A set of useful tools
FFmpeg is a set of free and open-source libraries allowing you to record, convert, and transfer digital audio and videos in various formats. This software is multiplatform and has a version for Windows. We will tell you about it.
What is this program?
FFmpeg (Fast Forward Mpeg) for Windows is a set of programs. It has the following tools: ffmpeg, ffplay, ffserver, and ffprobe (they all begin with a small letter, unlike the name of the FFmpeg software). These are usual exe files for Windows, but their size is imposing because all video and audio codecs are already inside. Suppose you want to watch a movie, download and unzip ffplay.exe. No installers or codecs are needed.
What does this software consist of?
As we mentioned above, FFmpeg consists of ffmpeg, ffplay, ffserver, and ffprobe. Let's take a closer look at each of these tools:
ffmpeg: this program allows you to convert videos from one format to another, merge several video clips, take videos apart into separate frames and then merge them back together, speed up/slow down, scale, add subtitles, and several audio tracks, and much more. The list of available options for this tool takes over 200 pages in the official instruction;
ffplay is used for watching movies. In the beginning, the entire FFmpeg package for beginners comes down to just using this program;
ffserver: use this tool if you want to create your video hosting similar to YouTube;
ffprobe: this program can tell you everything about the movie you downloaded (format, duration, how many audio tracks, and more).
The FFmpeg package for Windows also includes a set of freeware libraries:
libavutil — a set of auxiliary functions;
libavcodec — audio/video codecs;
libavformat — a library to work with containers;
libavdevice — working with devices delivering media content;
libavfilter — various filters;
libswscale — library of scaling and working with color spaces;
libswresample — an audio processing library.
Using these libraries, you can create multimedia applications and sell them later. It is easy to write a video player or video converter. The web has various manuals and instructions on how to use FFmpeg libraries.
Two program types
There are two types of FFmpeg:
Static-build: all codecs, filters, and utilities are compiled "inside" ffmpeg.exe (ffprobe.exe, ffplay.exe), and you only need to download one of these files to start watching movies (ffplay.exe). In this case, the size of the executable module increases a lot (up to about 40Mb), but it is more convenient.
Shared-build: codecs, filters, and other auxiliary programs are separate files FFmpeg finds and fetches if necessary. In this case, the size of the executable module takes no more than 200Kb.
- Various auxiliary programs and libraries
- Many instructions and manuals on the Internet
- Great abilities for working with media content
- Difficult to master for beginners