How to: Install FFmpeg

Getting FFmpeg installed and configured on your system can be tricky if you haven't done it before. Here's how to do just that, with guides below for MacOS, Ubuntu / Debian, and Windows systems.

a month ago   •   2 min read

By Tom O'Brien

Install FFmpeg on MacOS

We'll start by opening a terminal (⌘ + T) and installing Homebrew.

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)"

Now we can install FFmpeg

brew install ffmpeg

If you want to install FFmpeg with additional options, such as Chromaprint, use the following:

brew uninstall --force --ignore-dependencies ffmpeg
brew install chromaprint amiaopensource/amiaos/decklinksdk
brew tap homebrew-ffmpeg/ffmpeg
brew install homebrew-ffmpeg/ffmpeg/ffmpeg --with-chromaprint

You can verify the install was successful by checking its version

ffmpeg -version

Install FFmpeg on Ubuntu / Debian

We'll start by opening a terminal (CTRL + SHIFT + T), updating our APT repositories and installing FFmpeg stable

sudo apt update
sudo apt install ffmpeg

You can verify the install was successful by checking its version

ffmpeg -version
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If you'd like to build FFmpeg from source, this guide from the the people behind FFmpeg will set you right. If not, stick with the stable version.

Install FFmpeg on Windows

We'll start by downloading FFmpeg. Go to the download page and click on the Windows logo in the middle:

FFmpeg download page

On the gyan.dev builds page, click on ffmpeg-git-full.7z and download it.

gyan.dev builds page

Once it has been downloaded, unzip the file with 7zip

Rename the extracted folder to ffmpeg

Move the ffmpeg folder to the root of your C:\ drive

Run cmd as an administrator

Set the environment path variable for FFmpeg by running the following command:

setx /m PATH "C:\ffmpeg\bin;%PATH%"

Now, reboot your system and verify that the install was successful by checking its version

ffmpeg -version

Using FFmpeg via Docker

If you're familiar with Docker and would like to use FFmpeg for cloud-based deployments, you should try this excellent image, which I've personally used in a production environment for Downsampl, and works like a charm. Github source repository for the image is here.


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