrun
Even if ffmpeg can read the container format, it may not support all its
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codecs. Please consult the supported codec list in the ffmpeg
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documentation.
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@section Which codecs are supported by Windows?
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Windows does not support standard formats like MPEG very well, unless you
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install some additional codecs.
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The following list of video codecs should work on most Windows systems:
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@table @option
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@item msmpeg4v2
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.avi/.asf
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@item msmpeg4
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.asf only
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@item wmv1
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.asf only
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@item wmv2
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.asf only
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@item mpeg4
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Only if you have some MPEG-4 codec like ffdshow or Xvid installed.
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@item mpeg1
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.mpg only
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@end table
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Note, ASF files often have .wmv or .wma extensions in Windows. It should also
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be mentioned that Microsoft claims a patent on the ASF format, and may sue
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or threaten users who create ASF files with non-Microsoft software. It is
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strongly advised to avoid ASF where possible.
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The following list of audio codecs should work on most Windows systems:
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@table @option
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@item adpcm_ima_wav
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@item adpcm_ms
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@item pcm
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always
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@item mp3
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If some MP3 codec like LAME is installed.
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@end table
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@chapter Compilation
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@section @code{error: can't find a register in class 'GENERAL_REGS' while reloading 'asm'}
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This is a bug in gcc. Do not report it to us. Instead, please report it to
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the gcc developers. Note that we will not add workarounds for gcc bugs.
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Also note that (some of) the gcc developers believe this is not a bug or
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not a bug they should fix:
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@url{http://gcc.gnu.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=11203}.
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Then again, some of them do not know the difference between an undecidable
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problem and an NP-hard problem...
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@chapter Usage
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@section ffmpeg does not work; what is wrong?
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Try a @code{make distclean} in the ffmpeg source directory before the build. If this does not help see
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(@url{http://ffmpeg.org/bugreports.html}).
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@section How do I encode single pictures into movies?
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130 1fee8b3a Víctor Paesa
First, rename your pictures to follow a numerical sequence.
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For example, img1.jpg, img2.jpg, img3.jpg,...
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Then you may run:
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@example
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  ffmpeg -f image2 -i img%d.jpg /tmp/a.mpg
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@end example
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Notice that @samp{%d} is replaced by the image number.
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@file{img%03d.jpg} means the sequence @file{img001.jpg}, @file{img002.jpg}, etc...
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If you have large number of pictures to rename, you can use the
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following command to ease the burden. The command, using the bourne
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shell syntax, symbolically links all files in the current directory
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that match @code{*jpg} to the @file{/tmp} directory in the sequence of
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@file{img001.jpg}, @file{img002.jpg} and so on.
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@example
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  x=1; for i in *jpg; do counter=$(printf %03d $x); ln "$i" /tmp/img"$counter".jpg; x=$(($x+1)); done
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@end example
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If you want to sequence them by oldest modified first, substitute
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@code{$(ls -r -t *jpg)} in place of @code{*jpg}.
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Then run:
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@example
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  ffmpeg -f image2 -i /tmp/img%03d.jpg /tmp/a.mpg
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@end example
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The same logic is used for any image format that ffmpeg reads.
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@section How do I encode movie to single pictures?
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165 3c88ea24 Baptiste Coudurier
Use:
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@example
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  ffmpeg -i movie.mpg movie%d.jpg
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@end example
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The @file{movie.mpg} used as input will be converted to
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@file{movie1.jpg}, @file{movie2.jpg}, etc...
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Instead of relying on file format self-recognition, you may also use
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@table @option
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@item -vcodec ppm
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@item -vcodec png
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@item -vcodec mjpeg
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@end table
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to force the encoding.
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Applying that to the previous example:
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@example
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  ffmpeg -i movie.mpg -f image2 -vcodec mjpeg menu%d.jpg
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@end example
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Beware that there is no "jpeg" codec. Use "mjpeg" instead.
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@section Why do I see a slight quality degradation with multithreaded MPEG* encoding?
