How to Install FFmpeg in Linux

FFmpeg is one of the best multimedia frameworks that contains various tools for different tasks. For example the ffplay is a portable media player that can be used to play audio/video files, ffmpeg can convert between different file formats, ffserver can be used to stream live broadcasts and ffprobe is able to analyze multimedia stream.

This framework is really powerful due to the diversity of available tools in it, that provide the best technical solution for the user. According to the description of FFmpeg in the official website, the reason for having such a great multimedia framework is the combination of the best free software options available.

The FFmpeg framework offers high security and the reason for this is the seriosity of the developers when they review the code, it is always done with security in mind.

I am very sure you will find this framework very useful when you would like to do some digital audio and video streaming or recording. There are many other practical thing that you can do with the help of the FFmpeg framework such as converting your wav file to an mp3 one, encode and decode your videos or even scale them.

According to the official website FFmpeg is able to do the followings.

  1. decode multimedia files
  2. encode multimedia files
  3. transcode multimedia files
  4. mux multimedia files
  5. demux multimedia files
  6. stream multimedia files
  7. filter multimedia files
  8. play multimedia files

Let me take an example, a very simple one. The following command will convert your mp4 file into an avi file, simple as that.

# ffmpeg -i Lone_Ranger.mp4 Lone_Ranger.avi

The above command is only useful for explanation, it is not recommended to be used in practice because the codex, bitrate and other specifics are not declared.

In the next part we will practice with some of the FFmpeg multimedia framework tools, but before doing that we have to install it in our Linux box.

How to Install FFmpeg Multimedia Framework in Linux

Since the FFmpeg packages are offered for the most used Linux distributions and the installation will be relatively easy. Lets start with the installation of the FFmpeg framework in Ubuntu based distributions.

Install FFmpeg on Ubuntu and Linux Mint

I will install FFmpeg via the PPA recommended in the official blog. Open a new terminal (CTRL+ALT+T) and then run the following commands.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mc3man/trusty-media
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install ffmpeg
$ ffmpeg -version

Install FFmpeg on Debian

To install FFmpeg, first you need to add the following line to your /etc/apt/sources.list file. As per your distribution, change ‘<mydist>‘ with ‘stretch‘, ‘jessie‘, or ‘wheezy‘.

deb <mydist> main non-free deb-src <mydist> main non-free

Then update system package sources and install FFmpeg with the following commands.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install deb-multimedia-keyring
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install ffmpeg
$ ffmpeg -version

Install FFmpeg on CentOS and RHEL

To install FFmpeg on CentOS and RHEL distributions, you need to enable EPEL and RPM Fusion repository on the system using following commands.

To install and enable EPEL, use following command.

# yum install epel-release

To install and enable RPM Fusion, use following command on your distribution version.

-------------- On CentOS & RHEL 7.x -------------- # yum localinstall --nogpgcheck -------------- On CentOS & RHEL 6.x --------------
# yum localinstall --nogpgcheck

After enabling repositories, run the following command to install FFmpeg:

# yum install ffmpeg ffmpeg-devel
# ffmpeg -version

Install FFmpeg on Fedora

On Fedora, you need to install and enable RPM Fusion to install FFmpeg as shown.

$ sudo dnf install$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
$ sudo dnf install ffmpeg ffmpeg-devel
$ ffmpeg -version

FFmpeg Compiling from Source

Compiling software from source is not the easiest thing in the world, but with the right instructions we will be able to do it. First make sure your system meet all the dependencies. The installation of these dependencies can be done with the help of the following commands.

First, tell the system to pull down the latest packages.

$ sudo apt-get update

Install the dependencies with the following command.

