faq: remove note that says avisynth "has just been added". it has been there
[libav.git] / doc / faq.texi
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1\input texinfo @c -*- texinfo -*-
2
3@settitle FFmpeg FAQ
4@titlepage
5@sp 7
6@center @titlefont{FFmpeg FAQ}
7@sp 3
8@end titlepage
9
10
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11@chapter General Questions
12
13@section When will the next FFmpeg version be released? / Why are FFmpeg releases so few and far between?
14
15Like most open source projects FFmpeg suffers from a certain lack of
16manpower. For this reason the developers have to prioritize the work
17they do and putting out releases is not at the top of the list, fixing
18bugs and reviewing patches takes precedence. Please don't complain or
19request more timely and/or frequent releases unless you are willing to
20help out creating them.
21
22@section I have a problem with an old version of FFmpeg; where should I report it?
23Nowhere. Upgrade to the latest release or if there is no recent release upgrade
24to Subversion HEAD. You could also try to report it. Maybe you will get lucky and
25become the first person in history to get an answer different from "upgrade
26to Subversion HEAD".
27
28@section Why doesn't FFmpeg support feature [xyz]?
29
30Because no one has taken on that task yet. FFmpeg development is
31driven by the tasks that are important to the individual developers.
32If there is a feature that is important to you, the best way to get
4f1ab3ce 33it implemented is to undertake the task yourself or sponsor a developer.
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34
35@section FFmpeg does not support codec XXX. Can you include a Windows DLL loader to support it?
36
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37No. Windows DLLs are not portable, bloated and often slow.
38Moreover FFmpeg strives to support all codecs natively.
39A DLL loader is not conducive to that goal.
d485fed4 40
831ec935 41@section My bug report/mail to ffmpeg-devel/user has not received any replies.
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42
43Likely reasons
44@itemize
45@item We are busy and haven't had time yet to read your report or
46investigate the issue.
47@item You didn't follow bugreports.html.
48@item You didn't use Subversion HEAD.
49@item You reported a segmentation fault without gdb output.
50@item You describe a problem but not how to reproduce it.
51@item It's unclear if you use ffmpeg as command line tool or use
52libav* from another application.
53@item You speak about a video having problems on playback but
54not what you use to play it.
55@item We have no faint clue what you are talking about besides
56that it is related to FFmpeg.
57@end itemize
58
59@section Is there a forum for FFmpeg? I do not like mailing lists.
60
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61You may view our mailing lists with a more forum-alike look here:
62@url{http://dir.gmane.org/gmane.comp.video.ffmpeg.user},
d9fe7eb3 63but, if you post, please remember that our mailing list rules still apply there.
7ff56c72 64
cacf7199 65@section I cannot read this file although this format seems to be supported by ffmpeg.
7ff56c72 66
4f1ab3ce 67Even if ffmpeg can read the container format, it may not support all its
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68codecs. Please consult the supported codec list in the ffmpeg
69documentation.
70
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71@section Which codecs are supported by Windows?
72
73Windows does not support standard formats like MPEG very well, unless you
831ec935 74install some additional codecs.
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75
76The following list of video codecs should work on most Windows systems:
77@table @option
78@item msmpeg4v2
79.avi/.asf
80@item msmpeg4
81.asf only
82@item wmv1
83.asf only
84@item wmv2
85.asf only
86@item mpeg4
831ec935 87Only if you have some MPEG-4 codec like ffdshow or Xvid installed.
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88@item mpeg1
89.mpg only
90@end table
91Note, ASF files often have .wmv or .wma extensions in Windows. It should also
92be mentioned that Microsoft claims a patent on the ASF format, and may sue
93or threaten users who create ASF files with non-Microsoft software. It is
94strongly advised to avoid ASF where possible.
95
96The following list of audio codecs should work on most Windows systems:
97@table @option
98@item adpcm_ima_wav
99@item adpcm_ms
100@item pcm
831ec935 101always
d485fed4 102@item mp3
831ec935 103If some MP3 codec like LAME is installed.