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For multithreaded MPEG* encoding, the encoded slices must be independent,
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otherwise thread n would practically have to wait for n-1 to finish, so it's
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quite logical that there is a small reduction of quality. This is not a bug.
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@section How can I read from the standard input or write to the standard output?
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Use @file{-} as file name.
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@section -f jpeg doesn't work.
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Try '-f image2 test%d.jpg'.
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@section Why can I not change the framerate?
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Some codecs, like MPEG-1/2, only allow a small number of fixed framerates.
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Choose a different codec with the -vcodec command line option.
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@section How do I encode Xvid or DivX video with ffmpeg?
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Both Xvid and DivX (version 4+) are implementations of the ISO MPEG-4
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standard (note that there are many other coding formats that use this
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same standard). Thus, use '-vcodec mpeg4' to encode in these formats. The
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default fourcc stored in an MPEG-4-coded file will be 'FMP4'. If you want
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a different fourcc, use the '-vtag' option. E.g., '-vtag xvid' will
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force the fourcc 'xvid' to be stored as the video fourcc rather than the
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default.
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@section How do I encode videos which play on the iPod?
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@table @option
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@item needed stuff
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-acodec libfaac -vcodec mpeg4 width<=320 height<=240
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@item working stuff
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mv4, title
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@item non-working stuff
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B-frames
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@item example command line
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ffmpeg -i input -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -vcodec mpeg4 -b 1200kb -mbd 2 -flags +mv4 -trellis 2 -aic 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -s 320x180 -metadata title=X output.mp4
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@end table
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@section How do I encode videos which play on the PSP?
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@table @option
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@item needed stuff
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-acodec libfaac -vcodec mpeg4 width*height<=76800 width%16=0 height%16=0 -ar 24000 -r 30000/1001 or 15000/1001 -f psp
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@item working stuff
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mv4, title
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@item non-working stuff
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B-frames
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@item example command line
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ffmpeg -i input -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -vcodec mpeg4 -b 1200kb -ar 24000 -mbd 2 -flags +mv4 -trellis 2 -aic 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -s 368x192 -r 30000/1001 -metadata title=X -f psp output.mp4
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@item needed stuff for H.264
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-acodec libfaac -vcodec libx264 width*height<=76800 width%16=0? height%16=0? -ar 48000 -coder 1 -r 30000/1001 or 15000/1001 -f psp
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@item working stuff for H.264
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title, loop filter
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@item non-working stuff for H.264
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CAVLC
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@item example command line
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ffmpeg -i input -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -vcodec libx264 -b 1200kb -ar 48000 -mbd 2 -coder 1 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -s 368x192 -r 30000/1001 -metadata title=X -f psp -flags loop -trellis 2 -partitions parti4x4+parti8x8+partp4x4+partp8x8+partb8x8 output.mp4
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@item higher resolution for newer PSP firmwares, width<=480, height<=272
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-vcodec libx264 -level 21 -coder 1 -f psp
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@item example command line
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ffmpeg -i input -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -ac 2 -ar 48000 -vcodec libx264 -level 21 -b 640kb -coder 1 -f psp -flags +loop -trellis 2 -partitions +parti4x4+parti8x8+partp4x4+partp8x8+partb8x8 -g 250 -s 480x272 output.mp4
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@end table
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@section Which are good parameters for encoding high quality MPEG-4?
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'-mbd rd -flags +mv4+aic -trellis 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -g 300 -pass 1/2',
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things to try: '-bf 2', '-flags qprd', '-flags mv0', '-flags skiprd'.
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@section Which are good parameters for encoding high quality MPEG-1/MPEG-2?
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'-mbd rd -trellis 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -g 100 -pass 1/2'
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but beware the '-g 100' might cause problems with some decoders.
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Things to try: '-bf 2', '-flags qprd', '-flags mv0', '-flags skiprd.
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@section Interlaced video looks very bad when encoded with ffmpeg, what is wrong?
