Installing on Ubuntu
Software name : ffmpeg2theora
Homepage : http://v2v.cc/~j/ffmpeg2theora/
Software version used for this installation :0.2
Operating System use for this installation : Ubuntu 7.10
Recommended Hardware : 300MHz CPU
Installing ffmpeg2theora on Ubuntu is pretty straight forward. You first need to know a little about the Synaptic Package Manager, if you already know about it you can skip right to the bottom of the page.
Synaptic Package Manager
The Synaptic Package Manager (SPM) is used for more than just installing software. It can also upgrade your entire operating system, and manage all software installed on your computer. However most people use SPM for just installing new software. Before you embark on this process, there are a few concepts that you may wish to get familiar with. It's not crucial you understand them thoroughly, so just read the explanations and then let it soak in over time. The ideas behind SPM will become clearer with use.
What is a repository?
SPM can automate the installation of software on your computer because it has a direct connection to one or more online software repositories. These repositories are vast archives of programs that have been pre-configured for installation on your operating system. When your computer is online, SPM can connect to these archives, check what software is available for installation, and present you with a list of installable software. All you have to do is select the software from the list that you want. SPM then downloads the software from the repository and takes care of the installation process.
So SPM is actually a repository manager: it manages which repositories (there are many) you wish to access, and which programs to download and install from those repositories.
SPM allows you to choose which repositories it accesses through its settings. The default repositories used by Ubuntu can be extended through the SPM settings so you can access a wider range of programs. Ubuntu calls each repository by a simple name. They are: Main, Universe, Multiverse, Restricted. By default Ubuntu only uses the Main online repository. If you wish to access you the other repositories, you must do this by changing repository settings of SPM.
What is a package?
When SPM downloads a programs for installation, it is in the form known as a 'package'. This means that it is a compressed archive of the program, pre-configured so that it can install nicely on your computer. If the package has been configured nicely (and the Ubuntu project team spends a lot of time making sure this is the case), then many of the headaches that installing software can bring are taken away — it's the aspirin of software installation. One of the biggest issues with installing software on any form of Linux (Ubuntu is one of many types of Linux), is dependencies. Dependencies are all the other packages required by a particular package. If, for example, I want to install an audio editor, that audio editor software may use some functionality of other programs to do its job.
SPM takes the (often) dark art of dependencies away from you, and manages this itself. So if you wish to install a program and it has dependencies (and the list can be long), you don't have to work this out yourself. SPM knows already what is needed, finds it, and installs it along with the software you have chosen.
So, SPM, as well as managing which repositories you access, is also a package management software. Hence the name: Synaptic Package Manager.
You don't really need to know about 'apt', so if you are on the verge of being confused then don't read this short section. If you are a geek wannabe, then read on.
Ubuntu is a form of Linux that has derived from another form of Linux called Debian. This family of Linux has in common (amongst other things) the package/repository management system. Both Ubuntu and Debian use the apt system for managing packages. APT is an acronym for Advanced Package Tool.
SPM is actually a 'front end' (graphical interface) for controlling 'apt'. So SPM is the nice user interface that you see, but the real work is done by 'apt'. There are other ways of managing 'apt', such as the command line interface known as apt-get. In the world of Linux, there are many varieties of Linux users and they have their own ways of doing things. In general it's safe to say most Debian users use apt-get, and most Ubuntu users are happier using SPM.
Configuring Synaptic Package Manager
To install most software on Ubuntu, you need to change the default repository settings of SPM, because many programs are not contained in the default repository. To do this, you need to open the Synaptic Package Manager, which you can do via the System menu. If you haven't changed the default Desktop of Ubuntu, then the System menu can be accessed at the top left of your screen:
If all is good, you are prompted for a password.
Here you must enter your password (the same one you use to log into the system). If you don't know the password, then you have a problem and it's probably caused by the fact that the computer you are using is not yours. In this case you have to find the computer's owners and ask them for the password (which is usually not polite unless you know them well) or ask them to input the password while you look casually in the other direction.
Assuming the password entered is correct, you now see the SPM open in front of you. It may be that you first see the following 'Quick Introduction' (which appears if you haven't used SPM before).
Just click Close and move on.
Let's look at the Synaptic Package Manager interface.
Let's not worry about the details of the interface for now. All we want to do is change the repository settings. To do this, on the Settings menu, click Repositories.
Now we get to where we can do some business. Make sure that all the options are selected:
Now close that window by clicking the big Close button at the bottom right.
Next, you see a warning telling you the repository has changed:
Click the Close button.
Back in the SPM interface, you need to refresh the repositories as the warning suggests. To do this, click Reload:
You then see a status window saying the repositories are being updated and showing the progress.
Choosing ffmpeg2theora to Install
The rest is easy.
Now that you have Synaptic configured you can use it to install ffmpeg2theora. To do this click on the Search button in the Synaptic Package Manager interface. The search button looks something like this :
when you click on this button you see something like this:
Now type in 'ffmpeg2theora' :
Now press 'Search' and in a few moments you should see this:
Now we double click on the little box you can see in the above window which lies to the right of the text 'ffmpeg2theora'. When you do this another pop-up appears:
When you select this option you will see this:
Now you can click on 'Apply':
Now you will be shown a window asking for your confirmation :
Press 'Apply' once again and the installation process starts:
When it is finished you will see a confirmation window:
You can press close, now ffmpeg2theora is ready to use... remember, ffmpeg2theora is a command line application and has no graphic interface.