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104@end table
105
106
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107@chapter Compilation
108
109@section @code{error: can't find a register in class 'GENERAL_REGS' while reloading 'asm'}
110
111This is a bug in gcc. Do not report it to us. Instead, please report it to
112the gcc developers. Note that we will not add workarounds for gcc bugs.
113
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114Also note that (some of) the gcc developers believe this is not a bug or
115not a bug they should fix:
116@url{http://gcc.gnu.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=11203}.
117Then again, some of them do not know the difference between an undecidable
118problem and an NP-hard problem...
a28d9122 119
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120@chapter Usage
121
831ec935 122@section ffmpeg does not work; what is wrong?
d485fed4 123
4f1ab3ce 124Try a @code{make distclean} in the ffmpeg source directory before the build. If this does not help see
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125(@url{http://ffmpeg.org/bugreports.html}).
126
831ec935 127@section How do I encode single pictures into movies?
7ff56c72 128
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129First, rename your pictures to follow a numerical sequence.
130For example, img1.jpg, img2.jpg, img3.jpg,...
131Then you may run:
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132
133@example
a9d21e78 134 ffmpeg -f image2 -i img%d.jpg /tmp/a.mpg
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135@end example
136
1fee8b3a 137Notice that @samp{%d} is replaced by the image number.
7ff56c72 138
1fee8b3a 139@file{img%03d.jpg} means the sequence @file{img001.jpg}, @file{img002.jpg}, etc...
7ff56c72 140
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141If you have large number of pictures to rename, you can use the
142following command to ease the burden. The command, using the bourne
143shell syntax, symbolically links all files in the current directory
144that match @code{*jpg} to the @file{/tmp} directory in the sequence of
145@file{img001.jpg}, @file{img002.jpg} and so on.
146
147@example
148 x=1; for i in *jpg; do counter=$(printf %03d $x); ln "$i" /tmp/img"$counter".jpg; x=$(($x+1)); done
149@end example
150
151If you want to sequence them by oldest modified first, substitute
152@code{$(ls -r -t *jpg)} in place of @code{*jpg}.
153
154Then run:
155
156@example
157 ffmpeg -f image2 -i /tmp/img%03d.jpg /tmp/a.mpg
158@end example
159
1fee8b3a 160The same logic is used for any image format that ffmpeg reads.
7ff56c72 161
5965e1a9 162@section How do I encode movie to single pictures?
a9d21e78 163
3c88ea24 164Use:
ad21ad45 165
ad21ad45 166@example
3c88ea24 167 ffmpeg -i movie.mpg movie%d.jpg
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168@end example
169
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170The @file{movie.mpg} used as input will be converted to
171@file{movie1.jpg}, @file{movie2.jpg}, etc...
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172
173Instead of relying on file format self-recognition, you may also use
174@table @option
175@item -vcodec ppm
176@item -vcodec png
177@item -vcodec mjpeg
178@end table
179to force the encoding.
180
181Applying that to the previous example:
182@example
3c88ea24 183 ffmpeg -i movie.mpg -f image2 -vcodec mjpeg menu%d.jpg
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184@end example
185
186Beware that there is no "jpeg" codec. Use "mjpeg" instead.
187
5965e1a9 188@section Why do I see a slight quality degradation with multithreaded MPEG* encoding?
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189
190For multithreaded MPEG* encoding, the encoded slices must be independent,
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191otherwise thread n would practically have to wait for n-1 to finish, so it's
192quite logical that there is a small reduction of quality. This is not a bug.
f2fe8752 193
5965e1a9 194@section How can I read from the standard input or write to the standard output?
47d944d2 195
831ec935 196Use @file{-} as file name.
47d944d2 197
9ba42958 198@section Why does the chrominance data seem to be sampled at a different time from the luminance data on bt8x8 captures on Linux?
7c0dc383 199
115329f1 200This is a well-known bug in the bt8x8 driver. For 2.4.26 there is a patch at
0fa5f24c 201(@url{http://svn.ffmpeg.org/michael/trunk/patches/bttv-420-2.4.26.patch?view=co}). This may also
cacf7199 202apply cleanly to other 2.4-series kernels.
