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Learn to Produce Video with FFmpeg in 30 Minutes or Less, is an entry level book for developers who need to produce single MP4 or adaptive groups with FFmpeg, the free, open-source utility used in some of the largest encoding farms in the world. The book also includes a primer on terms and technologies related to streaming and recommended settings for all parameters detailed in the book.

Initial chapters focus on installing FFmpeg on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers, and basics of command line programming. Then the technology primer, and individual chapters on bitrate control, resolution, frame rate, I-, B-, P- and reference-frame settings. These are followed by chapters on H.264 and HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), which includes instruction on Apple tools Media File Segmenter, Variant Playlist Creator, and Media Stream Validator. Also covered is encoding for DASH with MP4Box.

Next up are chapters on encoding HEVC with x265, and producing VP9, with the final chapter covering miscellaneous operations like concatenating multiple files, or computing PSNR with FFmpeg.

A downloadable zipped file includes all (Windows) batch files used in the book, which you can easily adapt for your own use, and a detailed Table of Contents and Index will help you find what you need (to receive the zip file, email your proof of purchase of the PDF or paperback version to janozer@gmail). All these contents ensure that you’ll be able to Learn to Produce Videos with FFmpeg in 30 Minutes or Less.

Specifically, in this book, you will learn:

  • Streaming fundamentals, including configurations for single file and adaptive bitrate streaming
    • How to install FFmpeg on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers
    • Fundamentals of command line processing and batch file creation
    • Single- and dual-pass encoding with FFmpeg
    • How to choose the optimal configurations for resolution, data rate, frame settings, bitrate control and other common encoding options
    • How to encode to H.264 (x264), HEVC (x265), and VP9 compression formats
    • How to segment and package video for delivery via HTTP Live Streaming using FFmpeg
    and Apple Media File Segmenter and Variant Playlist Creator
    • Includes access to a downloadable file with all batch files shown in the book.

Note: Most, but not all, of the FFmpeg-related content in this book is excerpted from Video Encoding by the Numbers: Eliminate the Guesswork from your Streaming Video. If you have that book, you probably don’t need this one.

About the Author

Jan Ozer is a leading expert on H.264 and HEVC encoding for live and on-demand production who consults widely on encoding-related topics. He has taught courses in video and streaming production since 1994—most recently at Streaming Media seminars in New York City, Los Angeles, and London. Ozer is a contributing editor for Streaming Media Magazine and has written or co-authored more than 20 books on digital-video-related topics, including Video Encoding by the Numbers: Eliminate the Guesswork from your Streaming Video (2017) and Producing Streaming Video for Multiple Screen Delivery (2013).

Buy the book on Amazon ($29.99)

Buy and download PDF ($24.95)

Download the Table of Contents

Top 4 reasons to buy this Book

You’ll learn about compression and streaming. It’s touch to make informed decisions about video encoding if you don’t know the basics, like what a codec or keyframe is, and what they do. If you’re a programmer seeking to get smart on video fast, Chapter 1, Video Boot Camp, is for you.

You’ll get a useful primer on batch encoding. If you’re new to batch encoding, you’ll get a quick primer, with useful links for more information. You’ll also learn how to get FFmpeg installed on Windows, Linux, and MacOS. If you’re a video person seeking to learn batch programming, Chapter 2, Installing FFmpeg and Batch File Operation is for you.

You’ll learn the best configurations for your H.264, H.265, and VP9 encoding options. Each chapter details what the parameters are, and provides guidance as to the recommended settings. So when you learn about bitrate control, you’ll see the results of your decisions via screenshots like this (you’re looking at a file encoded using variable bitrate encoding).

Each chapter also details the quality impact of your encoding decisions, usually with charts like this one that makes it easy to see which option delivers the best quality (green background) and the worst (red background), plus the total quality difference between the best and worst options. 

So beyond learning how to implement a specific FFmpeg command, you’ll learn the pros and cons of each option.

You really will be able to create workable FFmpeg scripts on Windows, Mac, and Unix workstations within 30 minutes. This is particularly true given that you can download a zipped file containing all batch files used in the book.

Buy the book on Amazon ($29.99).

Buy and download PDF ($24.95)