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How to Install FFmpeg on Debian 12 Linux Systems

FFmpeg is a powerful multimedia framework that can decode, encode, transcode, mux, demux, stream, filter, and play almost anything that humans and machines have created. This guide will walk you through the steps to install FFmpeg on a Debian 12 system.


Before you begin, ensure you have:

  • A running Debian 12 system
  • A user account with sudo privileges
  • Internet connectivity to download necessary packages

Step 1: Update Your System

First, update your system to ensure all existing packages are up to date.

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt upgrade -y

Step 2: Install FFmpeg from Debian Repository

FFmpeg is available in the default Debian repositories, which makes the installation process straightforward.

$ sudo apt install ffmpeg -y

Step 3: Verify the Installation

After the installation is complete, verify that FFmpeg is installed correctly by checking its version.

$ ffmpeg -version

You should see output similar to this, indicating the installed version of FFmpeg:

ffmpeg version 4.4.1-2+b2 Debian 4.4.1-2
built with gcc 10 (Debian 10.2.1-6)
configuration: --enable-gpl --enable-libx264 --enable-libx265 ...

Step 4: Basic Usage Examples

FFmpeg is a versatile tool and can be used for various multimedia tasks. Here are a few basic examples to get you started.

Convert a Video File

Convert a video file from MP4 to AVI format:

$ ffmpeg -i input.mp4 output.avi

Extract Audio from a Video File

Extract the audio from a video file and save it as an MP3 file:

$ ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -q:a 0 -map a output.mp3

Compress a Video File

Compress a video file to reduce its size:

$ ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -vcodec h264 -acodec mp2 output.mp4

Step 5: Install Additional Libraries (Optional)

Depending on your requirements, you might need additional libraries for FFmpeg. Here are some commonly used libraries and their installation commands:

Install libx264

To enable H.264 video encoding:

$ sudo apt install libx264-dev

Install libx265

To enable H.265/HEVC video encoding:

$ sudo apt install libx265-dev

Install libvpx

To enable VP8 and VP9 video encoding:

$ sudo apt install libvpx-dev

Step 6: Compile FFmpeg from Source (Optional)

If you need the latest version of FFmpeg or require custom configurations, you can compile FFmpeg from source.

Install Build Dependencies

$ sudo apt install git build-essential yasm pkg-config libmp3lame-dev libopus-dev

Download FFmpeg Source Code

Clone the FFmpeg repository:

$ git clone https://git.ffmpeg.org/ffmpeg.git ffmpeg
$ cd ffmpeg

Configure and Compile

Configure and compile FFmpeg:

$ ./configure --enable-gpl --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libopus
$ make
$ sudo make install


You have successfully installed FFmpeg on your Debian 12 system. FFmpeg is now ready for you to use in various multimedia tasks, from simple format conversions to complex video and audio processing. For more detailed information and advanced usage, refer to the official FFmpeg documentation.


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