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You should use '-flags +ilme+ildct' and maybe '-flags +alt' for interlaced
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material, and try '-top 0/1' if the result looks really messed-up.
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@section How can I read DirectShow files?
273 2c29781d Víctor Paesa
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If you have built FFmpeg with @code{./configure --enable-avisynth}
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(only possible on MinGW/Cygwin platforms),
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then you may use any file that DirectShow can read as input.
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Just create an "input.avs" text file with this single line ...
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@example
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  DirectShowSource("C:\path to your file\yourfile.asf")
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@end example
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... and then feed that text file to FFmpeg:
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@example
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  ffmpeg -i input.avs
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@end example
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For ANY other help on Avisynth, please visit @url{http://www.avisynth.org/}.
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@section How can I join video files?
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A few multimedia containers (MPEG-1, MPEG-2 PS, DV) allow to join video files by
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merely concatenating them.
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Hence you may concatenate your multimedia files by first transcoding them to
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these privileged formats, then using the humble @code{cat} command (or the
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equally humble @code{copy} under Windows), and finally transcoding back to your
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format of choice.
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@example
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ffmpeg -i input1.avi -sameq intermediate1.mpg
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ffmpeg -i input2.avi -sameq intermediate2.mpg
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cat intermediate1.mpg intermediate2.mpg > intermediate_all.mpg
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ffmpeg -i intermediate_all.mpg -sameq output.avi
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@end example
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Notice that you should either use @code{-sameq} or set a reasonably high
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bitrate for your intermediate and output files, if you want to preserve
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video quality.
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Also notice that you may avoid the huge intermediate files by taking advantage
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of named pipes, should your platform support it:
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@example
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mkfifo intermediate1.mpg
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mkfifo intermediate2.mpg
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ffmpeg -i input1.avi -sameq -y intermediate1.mpg < /dev/null &
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ffmpeg -i input2.avi -sameq -y intermediate2.mpg < /dev/null &
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cat intermediate1.mpg intermediate2.mpg |\
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ffmpeg -f mpeg -i - -sameq -vcodec mpeg4 -acodec libmp3lame output.avi
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@end example
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Similarly, the yuv4mpegpipe format, and the raw video, raw audio codecs also
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allow concatenation, and the transcoding step is almost lossless.
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When using multiple yuv4mpegpipe(s), the first line needs to be discarded
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from all but the first stream. This can be accomplished by piping through
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@code{tail} as seen below. Note that when piping through @code{tail} you
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must use command grouping, @code{@{  ;@}}, to background properly.
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For example, let's say we want to join two FLV files into an output.flv file:
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@example
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mkfifo temp1.a
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mkfifo temp1.v
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mkfifo temp2.a
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mkfifo temp2.v
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mkfifo all.a
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mkfifo all.v
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ffmpeg -i input1.flv -vn -f u16le -acodec pcm_s16le -ac 2 -ar 44100 - > temp1.a < /dev/null &
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ffmpeg -i input2.flv -vn -f u16le -acodec pcm_s16le -ac 2 -ar 44100 - > temp2.a < /dev/null &
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ffmpeg -i input1.flv -an -f yuv4mpegpipe - > temp1.v < /dev/null &
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@{ ffmpeg -i input2.flv -an -f yuv4mpegpipe - < /dev/null | tail -n +2 > temp2.v ; @} &
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cat temp1.a temp2.a > all.a &
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cat temp1.v temp2.v > all.v &
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ffmpeg -f u16le -acodec pcm_s16le -ac 2 -ar 44100 -i all.a \
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       -f yuv4mpegpipe -i all.v \
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       -sameq -y output.flv
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rm temp[12].[av] all.[av]
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@end example
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@section FFmpeg does not adhere to the -maxrate setting, some frames are bigger than maxrate/fps.
351 3b36389a Michael Niedermayer
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Read the MPEG spec about video buffer verifier.
353 3b36389a Michael Niedermayer
354 fa78d895 Diego Biurrun
@section I want CBR, but no matter what I do frame sizes differ.