-------------- On Debian & Ubuntu --------------
$ sudo apt-get -y install autoconf automake build-essential libass-dev libfreetype6-dev libgpac-dev \
libsdl1.2-dev libtheora-dev libtool libva-dev libvdpau-dev libvorbis-dev libx11-dev \
libxext-dev libxfixes-dev pkg-config texi2html zlib1g-dev
-------------- On CentOS and RHEL --------------
# yum install glibc gcc gcc-c++ autoconf automake libtool git make nasm pkgconfig SDL-devel \
a52dec a52dec-devel alsa-lib-devel faac faac-devel faad2 faad2-devel freetype-devel giflib gsm gsm-devel \
imlib2 imlib2-devel lame lame-devel libICE-devel libSM-devel libX11-devel libXau-devel libXdmcp-devel \
libXext-devel libXrandr-devel libXrender-devel libXt-devel libogg libvorbis vorbis-tools mesa-libGL-devel \
mesa-libGLU-devel xorg-x11-proto-devel zlib-devel libtheora theora-tools ncurses-devel libdc1394 libdc1394-devel \
amrnb-devel amrwb-devel opencore-amr-devel

Then use the following command to create a new directory for the FFmpeg sources. This is the directory where the source files will be downloaded.

$ mkdir ~/ffmpeg_sources

Now compile and install yasm assembler used by FFmpeg by running the following commands.

$ cd ~/ffmpeg_sources
$ wget
$ tar xzvf yasm-1.3.0.tar.gz
$ cd yasm-1.3.0
$ ./configure --prefix="$HOME/ffmpeg_build" --bindir="$HOME/bin"
$ make
$ make install
$ make distclean
$ export "PATH=$PATH:$HOME/bin"

After you have successfully installed the yasm assembler it is time to install some various encoders that will be used with the specific FFmpeg tools. Use the following commands to install the H.264 video encoder.

$ cd ~/ffmpeg_sources
$ wget
$ tar xjvf last_x264.tar.bz2
$ cd x264-snapshot*
$ ./configure --prefix="$HOME/ffmpeg_build" --bindir="$HOME/bin" --enable-static
$ make
$ make install
$ make distclean

Another nice useful encoder is the libfdk-aac AAC audio encoder.

$ cd ~/ffmpeg_sources
$ wget -O
$ unzip
$ cd mstorsjo-fdk-aac*
$ autoreconf -fiv
$./configure --prefix="$HOME/ffmpeg_build" --disable-shared
$ make
$ make install
$ make distclean

Install libopus audio decoder and encoder.

$ cd ~/ffmpeg_sources
$ wget
$ tar xzvf opus-1.1.tar.gz
$ cd opus-1.1
$ ./configure --prefix="$HOME/ffmpeg_build" --disable-shared
$ make
$ make install
$ make distclean

Now, it’s time to install ffmpeg from source.

$ cd ~/ffmpeg_sources
$ wget
$ tar xjvf ffmpeg-snapshot.tar.bz2
$ cd ffmpeg
$ PKG_CONFIG_PATH="$HOME/ffmpeg_build/lib/pkgconfig"
$ ./configure --prefix="$HOME/ffmpeg_build" --extra-cflags="-I$HOME/ffmpeg_build/include" \ --extra-ldflags="-L$HOME/ffmpeg_build/lib" --bindir="$HOME/bin" --extra-libs="-ldl" --enable-gpl \ --enable-libass --enable-libfdk-aac --enable-libfreetype --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libopus \ --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-libvpx --enable-libx264 --enable-nonfree --enable-x11grab
$ make
$ make install
$ make distclean
$ hash -r

Note: If you have not installed certain encoders, make sure to remove ‘–enable-encoder_name‘ from the above ‘./configure‘ command so the installation is done without any problem.

There are many encoders that you can install, but fur the purpose of this article I am not going to install all of them, but you can install them using the following official guides.

  1. FFmpeg Compilation Guide for Ubuntu
  2. FFmpeg Compilation Guide for CentOS


In this first part we updated our readers with the latest news according to the FFmpeg multimedia framework and showed them how to install it in their Linux machines. The next part will be totally about learning how to use the amazing tools inside this leading multimedia framework.

Update: The Part 2 of this FFmpeg series is published, which shows some useful ffmpeg command-line usage to perform various audio, video and image conversion procedures: 15 Useful ‘FFmpeg’ Commands for Video, Audio and Image Conversion in Linux.

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Posted by News Monkey