The %ffmpeg encoder should support all the options for ffmpeg’s muxers and encoders, including private configuration options. Configuration value are passed as key/values, with values being of types: string, int, or float. If an option is not recognized (or: unused), it will raise an error during the instantiation of the encoder. Here are some configuration examples:

  • AAC encoding at 22050kHz using fdk-aac encoder and mpegts muxer
%ffmpeg(format="mpegts",
  %audio(codec="libfdk_aac",samplerate=22050,b="32k",
         afterburner=1,profile="aac_he_v2"))
  • Mp3 encoding using libshine at 48000kHz
%ffmpeg(format="mp3",%audio(codec="libshine",samplerate=48000))
  • AC3 audio and H264 video encapsulated in a MPEG-TS stream
%ffmpeg(format="mpegts",
  %audio(codec="ac3",channel_coupling=0),
  %video(codec="libx264",b="2600k",
         "x264-params"="scenecut=0:open_gop=0:min-keyint=150:keyint=150",
         preset="ultrafast"))
  • AC3 audio and H264 video encapsulated in a MPEG-TS stream using ffmpeg raw frames
%ffmpeg(format="mpegts",
  %audio.raw(codec="ac3",channel_coupling=0),
  %video.raw(codec="libx264",b="2600k",
             "x264-params"="scenecut=0:open_gop=0:min-keyint=150:keyint=150",
             preset="ultrafast"))
  • Mp3 encoding using libmp3lame and video copy
%ffmpeg(format="mp3",
  %audio(codec="libmp3lame"),
  %video.copy)

The full syntax is as follows:

%ffmpeg(format=<format>,
  # Audio section
  %audio(codec=<codec>,<option_name>=<option_value>,..),
  # Or:
  %audio.raw(codec=<codec>,<option_name>=<option_value>,..),
  # Or:
  %audio.copy(<option>),
  # Video section
  %video(codec=<codec>,<option_name>=<option_value>,..),
  # Or:
  %video.raw(codec=<codec>,<option_name>=<option_value>,..),
  # Or:
  %video.copy(<option>),
  # Generic options
  <option_name>=<option_value>,..
)

Where:

  • <format> is either a string value (e.g. "mpegts"), as returned by the ffmpeg -formats command or none. When set to none or simply no specified, the encoder will try to auto-detect it.

  • <codec> is a string value (e.g. "libmp3lame"), as returned by the ffmpeg -codecs command.

  • <option_name> can be any syntactically valid variable name or string. Strings are typically used when the option name is of the form: foo-bar.

  • %audio(..) is for options specific to the audio codec. Unused options will raise an exception. Any option supported by ffmpeg can be passed here. Streams encoded using %audio are using liquidsoap internal frame format and are fully handled on the liquidsoap side.

  • %audio.raw(..) behaves like %audio except that the audio data is kept as ffmpeg’s internal format. This can avoid data copy and is also the format required to use ffmpeg filters..

  • %audio.copy copies data without decoding or encoding it. This is great to avoid using the CPU but, in this case, the data cannot be processed through operators that modify it such as fade.{in,out} aor smart_cross. Also, all stream must agree on the same data format.

  • %video(..) is for options specific to the video codec. Unused options will raise an exception. Any option supported by ffmpeg can be passed here.

  • %video.raw and %video.copy have the same meaning as their %audio counterpart.

  • Generic options are passed to audio, video and format (container) setup. Unused options will raise an exception. Any option supported by ffmpeg can be passed here.

The %ffmpeg encoder is the prime encoder for HLS output as it is the only one of our collection of encoder which can produce Mpeg-ts muxed data, which is required by most HLS clients.

Some encoding formats, for instance mp4 require to rewing their stream and write a header after the fact, when encoding of the current track has finished. For historical reasons, such formats cannot be used with output.file. To remedy that, we have introduced the output.url operator. When using this operator, the encoder is fully in charge of the output file and can thus write headers after the fact. The %ffmpeg encoder is one such encoder that can be used with this operator.

The %audio.copy and %video.copy encoders have two mutually exclusive options to handle keyframes:

  • %audio.copy(wait_for_keyframe) and %video.copy(wait_for_keyframe): Wait until at least one keyframe has been passed to start passing encoded packets from a new stream.
  • %audio.copy(ignore_keyframe) and %video.copy(ignore_keyframe): Ignore all keyframes.

These options are useful when switching from one encoded stream to the next.

With option wait_for_keyframe, the encoder discards any new packet at the beginning of a stream until a keyframe is passed. This means that playback will be paused until it can be resumed properly with no decoding glitches. This option is implemented globally when possible, i.e. in case of a video track with keyframes and an audio track with no keyframes, the audio track will discard packets until a video keyframe has been passed. This is the default option.

With option ignore_keyframe, the encoder starts passing encoded data right away. Content is immediately added but playback might get stuck until a new keyframe is passed.

It is worth noting that some audio encoders may also have keyframes.