7c0dc383 203
87759af9 204@section How do I avoid the ugly aliasing artifacts in bt8x8 captures on Linux?
7c0dc383 205
cacf7199 206Pass 'combfilter=1 lumafilter=1' to the bttv driver. Note though that 'combfilter=1'
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207will cause somewhat too strong filtering. A fix is to apply (@url{http://svn.ffmpeg.org/michael/trunk/patches/bttv-comb-2.4.26.patch?view=co})
208or (@url{http://svn.ffmpeg.org/michael/trunk/patches/bttv-comb-2.6.6.patch?view=co})
cacf7199 209and pass 'combfilter=2'.
7c0dc383 210
9ba42958 211@section -f jpeg doesn't work.
fc3e9202 212
a9d21e78 213Try '-f image2 test%d.jpg'.
fc3e9202 214
cacf7199 215@section Why can I not change the framerate?
73468318 216
9ba42958 217Some codecs, like MPEG-1/2, only allow a small number of fixed framerates.
cacf7199 218Choose a different codec with the -vcodec command line option.
73468318 219
842eabc5 220@section How do I encode Xvid or DivX video with ffmpeg?
f62e9435 221
842eabc5 222Both Xvid and DivX (version 4+) are implementations of the ISO MPEG-4
f62e9435 223standard (note that there are many other coding formats that use this
831ec935 224same standard). Thus, use '-vcodec mpeg4' to encode in these formats. The
c9a08db9 225default fourcc stored in an MPEG-4-coded file will be 'FMP4'. If you want
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226a different fourcc, use the '-vtag' option. E.g., '-vtag xvid' will
227force the fourcc 'xvid' to be stored as the video fourcc rather than the
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228default.
229
18e7d87c 230@section How do I encode videos which play on the iPod?
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231
232@table @option
18e7d87c 233@item needed stuff
095247b1 234-acodec libfaac -vcodec mpeg4 width<=320 height<=240
18e7d87c 235@item working stuff
b4aead58 2364mv, title
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237@item non-working stuff
238B-frames
b4aead58 239@item example command line
9c16add6 240ffmpeg -i input -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -vcodec mpeg4 -b 1200kb -mbd 2 -flags +4mv -trellis 2 -aic 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -s 320x180 -metadata title=X output.mp4
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241@end table
242
18e7d87c 243@section How do I encode videos which play on the PSP?
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244
245@table @option
18e7d87c 246@item needed stuff
095247b1 247-acodec libfaac -vcodec mpeg4 width*height<=76800 width%16=0 height%16=0 -ar 24000 -r 30000/1001 or 15000/1001 -f psp
18e7d87c 248@item working stuff
b4aead58 2494mv, title
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250@item non-working stuff
251B-frames
b4aead58 252@item example command line
9c16add6 253ffmpeg -i input -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -vcodec mpeg4 -b 1200kb -ar 24000 -mbd 2 -flags +4mv -trellis 2 -aic 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -s 368x192 -r 30000/1001 -metadata title=X -f psp output.mp4
f7709b1a 254@item needed stuff for H.264
b96e074d 255-acodec libfaac -vcodec libx264 width*height<=76800 width%16=0? height%16=0? -ar 48000 -coder 1 -r 30000/1001 or 15000/1001 -f psp
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256@item working stuff for H.264
257title, loop filter
258@item non-working stuff for H.264
259CAVLC
260@item example command line
9c16add6 261ffmpeg -i input -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -vcodec libx264 -b 1200kb -ar 48000 -mbd 2 -coder 1 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -s 368x192 -r 30000/1001 -metadata title=X -f psp -flags loop -trellis 2 -partitions parti4x4+parti8x8+partp4x4+partp8x8+partb8x8 output.mp4
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262@item higher resolution for newer PSP firmwares, width<=480, height<=272
263-vcodec libx264 -level 21 -coder 1 -f psp
264@item example command line
265ffmpeg -i input -acodec libfaac -ab 128kb -ac 2 -ar 48000 -vcodec libx264 -level 21 -b 640kb -coder 1 -f psp -flags +loop -trellis 2 -partitions +parti4x4+parti8x8+partp4x4+partp8x8+partb8x8 -g 250 -s 480x272 output.mp4
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266@end table
267
16ab894e 268@section Which are good parameters for encoding high quality MPEG-4?
