Snippets collection

Libav provides a good number of commandline tools, the following list provides some examples to use them effectively.


Thanks to roxlu for providing most of them.

Convert from raw x264 to flv (when you get an error with monotonically increasing dts)

avconv -i test_input.264 -c:v copy output.flv

Convert from flv to mov and specify bitrate

avconv -i test_input.flv -b 512k

Extract audio from movie

avconv -i test_input.mp4 -c:a copy -vn -y out.aac

Export only video from movie

avconv -i -an -c:v copy

Combine audio and video file

avconv -i -i audio_input.mp3 -c copy

Create video from image sequence

avconv -framerate 25 -f image2 -i image-%03d.jpeg -b 65536k

Create video from image sequence (really good quality)

avconv -framerate 25 -f image2 -i %04d.png -c:v h264 -crf 1

Extract one second from a video

avconv -ss 00:00:00 -i -t 00:00:01 -c:v copy

Read raw RGB frames from tcp and convert them into a video

avconv -v debug -f rawvideo -pix_fmt rgb24 -s 320x240 -i tcp://localhost:2233 -c:v h264

Add audio to a video file and make sure the shortest stream is used, also show some debug info

avconv -v debug -i audio.wav -i video.mp4 -c:a libmp3lame -qscale 20 -shortest

Combining image sequences

Combining image sequences which are spread over multiple directories

On unix-like systems

cat dir_a/*.jpg dir_b/*.jpg dir_c/*.jpg | ./avconv -f image2pipe -c:v mjpeg -i - -r 25 -map 0

On windows, note the slashes

type dir_a\\*.jpg dir_b\\*.jpg dir_c\\*.jpg | avconv.exe -f image2pipe -c:v mjpeg -i - -r 25 -map 0

Set a quality scale, use the shortest stream (audio of video)

 cat dir_a/*.jpg dir_b/*.jpg dir_c/*.jpg ./avconv | ./avconv -f image2pipe -c:v mjpeg -i - -i audio.mp3 -c:a libmp3lame -qscale 20 -shortest -r 25 -map 0 -map 1

Exporting frames from a video

Exporting to jpeg images

The qscale is the jpeg quality, 1 = excellent, 31 = worst

avconv -i -vsync 1 -r 25 -an -y -qscale 1 out_%04d.jpg

Resizing the output on the fly.

avconv -i -vsync 1 -r 25 -an -y -qscale 1 -s 1280x720 out_%04d.jpg

Exporting to raw YUV

avconv -v debug -f rawvideo -pix_fmt yuv420p -s 320x240 -i raw.yuv -r 1 -vcodec h264

Produce a 10s test video

avconv -y -filter_complex testsrc -t 10s out.avi


Test akamai CDN using synthetic video

avconv -filter_complex text testsrc=hd720 -c:v h264 -b:v 500k -f flv rtmp://<USERNAME>:<PASSWORD>@p.<CPCODE><STREAMID>

Streaming pcm audio

Never use the wav container if you plan to stream indefinitely. arecord is provided as example, the alsa or pulse builtin capture should work better.

arecord -Dplughw:0,0 -f S16_LE -t raw -r 44100 -c 2 -N - | /usr/bin/avconv  -f s16le -ar 44100 -ac 2 -i - -c:a libfdk_aac -b:a 80k -f mpegts udp://localhost:5000

Restream multicast mpegts to rtmp

Select a specific PID from a multicast mpegts stream and re-encode it before reflecting to an rtmp server

avconv -f mpegts -i udp://host:port -c:a:i:2300 aac -b:a 384k -c:v copy -f flv rtmp://host/live/stream

Interlace a progressive content

Creating new interlaced content is a bad idea in general terms, do that only if you need to feed content to legacy equipment that does not have a progressive mode. 720p50 is always better than 1080i25 and it uses the same bandwidth.

avconv -i INPUT -vf interlace -flags +ildct+ilme OUTPUT

Use avfilter

Use frei0r's bluescreen0r-filter

Make a certain color transparent, for example for webcam chroma key'ing

avconv -i overlay_source -i background_source -filter_complex 'frei0r=bluescreen0r:0/0/255|128,[1:v]overlay=0:0' output_destination

0/0/255|128 are the bluescreen0r-parameters, first color, then the tolerance. The format is blue/green/red|tolerance. The components of the color being alpha'ed out is specificed between 0-255, and the tolerance adjusts how wide a range around the specified color is to be adjusted.

bluescreen0r will ignore all existing alpha-components in the source and completely replace them.



avplay is a minimalistic player mainly used to test Libav.

Preview filters

It is possible to use avfilter in avplay to preview the result of a filter chain on a certain input (single input).

# avplay -vf filter file

Common questions

Automatically exit

avplay by default does not closes itself when a stream terminates, to change the behaviour use -autoexit

# avplay -autoexit file

Not decode video/audio

# avplay -vn file
# avplay -an file

Do not display the audio spectrum

# avplay -nodisp -vn file

configure options

  • build using external static libraries

  ./configure --pkg-config-flags=--static --enable-libx265 --enable-gpl
  • out of tree build

 mkdir .build
 cd .build
  • reconfiguration and rebuild after pull/source update

 make clean
 make config
 make -j 8