FFmpeg is a complete, cross-platform solution to decode, encode, transcode, mux, demux, stream, filter and play audio and video. FFmpeg is one of its tools that can be used to convert multimedia files between formats in command line. It is free and available for Windows, Mac and Linux machines. Whether you want to join two video files, extract audio from video file, convert video or audio from one format to another, FFmpeg can do it all and even more. It’s often used behind the scenes in many other media-related projects. For example, you need to download and install FFmpeg for ShareX if you like to use its built-in screen recorder to capture your screen activities and save them as videos on your Windows PC. In this article, we will show you how to install and configure it on your Windows computer.
Download FFmpeg for Windows
Go to this link and download either the 32 or 64-bit Static version (depending on your system) on to your PC. You will get a zip file with a long name, like ffmpeg-20170807-1bef008-win64-static.zip. Unzip this file and rename it to just ‘ffmpeg’ or something else for simplicities sake. You will find a bin folder with three exe files: ffmpeg.exe, ffplay.exe and ffprobe.exe. ffmpeg is the command line tool for media files conversion. ffplay is a simple media player. ffprobe is the multimedia stream analyzer.
Add FFmpeg to path
This is optional, but allows us to run the commands easily as you do not need to include the path to the ffmpeg.exe file every time when you run command lines once being added to system path.
On Windows 10 computer, right click on the Start menu, choose System >> Advanced system settings, then the System Properties dialogue pops up with its Advanced tab opens automatically. In the System Properties window, find and click the Environmental Variables button at the bottom. When the Environmental Variables window opens, you will find two sections. The upper section is for current User variables, the latter is the System variables for all Windows users. You can add the FFmpeg location path to either user variables or system variables. If the ffmpeg.exe is saved in D:\ffmpeg\bin, then find the Path variable in Environmental Variables and edit it, add “;D:\ffmpeg\bin;” without the quotes after anything that’s already written there. On my Windows 10 PC, the existing value for the current user Path variable is %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps, so I attach the ffmpeg path after it %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WindowsApps;D:\ffmpeg\bin;. Do not miss or duplicate to the “;” which is the separator in the Path value. Save the change and then you will be able to use the FFmpeg in any current location or folder in the Windows command prompt.
Convert & edit media using FFmpeg in Command prompt
FFmpeg is a command line tool as we mentioned above. There are many different ways you can run Command Prompt or Command lines on Windows PC. For example, you can quickly open command prompt from Windows File Explorer.
Enter the command “ffmpeg –version”and execute. If the command prompt returns the version information for FFmpeg, then your FFmpeg is installed properly.
FFmpeg is very powerful in converting audio and video. For example, say you have a WMA file and want it converted into an MP3 file.
ffmpeg -i demo.mp3 demo.ogg
When you have MOV file and want to convert it to MP4 using FFmpeg, run below command line.
ffmpeg -i demo.mov demo.mp4
You can also manually select the codecs needed by using the -c flag.
ffmpeg -i demo.mp3 -c:a libvorbis demo.ogg
For advanced editing, you can do a search for more FFmpeg commands. Alternatively we recommend more specialized media converters. For example, you can follow this tutorial to convert videos to iPhone. This solution allows you to customize video frame rate, resolution, bitrate and more parameters in a more intuitive way.