Basic Encoding settings
The basic format to encode an ogg file on the command line is shown below :
ffmpeg2theora -o video_output.ogg video_source.avi
The '-o' option allows you to specify the output file name.
You can use the '-v' and '-a' parameters to control video and audio quality. The defaults (5 and 2) should be fine for average quality requirements. With '-v 7', we already get very good video quality, but the output file size is roughly double. As far as audio quality is concerned, keep in mind the source quality. Unless your audio input is high quality (audio in directly connected to the conference room sound system), there is no need for high bitrate audio compression ('-a' setting greater than 4).
ffmpeg2theora -v 7 -a 3 -o video_output.ogg video_source.avi
If the output video quality is poor, it could be because your video needs deinterlacing. Interlaced video is very easy to identify. You just need to find a sequence with motion (camcorder or character motion), pause the video and interlaced lines will show up. You can clearly see interlaced lines in this still image :
So, if you source video is interlaced, use the '--deinterlace' parameter of ffmpeg2theora:
ffmpeg2theora --deinterlace -o video.ogg video.dv
Ogg/Theora video with metatags
It's possible and useful to add meta-information. Meta-information is text information about your video, it may include the title, author, location, and license of the ogg video file.
This information can be added thanks to ffmpeg2theora parameters:
ffmpeg2theora -a 3 -v 6 --artist "Mel G" --title "Squat the Lot"
--date "October 1995" --location "Brighton,UK"
--copyright "Copyright 1995, Mel G"
--license "Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5"
-o squat_lot_uk_undercurrents_1995.ogg video_source.avi
Using on Windows
If you are really struggling using the Command line in Windows to run ffmpeg2theora, there is an alternative. There is a front end GUI which has buttons you can click and boxes to tick. It's called Super Encoder the help file is here Create Ogg Theora files in Super. However, if you follow the instructions below you'll be able to access all the tools more efficiently.
To use the Command Line in windows, click on the 'Start' button at the bottom left of your screen and select the 'Run' option.
Then type 'cmd' into the box that appears.
You should the see a black box appear. You are now living on the command line! There is what is called a prompt line with a flashing cursor. The prompt line tells you what directory you are in.
Firstly we need to change directory to the 'c:/ffmpeg2theora' directory. It is presumed that this is the directory that you saved the ffmpeg2theora.exe file to.
To do this you go up a couple of directories by entering the text 'cd ..' and then pressing 'Enter'. Repeat this until the prompt line reads 'C:'
Then change directory to the one where the ffmpeg2theora exe files are. In this case. Enter :
We can then enter commands to encode video files.
To get your source file ready to encode the easiest way to do it is to move it into the 'C:/ffmpeg2theora' directory.
If we imagine the source is called 'source_test.avi' a simple way of creating an ogg file would be to enter the following command:
ffmpeg2theora -o target_test.ogg source_test.dv.
Streaming with ffmpeg2theora
This method focuses on streaming video from a DV or Firewire camera using GNU/Linux (e.g. Ubuntu). The video stream will be Ogg Theora which means your users will be able to watch using Theora enabled player, TheoraCookbook.FireFox 3.5, or in a java applet such as Cortado. To follow this you need to know how to use the command line and you need sudo access. If you have no idea what these things are, then you should consider reading a good book introducing you to the command line.
Please note : A Firewire camera is not the same as a DV camera. However for our purposes here they work in the same way. Firewire is Apple's name for the interface standard known as IEEE 1394, other manufacturers use other names such as i.Link (Sony) or Lynx (Texas Instruments) - but it doesn't matter, they are all IEEE 1394.
You will need the following:
- DV cam
- GNU/Linux machine with firewire inputs
- firewire cable
- internet connection
- access to a 'theora-enabled' Icecast2 server (you need the IP address of the server, the port you should use, and the password)
Lets start setting up the software you need. We will need to install the following applications:
With Ubuntu you can run this command line:
sudo apt-get install dvgrab ffmpeg2theora oggfwd
The above command should all appear on one line. You will be asked for your password, type this in and the installation process will begin. Now you have everything you need to get started. So first we need to plug the dv (or firewire) camera in to the computer. You need to attach the firewire camera to the firewire socket on the camera, and the other end of course goes into the firewire socket of your laptop or whatever computer you are using.
Now, turn on the camera.
Next you need to enter the following command line, which provides the streaming server details you have for the Icecast2 (theora-enabled) server. The command is:
sudo dvgrab --format raw - | ffmpeg2theora -a 0 -v 5 -f dv -x 320 -y 240 -o /dev/stdout - | oggfwd icecastserver 8000 pwd /theora.ogv
Remember the command will have to be all on one line (the above example is not). Also replace the details below with the information you have about your Icecast server:
icecastserver should be replaced with the hostname or IP address of the streaming server. 8000 is the port number and is probably the same. pwd should be replaced by the password of your server. Lastly, you can replace /theora.ogv with your mount point, this depends on the configuration of your icecast server, but can be anything as long as it starts with a forward slash (/) and ends in .ogg or .ogv.
Now, you should be streaming! To check the connection use VLC or Firefox 3.5
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