Version 22 (modified by slhck, 6 years ago) (diff)

note that Homebrew ships 2.x versions with --devel only

Compiling on Mac OS X is as easy as any other *nix machine, there are just a few caveats. The general procedure is ./configure <flags>; make && sudo make install, but some use a different configuration scheme, or none at all. You can also install the latest stable version of FFmpeg without the need to compile it yourself, which saves you a bit of time. Just follow this guide.

Prerequisites and Dependencies


Starting with Lion 10.7, Xcode is available for free from the Mac App Store and is required to compile anything on your Mac. Make sure you install the Command Line Tools from Preferences > Downloads > Components. Older versions are still available with an AppleID and free Developer account at


To get FFmpeg for OS X, you first have to install Homebrew.

ruby <(curl -fsSkL

Shortcut: Compile FFmpeg through Homebrew

If you want to use Homebrew for compiling, you can simply run

brew install ffmpeg

to get the latest stable 1.x version. Call brew install ffmpeg --devel to install the latest 2.x version. These versions are packaged as Homebrew formulae and will take care of all the dependencies and the installation itself. If you don't know how to configure and compile a binary, you will find using Homebrew much easier. If instead you want to manually compile the latest Git version of FFmpeg, just continue with this guide.

You can run brew info ffmpeg to see additional configuration options, e.g. in order to enable libfdk_aac or libvpx.

Remaining Dependencies

First, we need to install a few dependencies.

brew install automake celt faac fdk-aac git lame libass libtool libvorbis libvpx \
libvo-aacenc opencore-amr openjpeg opus sdl schroedinger shtool speex texi2html \
theora wget x264 xvid yasm

Install libaacplus (at the moment, there is no Homebrew formula for it):

tar xzf libaacplus-2.0.2.tar.gz
cd libaacplus-2.0.2
# libtool on osx is quite different from the gnu libtool, which is called glibtool on osx
sed -i '.bck' -e 's/libtool/glibtool/'
make && make install
cd ..

The new version of autoconf requires that you replace AM_CONFIG_HEADER in at line 8 with AC_CONFIG_HEADERS. If you don't make this change you will see the following error message in the terminal: error: 'AM_CONFIG_HEADER': this macro is obsolete.
    You should use the 'AC_CONFIG_HEADERS' macro instead.

Mac OS X Lion comes with Freetype already installed (older versions may need 'X11' selected during installation), but in an atypical location: /usr/X11. Running freetype-config in Terminal can give the locations of the individual folders, like headers, and libraries, so be prepared to add lines like CFLAGS=`freetype-config --cflags` LDFLAGS=`freetype-config --libs` PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$PKG_CONFIG_PATH:/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/X11/lib/pkgconfig before ./configure or add them to your $HOME/.profile file.

Compile FFmpeg

Once you have compiled all of the codecs/libraries you want, you can now download the FFmpeg source either with Git or the from release tarball links on the website. Study the output of ./configure --help and make sure you've enabled all the features you want, remembering that --enable-nonfree and --enable-gpl will be necessary for some of the dependencies above. A sample command is:

git clone git:// ffmpeg
cd ffmpeg
./configure --enable-gpl --enable-version3 --enable-nonfree --enable-postproc --enable-libaacplus \
--enable-libass --enable-libcelt --enable-libfaac --enable-libfdk-aac --enable-libfreetype --enable-libmp3lame \
--enable-libopencore-amrnb --enable-libopencore-amrwb --enable-libopenjpeg --enable-openssl \
--enable-libopus --enable-libschroedinger --enable-libspeex --enable-libtheora --enable-libvo-aacenc \
--enable-libvorbis --enable-libvpx --enable-libx264 --enable-libxvid --prefix=/usr/local
make && make install

Finally install qt-faststart. This is a useful tool if you're showing your H.264 MP4 videos on the web. It relocates the MOOV atom in the video to allow playback to begin before the file is completely downloaded. When converting files with ffmpeg you can use -movflags faststart to have the same effect.

make tools/qt-faststart

You can use it like this:

qt-faststart input.mp4 output.mp4

Manual install of the dependencies without Homebrew

Pkg-config & GLib

Pkg-config is necessary for detecting some of the libraries you can compile into FFmpeg, and it requires GLib which is not included in Mac OS X (but almost every other *nix distribution). You may either download pkg-config 0.23, or download the large tarball from and compile it. Pkg-config is available from

To compile GLib, you must also download gettext from and edit the file stpncpy.c to add "#undef stpncpy" just before "#ifndef weak_alias". Lion has its own (incompatible) version of the stpncpy function, which overlaps in gettext. Compile gettext as usual. Compile GLib with LIBFFI_CFLAGS=-I/usr/include/ffi LIBFFI_LIBS=-lffi ./configure;make && sudo make install

To compile pkg-config, run GLIB_CFLAGS="-I/usr/local/include/glib-2.0 -I/usr/local/lib/glib-2.0/include" GLIB_LIBS="-lglib-2.0 -lgio-2.0" ./configure --with-pc-path="/usr/X11/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/X11/share/pkgconfig:/usr/lib/pkgconfig:/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig"


Yasm is available from and is necessary for compiling C code that contains machine-independent Assembler code. To compile, run ./configure --enable-python; make && sudo make install

Additional libraries

These are just some examples. Run .configure --help for all available options.

  • FAAC (AAC) is available at Enabling support in ffmpeg requires the --enable-libfaac --enable-nonfree configure options.
  • Lame (MP3) is available at, and adds MP3 encoding to FFmpeg. Enabling support in ffmpeg requires --enable-libmp3lame.
  • Libass (Subtitle) is available at In order to compile with --enable-libass you need Freetype installed.
  • OpenJPEG (Jpeg 2000) is available at . Compile with --enable-libopenjpeg.
  • Schroedinger, which adds Dirac codec support, is available from To compile schroedinger, you need ORC, available from Compile orc with the standard procedure, making sure you delete the "testsuite" folder, which won't compile. When compiling schroedinger, make sure pkg-config and yasm are already installed.
  • Speex is available at Compile with --enable-libspeex.
  • Theora, Ogg and Vorbis are available at Compile with --enable-libtheora.
  • VPX is available at Compile with --enable-libvpx.
  • x264 is available at FFmpeg depends on x264 when compiled with --enable-libx264 and x264 depends on FFmpeg when compiled with --enable-lavf-input. The best way to handle it is to install x264 first without --enable-lavf-input, then compile FFmpeg with --enable-libx264 and finally compile x264 again with --enable-lavf-input.
  • XviD is available from Compile with --enable-libxvid.