c62997a5 269
cd0e37d3 270'-mbd rd -flags +4mv+aic -trellis 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -g 300 -pass 1/2',
16ab894e 271things to try: '-bf 2', '-flags qprd', '-flags mv0', '-flags skiprd'.
c62997a5 272
16ab894e 273@section Which are good parameters for encoding high quality MPEG-1/MPEG-2?
c62997a5 274
cd0e37d3 275'-mbd rd -trellis 2 -cmp 2 -subcmp 2 -g 100 -pass 1/2'
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276but beware the '-g 100' might cause problems with some decoders.
277Things to try: '-bf 2', '-flags qprd', '-flags mv0', '-flags skiprd.
c62997a5 278
f278709c 279@section Interlaced video looks very bad when encoded with ffmpeg, what is wrong?
c62997a5 280
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281You should use '-flags +ilme+ildct' and maybe '-flags +alt' for interlaced
282material, and try '-top 0/1' if the result looks really messed-up.
c62997a5 283
99f6278e 284@section How can I read DirectShow files?
2c29781d 285
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286If you have built FFmpeg with @code{./configure --enable-avisynth}
287(only possible on MinGW/Cygwin platforms),
288then you may use any file that DirectShow can read as input.
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289
290Just create an "input.avs" text file with this single line ...
291@example
292 DirectShowSource("C:\path to your file\yourfile.asf")
293@end example
99f6278e 294... and then feed that text file to FFmpeg:
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295@example
296 ffmpeg -i input.avs
297@end example
298
299For ANY other help on Avisynth, please visit @url{http://www.avisynth.org/}.
300
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301@section How can I join video files?
302
5449190f 303A few multimedia containers (MPEG-1, MPEG-2 PS, DV) allow to join video files by
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304merely concatenating them.
305
306Hence you may concatenate your multimedia files by first transcoding them to
307these privileged formats, then using the humble @code{cat} command (or the
5449190f 308equally humble @code{copy} under Windows), and finally transcoding back to your
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309format of choice.
310
311@example
312ffmpeg -i input1.avi -sameq intermediate1.mpg
313ffmpeg -i input2.avi -sameq intermediate2.mpg
314cat intermediate1.mpg intermediate2.mpg > intermediate_all.mpg
315ffmpeg -i intermediate_all.mpg -sameq output.avi
316@end example
317
318Notice that you should either use @code{-sameq} or set a reasonably high
319bitrate for your intermediate and output files, if you want to preserve
320video quality.
321
5449190f 322Also notice that you may avoid the huge intermediate files by taking advantage
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323of named pipes, should your platform support it:
324
325@example
326mkfifo intermediate1.mpg
327mkfifo intermediate2.mpg
328ffmpeg -i input1.avi -sameq -y intermediate1.mpg < /dev/null &
329ffmpeg -i input2.avi -sameq -y intermediate2.mpg < /dev/null &
330cat intermediate1.mpg intermediate2.mpg |\
095247b1 331ffmpeg -f mpeg -i - -sameq -vcodec mpeg4 -acodec libmp3lame output.avi
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332@end example
333
334Similarly, the yuv4mpegpipe format, and the raw video, raw audio codecs also
335allow concatenation, and the transcoding step is almost lossless.
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336When using multiple yuv4mpegpipe(s), the first line needs to be discarded
337from all but the first stream. This can be accomplished by piping through
338@code{tail} as seen below. Note that when piping through @code{tail} you
339must use command grouping, @code{@{ ;@}}, to background properly.
