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FFMPEG Settings That Work For Me On OS X

I have found myself using ffmpeg more and more since the Flash encoder from Adobe CS just doesn’t seem to be optimized to run as fast as it should on Mac OS X even though you do get the On2 encoder – which I feel is slightly better quality. We take a lot of video at the school and the current Whipple Hill media gallery is running in Flash, so getting HD video to .flv is optimal. Also, getting it set to a point where people can just click and start playing the video in a decent speed without having to wait for download speed to catch-up to play speed is key.

FFMPEG is a great tool for this. There are GUI tools that utilize the backend ffmpeg toolset, but I find it easier to just run it in terminal with flags to get where I need to go. Certain video and websites will differ on what will be the best settings per environment, but on Whippe Hill’s Podium Media Gallery, I have been testing quite a bit and is seem to get good results with these flags

ffmpeg -i -b 400kb -qscale 20 movie.flv


ffmpeg -i -b 400kb -qscale 10 -r 15 movie.flv

On the first above example, I am just having ffmpeg take my video to flv with a max data rate of 400kb per second and a quality scale of 20 which is good in the file size vs. quality issue. On the second example, I beefed-up the quality scale (lower the qscale number the better) but offset the filesize gain you generate in asking for higher quality by chopping the framerate from the default in NTSC of 30 down to 15. This seems like a big cut but if you are filming something without a lot of movement, a frame rate of 15-20 instead of the ~30 is not really noticeable. But, your experience may vary.

The qscale setting on ffmpeg is pretty key and you can go low on it to generate higher quality flv video, but the file size balloons which does not make the rapid play when clicked kick-in nicely. So, you are left with high quality video that people will need to wait for. Chopping the framerate does cut into the size you might gain with the qscale increase, but not equally and qscale affects the output file size much more than cutting the frames. In my two examples, the second output would be higher video quality, but less video updates than the first (higher qscale, less frames) but the file size would be higher than the first output.

Hope this helps, it takes time to play with these sorts of tools to get the desired outputs you want. The settings are there, but usually a mix of a few settings and tweaks will have to be done to pinpoint a desirable result.

Nice solution to convert Youtube and FLV to Video file

I have been looking around for a while for a decent converter to allow students and teachers the ability to use content they are able to use on the net but in flash form for their movie projects with iMovie and Final Cut Pro. Also, if teachers have movies hosted on websites they rely on for course material, it is great to be able to capture that for them so they can play that content locally.

MPEG Streamclip is a great tool to do the convert. There are many out there, but most are garbage and/or cost money to find out that they are garbage. This one, on the other hand is very much worth a shot. Mac OS X or Windows applications.

MPEG Streamclip on OS X screenshot

Simple Summary Of Getting A Tree with FUF

Doesn’t get easier than this to get a Friends of the Urban Forest tree in San Francisco. I will be using this as I continue my quest for a planting event in Miraloma Park, SF.



  1. Point to a spot on the sidewalk
  2. Signing the document called “Forms of the Urban Forest” and a check for 75 bucks.


  1. Acquire the permits from the city
  2. Perform utilities checks under your sidewalk
  3. Provide you with a list of arborist approved trees in your microclimate
  4. and a chance to meet and talk with our arborist
  5. Mark where the trees will go
  6. Cut the concrete in front of the house
  7. Show up with a team of volunteers and plant your tree
  8. Supply all the stakes, arbor ties, and watering buckets for your tree
  9. Provide 18 months of arborist-led tree care after the planting.

Get Evocam live feed to publish to iPhone

If you are using Evocam on OSX for a webcam, you can change the Built-in Web Server setting

Display stream using: Server Push

This allows the live web video feed to be accessed via Safari on an iPod Touch or iPhone. Using the Java Applet works just fine on desktop browsers, but due to the lack of iPhone Java support, you have to go this route. Very slick. We use Evocam with an old iSight camera to check in on the dog from time to time and it is great to be able to do this via the iPhone. Evocam is the best webcam product out there on the Mac (nothing even comes close) and very much worth the license charge. 


Galleon for Tivo on Ubuntu Hardy

I had a lot of issues with getting a recent install of Galleon operational on Ubuntu Hardy Heron. I was running Galleon off and on for years on OS X, but seemed like it was time to get it going on Ubuntu.

Not Easy.

It seems they really gear Galleon on the linux-side to be most workable with RedHat / Fedora flavors of linux. I had a multitude of issues getting it operational and if you are trying to get this going, I hope this helps.

1. Disable IPv6. I know, it is the future, but again, we have to disable it to get better performance and/or have something we need just work. In Ubuntu Hardy, you

sudo vi /etc/modprobe.d/aliases


alias net-pf-10 ipv6


alias net-pf-10 off ipv6


sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

or reboot the computer.

2. Download the galleon distribution. Unzip it somewhere, and vi the Makefile to comment out or delete the lines referring to ‘chkconfig’ in the install and uninstall parts. It is a RH deal not a Ubuntu deal.

3. Perform the

sudo make install

4. It should put everything in /usr/share/galleon . Go there and vi galleon in the bin directory and comment out the line towards the top referreing to /init.d/functions. Again, a reference to a RH deal.

5. Then, vi the script in the /usr/share/galleo/bin directory to get rid of the extra stuff and just go with

# Run the Galleon server
/usr/share/galleon/bin/galleon console

After doing the above, things actually started to work for Galleon and Hardy Heron!

Good luck!