Compiling FFmpeg on the Raspberry Pi

This tutorial will show you how to compile FFmpeg on your Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi FFmpeg

FFmpeg is an open-source project that consists of a considerable range of libraries.

These libraries are designed to deal with a variety of multimedia formats, whether that be an image, video, or audio format.

One of the best things about FFmpeg is that it can be compiled across a wide variety of devices, including the Raspberry Pi.

Using FFmpeg, you will be able to encode and decode a large variety of video and audio codecs.

Equipment List

Here is a list of the equipment we recommend for this tutorial on compiling FFmpeg on your Raspberry Pi.


Raspberry Pi 1, 2, 3 or 4

Micro SD Card

Power Supply

Ethernet Cord or WiFi dongle (The Pi 3 and 4 has WiFi inbuilt)


Raspberry Pi Case

We tested this guide on a Raspberry Pi 4 running an up to date version of Raspbian Buster.

You can obtain Raspbian Buster from our downloads page or upgrade to it from an older version of Raspbian.

If you are using a newer version of Raspbian and this tutorial fails to work, please leave a comment below.

Installing the Packages Needed for FFmpeg

In this section. we will be preparing your Raspberry Pi by installing all the required libraries for compiling FFmpeg.

1. Before we begin, you should first update both the package list and the installed packages.

To update everything, all you need to do is run the following two commands.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

2. Now we need to install the packages that we need to compile FFmpeg and its additional libraries.

As there are quite a few, the installation process may take some time to complete.

Run the following command to install all of the required packages to your Raspberry Pi.

sudo apt -y install autoconf automake build-essential cmake doxygen git graphviz imagemagick libasound2-dev libass-dev libavcodec-dev libavdevice-dev libavfilter-dev libavformat-dev libavutil-dev libfreetype6-dev libgmp-dev libmp3lame-dev libopencore-amrnb-dev libopencore-amrwb-dev libopus-dev librtmp-dev libsdl2-dev libsdl2-image-dev libsdl2-mixer-dev libsdl2-net-dev libsdl2-ttf-dev libsnappy-dev libsoxr-dev libssh-dev libssl-dev libtool libv4l-dev libva-dev libvdpau-dev libvo-amrwbenc-dev libvorbis-dev libwebp-dev libx264-dev libx265-dev libxcb-shape0-dev libxcb-shm0-dev libxcb-xfixes0-dev libxcb1-dev libxml2-dev lzma-dev meson nasm pkg-config python3-dev python3-pip texinfo wget yasm zlib1g-dev libdrm-dev

Compiling the Additional Libraries on the Raspberry Pi

This section will show you how to compile the additional libraries required by FFmpeg.

1. Before we get started, let’s create a directory where we will store the code for each of these libraries.

mkdir ~/ffmpeg-libraries

Before proceeding, please note that each of the following steps will take some time to complete.

2. The first library that we are going to compile is the Fraunhofer FDK AAC library.

Compiling this library will allow FFmpeg to have support for the AAC sound format.

Run the following command to download and compile the source code to your Raspberry Pi.

git clone --depth 1 ~/ffmpeg-libraries/fdk-aac \
  && cd ~/ffmpeg-libraries/fdk-aac \
  && autoreconf -fiv \
  && ./configure \
  && make -j$(nproc) \
  && sudo make install

3. The next library we are going to compile is the “dav1d” library.

This library will add support for decoding the AV1 video format into FFmpeg. This codec is considered the successor of the VP9 codec and as a competitor to the x265 codec.

Run the following command to compile and install the dav1d” library to your Raspberry Pi.

git clone --depth 1 ~/ffmpeg-libraries/dav1d \
  && mkdir ~/ffmpeg-libraries/dav1d/build \
  && cd ~/ffmpeg-libraries/dav1d/build \
  && meson .. \
  && ninja \
  && sudo ninja install

4. This library that we are going to compile next is an HEVC encoder called “kvazaar“.

Using the following command, you can clone and compile the Kvazaar library on your Raspberry Pi.

git clone --depth 1 ~/ffmpeg-libraries/kvazaar \
  && cd ~/ffmpeg-libraries/kvazaar \
  && ./ \
  && ./configure \
  && make -j$(nproc) \
  && sudo make install

5. We can now compile the library that we need for FFmpeg to be able to support the VP8 and VP9 video codecs on our Raspberry Pi.