355 3b36389a Michael Niedermayer
356 fa78d895 Diego Biurrun
You do not understand what CBR is, please read the MPEG spec.
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Read about video buffer verifier and constant bitrate.
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The one sentence summary is that there is a buffer and the input rate is
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constant, the output can vary as needed.
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@section How do I check if a stream is CBR?
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To quote the MPEG-2 spec:
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"There is no way to tell that a bitstream is constant bitrate without
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examining all of the vbv_delay values and making complicated computations."
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@chapter Development
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@section Are there examples illustrating how to use the FFmpeg libraries, particularly libavcodec and libavformat?
371 a93b9dba Fabrice Bellard
372 cacf7199 Mike Melanson
Yes. Read the Developers Guide of the FFmpeg documentation. Alternatively,
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examine the source code for one of the many open source projects that
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already incorporate FFmpeg at (@url{projects.html}).
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@section Can you support my C compiler XXX?
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It depends. If your compiler is C99-compliant, then patches to support
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it are likely to be welcome if they do not pollute the source code
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with @code{#ifdef}s related to the compiler.
381 7ff56c72 Fabrice Bellard
382 a9d5a448 Diego Biurrun
@section Is Microsoft Visual C++ supported?
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384 a9d5a448 Diego Biurrun
No. Microsoft Visual C++ is not compliant to the C99 standard and does
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not - among other things - support the inline assembly used in FFmpeg.
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If you wish to use MSVC++ for your
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project then you can link the MSVC++ code with libav* as long as
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you compile the latter with a working C compiler. For more information, see
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the @emph{Microsoft Visual C++ compatibility} section in the FFmpeg
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documentation.
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392 c1989552 Ramiro Polla
There have been efforts to make FFmpeg compatible with MSVC++ in the
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past. However, they have all been rejected as too intrusive, especially
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since MinGW does the job adequately. None of the core developers
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work with MSVC++ and thus this item is low priority. Should you find
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the silver bullet that solves this problem, feel free to shoot it at us.
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We strongly recommend you to move over from MSVC++ to MinGW tools.
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@section Can I use FFmpeg or libavcodec under Windows?
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402 c1989552 Ramiro Polla
Yes, but the Cygwin or MinGW tools @emph{must} be used to compile FFmpeg.
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Read the @emph{Windows} section in the FFmpeg documentation to find more
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information.
405 7ff56c72 Fabrice Bellard
406 46a845d0 Ramiro Polla
To get help and instructions for building FFmpeg under Windows, check out
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the FFmpeg Windows Help Forum at
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@url{http://ffmpeg.arrozcru.org/}.
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410 5965e1a9 Víctor Paesa
@section Can you add automake, libtool or autoconf support?
411 7ff56c72 Fabrice Bellard
412 e867d9b9 Diego Biurrun
No. These tools are too bloated and they complicate the build.
413 7ff56c72 Fabrice Bellard
414 5965e1a9 Víctor Paesa
@section Why not rewrite ffmpeg in object-oriented C++?
415 fbf33e4f Michael Niedermayer
416 831ec935 Diego Biurrun
FFmpeg is already organized in a highly modular manner and does not need to
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be rewritten in a formal object language. Further, many of the developers
418 cacf7199 Mike Melanson
favor straight C; it works for them. For more arguments on this matter,
419 bc155732 Diego Biurrun
read "Programming Religion" at (@url{http://www.tux.org/lkml/#s15}).
420 cacf7199 Mike Melanson
421 5965e1a9 Víctor Paesa
@section Why are the ffmpeg programs devoid of debugging symbols?
422 cacf7199 Mike Melanson
423
The build process creates ffmpeg_g, ffplay_g, etc. which contain full debug
424 831ec935 Diego Biurrun
information. Those binaries are stripped to create ffmpeg, ffplay, etc. If
425 cacf7199 Mike Melanson
you need the debug information, used the *_g versions.
