How to Install and Use FFmpeg on Ubuntu 20.04

FFmpeg is a free and open-source collection of tools for handling multimedia files. It contains a set of shared audio and video libraries such as libavcodec, libavformat, and libavutil. With FFmpeg, you can convert between various video and audio formats, set sample rates, capture streaming audio/video, and resize videos.

This article describes how to install FFmpeg on Ubuntu 20.04

Installing FFmpeg on Ubuntu

The official Ubuntu repositories contain FFmpeg packages that can be installed with the apt package manager. This is the easiest way to install FFmpeg on Ubuntu. A new major version is released every six months, and the version included in the repositories usually lags behind the latest version of FFmpeg.

At the time of writing this article, the current version of FFmpeg available in the Ubuntu 20.04 repositories is 4.2.x. To install it, enter the following command as root or sudo.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install ffmpeg

To verify the installation, use the ffmpeg -version command, which prints the FFmpeg version:

ffmpeg -version

The output should look something like this:

To print all available FFmpeg’s encoders and decoders type:

ffmpeg -encoders
ffmpeg -decoders

That’s it. FFmpeg is now installed on your system, and you can start using it.

How to use FFmpeg on Ubuntu 20.04

How to use main command for FFmpeg as after:

ffmpeg [global_options] {[input_file_options] -i input_url}{[output_file_options] output_url}

FFmpeg Examples

In this section, we will look at some basic examples on how to use the ffmpeg utility

When converting audio and video files with ffmpeg, you do not have to specify the input and output formats. The input file format is auto-detected, and the output format is guessed from the file extension.

  • Convert a video file from mp4 to webm:
ffmpeg -i input.mp4 output.webm
  • Convert an audio file from mp3 to ogg:
ffmpeg -i input.mp3 output.ogg

Specifying codecs

When converting files, use the -c option to specify the codecs. It can be a name of any supported decoder/encoder or a special value copy that simply copies the input stream.

  • Convert a video file from mp4 to webm using the libvpx video codec and libvorbis audio codec:
ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -c:v libvpx -c:a libvorbis output.webm
  • Convert an audio file from mp3 to ogg encoded with the libopus codec.
ffmpeg -i input.mp3 -c:a libopus output.ogg


FFmpeg is a great multimedia software, the list is full of what you can do with the software and we have only mentioned a few of the dozens. Overall, this is a simple, lightweight program and simple to operate. In our testing, we had no issues converting our files, and it was done fairly quickly and efficiently.

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