Following on from my ‘Start Here‘ guide… next up is where to go for Help!
As with any Command Line program, getting the most out of FFmpeg means putting some effort into learning it. However, that in itself is not as easy as it sounds as the program is constantly evolving. You may find that a certain command works one day and then a few months later, with a new version, things are slightly different.
This is not that common with standard codecs and containers, but in the wonderful world of proprietary video – anything is possible!
It is possible to fast track your learning by attending a course, or dedicating some learning hours, but as you take those initial footsteps into the FFmpeg world, it’s worth knowing where to go for some help.
First up, is the official FFmpeg documentation:
This is generated, and changes made, EVERY NIGHT. It is relative to the build of that date. As a result, if you are using an old build or have read an FFmpeg command on a blog that is a few years old, you may not find the information you are looking for or the command could be different.
You can also find here, all the official documentation for specific utilities.
When reviewing the documentation, under each category will be the functions help. In the example below, we have the output parameter for limiting the output file to a specific number of frames. You will see that after -vframes we have number (output)
This means that after the command, it expects a number and this is for an output file.
A lot of the commands have examples associated with them…
Next up we have the official FFmpeg Wiki.
The Home Page has a list of all the sections. Each section has a breakdown of the categories within. Each of the wiki articles have usually been written by one of the team. An example of a section is seen below:
The good thing about the wiki, is that there are many good, practical examples.
The FFmpeg user mail list is a huge repository of information.
Not only that, it gives you the ability to ask questions directly to the people that work hard in developing the applications.
You can search or browse..
I actually find that results within these pages come up often within standard Google searches. I also find the quality of the answers are usually very good. It is worth remembering this and, if you are conducting a google search for a FFmpeg issue, starting the search with ‘FFmpeg-user’ can bring some of the good answers further up the results.
Forums… There are many! One of the main ones, with good up-to-date information is back on Zeranoe’s site:
Obviously, this is dedicated to FFmpeg, but other general video forums can also provide some useful information. VideoHelp is a popular one with a large userbase:
Superuser is another popular Question and Answer site with a dedicated tag for FFmpeg:
Along the same family of sites, you can also find good information on a couple more of the ‘Exchanges’:
I think that will do for now!
At least by reading a few of the questions asked on these pages and understanding the answers, you should start to get a better idea of the FF world you are walking into!
Coming soon – 6 years of using FFmpeg