340
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341For example, let's say we want to join two FLV files into an output.flv file:
342
343@example
344mkfifo temp1.a
345mkfifo temp1.v
346mkfifo temp2.a
347mkfifo temp2.v
348mkfifo all.a
349mkfifo all.v
350ffmpeg -i input1.flv -vn -f u16le -acodec pcm_s16le -ac 2 -ar 44100 - > temp1.a < /dev/null &
351ffmpeg -i input2.flv -vn -f u16le -acodec pcm_s16le -ac 2 -ar 44100 - > temp2.a < /dev/null &
352ffmpeg -i input1.flv -an -f yuv4mpegpipe - > temp1.v < /dev/null &
76597127 353@{ ffmpeg -i input2.flv -an -f yuv4mpegpipe - < /dev/null | tail -n +2 > temp2.v ; @} &
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354cat temp1.a temp2.a > all.a &
355cat temp1.v temp2.v > all.v &
356ffmpeg -f u16le -acodec pcm_s16le -ac 2 -ar 44100 -i all.a \
357 -f yuv4mpegpipe -i all.v \
358 -sameq -y output.flv
359rm temp[12].[av] all.[av]
360@end example
361
fa78d895 362@section FFmpeg does not adhere to the -maxrate setting, some frames are bigger than maxrate/fps.
3b36389a 363
fa78d895 364Read the MPEG spec about video buffer verifier.
3b36389a 365
fa78d895 366@section I want CBR, but no matter what I do frame sizes differ.
3b36389a 367
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368You do not understand what CBR is, please read the MPEG spec.
369Read about video buffer verifier and constant bitrate.
370The one sentence summary is that there is a buffer and the input rate is
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371constant, the output can vary as needed.
372
fa78d895 373@section How do I check if a stream is CBR?
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374
375To quote the MPEG-2 spec:
376"There is no way to tell that a bitstream is constant bitrate without
377examining all of the vbv_delay values and making complicated computations."
378
86852499 379
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380@chapter Development
381
5965e1a9 382@section Are there examples illustrating how to use the FFmpeg libraries, particularly libavcodec and libavformat?
a93b9dba 383
cacf7199 384Yes. Read the Developers Guide of the FFmpeg documentation. Alternatively,
115329f1 385examine the source code for one of the many open source projects that
831ec935 386already incorporate FFmpeg at (@url{projects.html}).
a93b9dba 387
5965e1a9 388@section Can you support my C compiler XXX?
7ff56c72 389
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390It depends. If your compiler is C99-compliant, then patches to support
391it are likely to be welcome if they do not pollute the source code
392with @code{#ifdef}s related to the compiler.
7ff56c72 393
a9d5a448 394@section Is Microsoft Visual C++ supported?
2f0b8fbb 395
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396No. Microsoft Visual C++ is not compliant to the C99 standard and does
397not - among other things - support the inline assembly used in FFmpeg.
19671d3f 398If you wish to use MSVC++ for your
c1989552 399project then you can link the MSVC++ code with libav* as long as
2f0b8fbb 400you compile the latter with a working C compiler. For more information, see
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401the @emph{Microsoft Visual C++ compatibility} section in the FFmpeg
402documentation.
2f0b8fbb 403
c1989552 404There have been efforts to make FFmpeg compatible with MSVC++ in the
2f0b8fbb 405past. However, they have all been rejected as too intrusive, especially
a9d5a448 406since MinGW does the job adequately. None of the core developers
c1989552 407work with MSVC++ and thus this item is low priority. Should you find
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408the silver bullet that solves this problem, feel free to shoot it at us.
409
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410We strongly recommend you to move over from MSVC++ to MinGW tools.
411
5965e1a9 412@section Can I use FFmpeg or libavcodec under Windows?
7ff56c72 413
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414Yes, but the Cygwin or MinGW tools @emph{must} be used to compile FFmpeg.
415Read the @emph{Windows} section in the FFmpeg documentation to find more
416information.
7ff56c72 417
46a845d0 418To get help and instructions for building FFmpeg under Windows, check out
e2ef53fc 419the FFmpeg Windows Help Forum at
ab5ce4ae 420@url{http://ffmpeg.arrozcru.org/}.
e2ef53fc 421
5965e1a9 422@section Can you add automake, libtool or autoconf support?
7ff56c72 423
e867d9b9 424No. These tools are too bloated and they complicate the build.
