How to Install ffmpeg and ffmpeg-php

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In our testing, ffmpeg-php failed to install properly against the newest version of ffmpeg. Since lots of scripts which manipulate video typically use the ffmpeg-php API to accesss ffmpeg functions, we recommend installing the exact versions referrenced in this guide.  If you choose to install a later version of ffmpeg, please be aware you may have difficulties installing ffmpeg-php (if you can at all).

In this guide, we will assume you are running CentOS 5.x. These instructions may work for other distributions as well.  Before you begin ensure you've installed these necessary prerequisite packages using yum:


To start, connect to your server via SSH as root.

Create an executable directory

Create a new executable directory by running these commands:

export TMPDIR=/root/tmp-ffmpeg
mkdir /root/tmp-ffmpeg

Let's create a directory for all of our install files. When we're done we can delete this entire directory to clean things up:

mkdir /root/ffmpeg-install-files/
cd /root/ffmpeg-install-files/

We will begin installing the individual components that ffmpeg needs to operate properly.

Install libogg

Let's start by downloading and installing libogg:

tar -zxf libogg-1.3.0.tar.gz
cd libogg-1.3.0/
./configure --prefix=/usr
make install
cd ..

Install libvorbis

tar -zxf libvorbis-1.3.3.tar.gz
cd libvorbis-1.3.3
./configure --prefix=/usr
make install
cd ..

Install LAME

tar -zxf lame-3.99.5.tar.gz
cd lame-3.99.5
./configure --enable-shared --prefix=/usr
make install
cd ..

Install YASM

tar -zxf yasm-1.2.0.tar.gz
cd yasm-1.2.0
make install
cd ..

Install ffmpeg

We'll now install ffmpeg itself. As noted above, we recommend using the exact version listed here to ensure ffmpeg-php installs properly later on.

tar -zxf ffmpeg-0.6.1.tar.gz
cd ffmpeg-0.6.1
./configure --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libvorbis --enable-shared
make install
cd ..

Verify ffmpeg is properly installed

At this point, you should verify that ffmpeg is working by running ffmpeg from the command line. You should see something similar to this:

[[email protected] ] ffmpeg
FFmpeg version 0.6.1, Copyright (c) 2000-2010 the FFmpeg developers
built on Sep 26 2012 17:11:54 with gcc 4.1.2 20080704 (Red Hat 4.1.2-52)
configuration: --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libvorbis --enable-shared
libavutil     50.15. 1 / 50.15. 1
libavcodec    52.72. 2 / 52.72. 2
libavformat   52.64. 2 / 52.64. 2
libavdevice   52. 2. 0 / 52. 2. 0
libswscale     0.11. 0 /  0.11. 0
Hyper fast Audio and Video encoder
usage: ffmpeg [options] [[infile options] -i infile]... {[outfile options] outfile}...

Use -h to get full help or, even better, run 'man ffmpeg'

If you see an error similar to:

ffmpeg: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

you may need to help ffmpeg locate To do so, we're going to open up our favorite text editor (nano, vim, etc.) and edit this file:


Add in the following line to the bottom:


Save the file and then run:


You should now be able to execute ffmpeg from the command line as shown above and see the version information.

The base ffmpeg component is now installed, but ffmpeg is typically used on websites (like YouTube) for converting user content into the web-friendly flash format. To do this, FLVTool2 must be installed which relies on Ruby for installation.

Install Ruby

tar -zxf ruby-1.9.3-p194.tar.gz
cd ruby-1.9.3-p194
make install
cd ..

Install FLVTool2

With Ruby installed, we can now install FLVTool2.

tar -xzvf flvtool2-1.0.6.tgz
cd flvtool2-1.0.6
ruby setup.rb config
ruby setup.rb setup
ruby setup.rb install
cd ..

Install ffmpeg-php

We now have ffmpeg and its necessary libraries installed. To allow many web scripts to make use of ffmpeg, we'll need to install the ffmpeg-php API.

Download ffmpeg-php

tar -jxf ffmpeg-php-0.6.0.tbz2
cd ffmpeg-php-0.6.0

Correct PIX_FMT_RGBA32

Before we proceed to compile ffmpeg-php, we need to make some adjustments to ffmpeg-php's source code. Within the 0.6.0 version of ffmpeg-php, there are coding errors that must be corrected. In a text editor, open up this file:


Replace all instances of PIX_FMT_RGBA32 with PIX_FMT_RGB32 and save.

We're now going to compile ffmpeg-php.

Installing ffmpeg-php on PHP 5.4

If you are running PHP 5.3.x or below, you can skip this section. If you are attempting to install ffmpeg-php on PHP 5.4, the following changes need to be made. In a text editor, open up this file:


On line 311, change this:

list_entry *le;


zend_rsrc_list_entry *le;

On line 346, change:

list_entry new_le;


zend_rsrc_list_entry new_le;

On line 360, change:

hashkey_length+1, (void *)&new_le, sizeof(list_entry),


hashkey_length+1, (void *)&new_le,sizeof(zend_rsrc_list_entry),

You can now proceed to compile ffmpeg-php.

Compile ffmpeg-php

make install

Immediately after installing ffmpeg-php, you should see a path where it was installed similar to:

Installing shared extensions:   /usr/local/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20060613/

Take note of this path. We're going to need it later when we load the module into your php.ini.

Adding ffmpeg-php to your php.ini

Let's load the module for PHP so that web scripts have access to the ffmpeg-php API. Open up your server's php.ini file. If you're on a cPanel server, it's usually located at:


Within the php.ini locate these lines:

# Directory in which the loadable extensions (modules) reside.
extension_dir = "/usr/local/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20060613"

Usually the extension_dir already matches the path we saved above while compiling. If it's not correct, update it. If you are using any other custom .so modules, you will want to copy them into that folder so that PHP can find them.

Scroll down to the "Dynamic Extensions" section, and add this line:

extension =

Save your php.ini and exit the editor.

Cleaning Up

We can now remove the source and tmp files we used during the installation and clear the TMPDIR variable.

rm -rf /root/ffmpeg-install-files/
rm -rf /root/tmp-ffmpeg/
export TMPDIR=

ffmpeg and ffmpeg-php are now installed and ready for use.