426 fbf33e4f Michael Niedermayer
427 5965e1a9 Víctor Paesa
@section I do not like the LGPL, can I contribute code under the GPL instead?
428 61a1e081 Michael Niedermayer
429 e180129f Diego Biurrun
Yes, as long as the code is optional and can easily and cleanly be placed
430 b250f9c6 Aurelien Jacobs
under #if CONFIG_GPL without breaking anything. So for example a new codec
431 831ec935 Diego Biurrun
or filter would be OK under GPL while a bug fix to LGPL code would not.
432 61a1e081 Michael Niedermayer
433 e180129f Diego Biurrun
@section I want to compile xyz.c alone but my compiler produced many errors.
434 61a1e081 Michael Niedermayer
435 e180129f Diego Biurrun
Common code is in its own files in libav* and is used by the individual
436
codecs. They will not work without the common parts, you have to compile
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the whole libav*. If you wish, disable some parts with configure switches.
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You can also try to hack it and remove more, but if you had problems fixing
439
the compilation failure then you are probably not qualified for this.
440 61a1e081 Michael Niedermayer
441 4cb3aa09 Panagiotis Issaris
@section I'm using libavcodec from within my C++ application but the linker complains about missing symbols which seem to be available.
442
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FFmpeg is a pure C project, so to use the libraries within your C++ application
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you need to explicitly state that you are using a C library. You can do this by
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encompassing your FFmpeg includes using @code{extern "C"}.
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See @url{http://www.parashift.com/c++-faq-lite/mixing-c-and-cpp.html#faq-32.3}
448
449 2cab6401 Diego Biurrun
@section I have a file in memory / a API different from *open/*read/ libc how do I use it with libavformat?
450 f994f61e Michael Niedermayer
451 e7f6c252 Diego Biurrun
You have to implement a URLProtocol, see @file{libavformat/file.c} in
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FFmpeg and @file{libmpdemux/demux_lavf.c} in MPlayer sources.
453 f994f61e Michael Niedermayer
454 e9766450 Ramiro Polla
@section I get "No compatible shell script interpreter found." in MSys.
455
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The standard MSys bash (2.04) is broken. You need to install 2.05 or later.
457
458 e75f8997 Ramiro Polla
@section I get "./configure: line <xxx>: pr: command not found" in MSys.
459
460
The standard MSys install doesn't come with pr. You need to get it from the coreutils package.
461
462 7c1ebf17 Diego Biurrun
@section Where can I find libav* headers for Pascal/Delphi?
463 04704a78 Michael Niedermayer
464
see @url{http://www.iversenit.dk/dev/ffmpeg-headers/}
465
466 7c1ebf17 Diego Biurrun
@section Where is the documentation about ffv1, msmpeg4, asv1, 4xm?
467 afe28f7c Michael Niedermayer
468 387fe82c Diego Biurrun
see @url{http://www.ffmpeg.org/~michael/}
469 afe28f7c Michael Niedermayer
470 29569571 Diego Biurrun
@section How do I feed H.263-RTP (and other codecs in RTP) to libavcodec?
471 8749180c Michael Niedermayer
472 241fb0c4 Luca Barbato
Even if peculiar since it is network oriented, RTP is a container like any
473 33ed2d84 Luca Barbato
other. You have to @emph{demux} RTP before feeding the payload to libavcodec.
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In this specific case please look at RFC 4629 to see how it should be done.
475 8749180c Michael Niedermayer
476 29569571 Diego Biurrun
@section AVStream.r_frame_rate is wrong, it is much larger than the framerate.
477 70fd3975 Michael Niedermayer
478
r_frame_rate is NOT the average framerate, it is the smallest framerate
479 29569571 Diego Biurrun
that can accurately represent all timestamps. So no, it is not
480
wrong if it is larger than the average!
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For example, if you have mixed 25 and 30 fps content, then r_frame_rate
482 70fd3975 Michael Niedermayer
will be 150.
483
484 7ff56c72 Fabrice Bellard
@bye