FFrequently Asked Questions



1. What is a static build and how do I install it?

A static build is basically a binary with all the libs included inside the binary itself. There's no installation necessary in order to use a static binary, but you may want to place it in your shell's PATH to easily call it from the command line. Otherwise you can use the binary's absolute path. Here's a quick walkthrough:

Open your favorite terminal.

$  <-- this is my shell's prompt, yours will probably look different


Download the latest git build.

$ cd /home/john

$ wget https://johnvansickle.com/ffmpeg/builds/ffmpeg-git-amd64-static.tar.xz

$ wget https://johnvansickle.com/ffmpeg/builds/ffmpeg-git-amd64-static.tar.xz.md5


With the build and the build's md5 hash downloaded you can check its integrity.

$ md5sum -c ffmpeg-git-amd64-static.tar.xz.md5
ffmpeg-git-amd64-static.tar.xz: OK


Unpack the build. Note: If you need to do this on Windows, use 7-Zip to unpack it. You may have to run it twice; once to uncompress and again to untar the directory.

$ tar xvf ffmpeg-git-amd64-static.tar.xz


Now I have the directory "ffmpeg-git-20180203-amd64-static".

$ ls ffmpeg-git-20180203-amd64-static
ffmpeg  ffprobe  GPLv3.txt  manpages  model  qt-faststart  readme.txt


Please read readme.txt! (hit "q" to exit out of "less")

$ less ffmpeg-git-20180203-amd64-static/readme.txt


Without any further steps I can start using ffmpeg with my relative path to the binary.

$ pwd
/home/john

$ ./ffmpeg-git-20180203-amd64-static/ffmpeg
ffmpeg version N-89948-ge3d946b3f4-static https://johnvansickle.com/ffmpeg/  Copyright (c) 2000-2018 the FFmpeg developers
  built with gcc 6.4.0 (Debian 6.4.0-11) 20171206
(snipped output to save space)


Or using the absolute path to the binary.

$ pwd
/home/john

$ /home/john/ffmpeg-git-20180203-amd64-static/ffmpeg
ffmpeg version N-89948-ge3d946b3f4-static https://johnvansickle.com/ffmpeg/  Copyright (c) 2000-2018 the FFmpeg developers
  built with gcc 6.4.0 (Debian 6.4.0-11) 20171206
(snipped output to save space)


To globally install it I need to move the binary into my shell's path. "PATH" is a variable in your environment set to a list of colon seperated directories the shell uses to locate binaries. Here's my system's path.

$ echo $PATH
/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/bin:/usr/sbin:/bin:/sbin:/home/john/.local/bin:/home/john/bin

Your output may look different than mine, but it will be a somewhat similar list of directories. When I run the command "ffmpeg", the shell will look in /usr/local/bin first and then the next directory to the right in above list until it's found. If there's not a binary named "ffmpeg" in any of the above directories the shell will return "ffmpeg: command not found".


Before moving the ffmpeg binary into the shell's path, check to see if an older version of ffmpeg is already installed.

$ whereis ffmpeg 
ffmpeg: /usr/bin/ffmpeg

This lists an older version of ffmpeg in /usr/bin installed via my package manager. I can either uninstall the older version or place the newer static ffmpeg binary in a path that's searched before /usr/bin. According to my shell's path that would be /usr/local/bin.


Move the static binaries ffmpeg and ffprobe into the shell's path.

$ sudo mv ffmpeg-git-20180203-amd64-static/ffmpeg ffmpeg-git-20180203-amd64-static/ffprobe /usr/local/bin/

$ whereis ffmpeg
ffmpeg: /usr/local/bin/ffmpeg

$ whereis ffprobe
ffprobe: /usr/local/bin/ffprobe



Now ffmpeg is globally installed and you're done!

$ ffmpeg
ffmpeg version N-89948-ge3d946b3f4-static https://johnvansickle.com/ffmpeg/  Copyright (c) 2000-2018 the FFmpeg developers
  built with gcc 6.4.0 (Debian 6.4.0-11) 20171206
  (snipped output to save space)


Uninstall.

$ sudo rm /usr/local/bin/ffmpeg /usr/local/bin/ffprobe


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