7ff56c72 425
5965e1a9 426@section Why not rewrite ffmpeg in object-oriented C++?
fbf33e4f 427
831ec935 428FFmpeg is already organized in a highly modular manner and does not need to
115329f1 429be rewritten in a formal object language. Further, many of the developers
cacf7199 430favor straight C; it works for them. For more arguments on this matter,
bc155732 431read "Programming Religion" at (@url{http://www.tux.org/lkml/#s15}).
cacf7199 432
5965e1a9 433@section Why are the ffmpeg programs devoid of debugging symbols?
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434
435The build process creates ffmpeg_g, ffplay_g, etc. which contain full debug
831ec935 436information. Those binaries are stripped to create ffmpeg, ffplay, etc. If
cacf7199 437you need the debug information, used the *_g versions.
fbf33e4f 438
5965e1a9 439@section I do not like the LGPL, can I contribute code under the GPL instead?
61a1e081 440
e180129f 441Yes, as long as the code is optional and can easily and cleanly be placed
b250f9c6 442under #if CONFIG_GPL without breaking anything. So for example a new codec
831ec935 443or filter would be OK under GPL while a bug fix to LGPL code would not.
61a1e081 444
e180129f 445@section I want to compile xyz.c alone but my compiler produced many errors.
61a1e081 446
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447Common code is in its own files in libav* and is used by the individual
448codecs. They will not work without the common parts, you have to compile
449the whole libav*. If you wish, disable some parts with configure switches.
450You can also try to hack it and remove more, but if you had problems fixing
451the compilation failure then you are probably not qualified for this.
61a1e081 452
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453@section I'm using libavcodec from within my C++ application but the linker complains about missing symbols which seem to be available.
454
455FFmpeg is a pure C project, so to use the libraries within your C++ application
456you need to explicitly state that you are using a C library. You can do this by
457encompassing your FFmpeg includes using @code{extern "C"}.
458
459See @url{http://www.parashift.com/c++-faq-lite/mixing-c-and-cpp.html#faq-32.3}
460
2cab6401 461@section I have a file in memory / a API different from *open/*read/ libc how do I use it with libavformat?
f994f61e 462
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463You have to implement a URLProtocol, see libavformat/file.c in FFmpeg
464and libmpdemux/demux_lavf.c in MPlayer sources.
f994f61e 465
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466@section I get "No compatible shell script interpreter found." in MSys.
467
468The standard MSys bash (2.04) is broken. You need to install 2.05 or later.
469
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470@section I get "./configure: line <xxx>: pr: command not found" in MSys.
471
472The standard MSys install doesn't come with pr. You need to get it from the coreutils package.
473
5c159f40 474@section I tried to pass RTP packets into a decoder, but it doesn't work.
b72ad042 475
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476RTP is a container format like any other, you must first depacketize the
477codec frames/samples stored in RTP and then feed to the decoder.
b72ad042 478
7c1ebf17 479@section Where can I find libav* headers for Pascal/Delphi?
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480
481see @url{http://www.iversenit.dk/dev/ffmpeg-headers/}
482
7c1ebf17 483@section Where is the documentation about ffv1, msmpeg4, asv1, 4xm?
afe28f7c 484
0fa5f24c 485see @url{http://svn.ffmpeg.org/michael/trunk/docs/}
afe28f7c 486
29569571 487@section How do I feed H.263-RTP (and other codecs in RTP) to libavcodec?
8749180c 488
241fb0c4 489Even if peculiar since it is network oriented, RTP is a container like any
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490other. You have to @emph{demux} RTP before feeding the payload to libavcodec.
491In this specific case please look at RFC 4629 to see how it should be done.
8749180c 492
29569571 493@section AVStream.r_frame_rate is wrong, it is much larger than the framerate.
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494
495r_frame_rate is NOT the average framerate, it is the smallest framerate
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496that can accurately represent all timestamps. So no, it is not
497wrong if it is larger than the average!
498For example, if you have mixed 25 and 30 fps content, then r_frame_rate
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499will be 150.
500
7ff56c72 501@bye