This library we are compiling is called LibVPX and is developed by Google.

The following command will clone, configure, and compile the library to our Pi.

git clone --depth 1 ~/ffmpeg-libraries/libvpx \
  && cd ~/ffmpeg-libraries/libvpx \
  && ./configure --disable-examples --disable-tools --disable-unit_tests --disable-docs \
  && make -j$(nproc) \
  && sudo make install

6. We now need to compile the library called “AOM.

This library will allow us to add support for encoding to the AP1 video codec on your Raspberry Pi.

Use the following command to clone and compile the source code on your Pi.

git clone --depth 1 ~/ffmpeg-libraries/aom \
  && mkdir ~/ffmpeg-libraries/aom/aom_build \
  && cd ~/ffmpeg-libraries/aom/aom_build \
  && cmake -G "Unix Makefiles" AOM_SRC -DENABLE_NASM=on -DPYTHON_EXECUTABLE="$(which python3)" -DCMAKE_C_FLAGS="-mfpu=vfp -mfloat-abi=hard" .. \
  && sed -i 's/ENABLE_NEON:BOOL=ON/ENABLE_NEON:BOOL=OFF/' CMakeCache.txt \
  && make -j$(nproc) \
  && sudo make install

7. The final library we need to compile is the zimg” library.

This library implements a range of image processing features, dealing with the basics of scaling, converting colorspace, and depth conversion.

Clone and compile the code on your Raspberry Pi by running the command below.

git clone ~/ffmpeg-libraries/zimg \
  && cd ~/ffmpeg-libraries/zimg \
  && sh \
  && ./configure \
  && make \
  && sudo make install

Compiling FFmpeg on your Raspberry Pi

In this section, we will show you how to put everything together and finally compile FFmpeg.

1. We can finally compile FFmpeg on our Raspberry Pi.

During the compilation, we will be enabling all the extra libraries that we compiled and installed in the previous two sections.

We will also be enabling features that help with the Raspberry Pi, such as omx-rpi.

Run the following command to compile everything. This command is reasonably large, as there is a considerable amount of features that we need to enable.

git clone --depth 1 ~/FFmpeg \
  && cd ~/FFmpeg \
  && ./configure \
    --extra-cflags="-I/usr/local/include" \
    --extra-ldflags="-L/usr/local/lib" \
    --extra-libs="-lpthread -lm" \
    --arch=armel \
    --enable-gmp \
    --enable-gpl \
    --enable-libaom \
    --enable-libass \
    --enable-libdav1d \
    --enable-libdrm \
    --enable-libfdk-aac \
    --enable-libfreetype \
    --enable-libkvazaar \
    --enable-libmp3lame \
    --enable-libopencore-amrnb \
    --enable-libopencore-amrwb \
    --enable-libopus \
    --enable-librtmp \
    --enable-libsnappy \
    --enable-libsoxr \
    --enable-libssh \
    --enable-libvorbis \
    --enable-libvpx \
    --enable-libzimg \
    --enable-libwebp \
    --enable-libx264 \
    --enable-libx265 \
    --enable-libxml2 \
    --enable-mmal \
    --enable-nonfree \
    --enable-omx \
    --enable-omx-rpi \
    --enable-version3 \
    --target-os=linux \
    --enable-pthreads \
    --enable-openssl \
    --enable-hardcoded-tables \
  && make -j$(nproc) \
  && sudo make install

2. Compiling FFmpeg can take significant time on the Raspberry Pi, so be patient.

At this point in the guide, you should now have FFmpeg successfully compiled on your Raspberry Pi.

If you have run into any issues with compiling the software, feel free to drop a comment below.

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