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PyTranscode Readme

Copyright (C) 2009 Martin P. Buhr ( / twitter: @lonelycode)

PyTranscode is a set of scripts to make handling ffmpeg easier in python, it enables video information extraction, transcoding, presets, splash image extraction (multiple) and state reporting (percentage complete)


  1. What is this?

  2. Hopeful Roadmap

  3. How to use the scripts

  4. License

1. What is this?

A while back I wrote a proof-of-concept webapp that basically replicated what Brightcove and other online video management tools did, and at its heart was a tool to control FFMPEG - one of the best command-line transcoders out there.

Now the webapp never took off (it was never launched, pending a rewrite), but I had started on rewriting the engine that would control the transcoder software.

I’ve since moved my limited attention span to other, shineir things, but thought I would release this piece of rather nifty and handy code to the public to help others who want to do something with video and don;t want to fork out a fortune.

2. Hopeful Roadmap

PyTranscode is hopefully going to be part of something bigger - the vision is to produce a set of django applications which can do the following:

  • A storage engine for local or cloud-based storage

  • A queue manager for scaling, this again would have vairous back-ends for local queue management or something like Amazon Queue Service

  • A transcode server that can be run on multpile machines and be managed via an API OR be run in a mode to interact with the queue service

  • An API wrapper to control the transcode-server for common tasks

3. How to use the scripts

There are five files with PyTranscode, these have the following basic functionsality:

  • Can be used to build a command line to run ffmpeg for various

    settings with input/output

  • Some presets to use with ffmpeg if you can;t be bothered to

    write out the long dictionaries some transcodes require

  • Runner basically allows you to run ffmpeg in a managed way and

    trap the output as well as the percentage complete

  • This will let you pull thumbnails at equal intervals from the

    inpout file and return the filenames

  • video_info: Need to know everything about a video file? This basically parses

    the -i output from ffmpeg to get all the details and present them as a class

Depending on what you need, the documentation on how to use each one is in the header of the file.

If you want to see a test run, there’s the file which should show an easy way to get started with these classes.

4. License

Copyright (C) 2009 Martin P. Buhr ( / twitter: @lonelycode)

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see <>.


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