Understanding how to use FFmpeg on macOS

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Understanding how to use FFmpeg on macOS

Tangier Clarke
Hello folks.

I am using a software on the Mac called LTC Convert (the Catalina version) that relies on FFmpeg.  Lately, Quicktime clips that have been compatible in the pre Catalina version of the app are no longer working for a timecode rewrite.  I believe this has to be due to FFmpeg. I am trying to isolate if I have installed it incorrectly or if there’s something I am not doing correctly.  The video files are ones that FFmpeg supports I believe.  The message I get is No compatible Quicktime files in this batch.  The app also relies on ffpbobe

Here’s what I’ve done.  The Quicktime movies are AVCHD clips from a Canon C100, rewrapped into .mov files by EditReady.  They are H.264 with linear PCM audio and 192-x1080.
Please see if you notice anything that may be suspect:

Downloaded this file ffmpeg-20200315-c467328-macos64-static
Move the folder to my Applications folder
Pointed the application to my installation of FFmpeg located in a bin folder (with ffplay and ffprobe) and the app confirmed this is OK with a success dialogue message.
Import Quicktime mov clips into the app and attempt to alter the timecode, but this yields  this message: No compatible Quicktime files in this batch.

Did FFmpeg remove compatibility for this format?
Are there other libraries or things I need?
I tried a shares installation version before with no luck.
I’ve tried an install from Zeranoe and home-brew as well.

Thanks.

Tangier




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Re: Understanding how to use FFmpeg on macOS

Jim DeLaHunt-2
On 2020-03-20 14:26, Tangier Clarke wrote:

> Hello folks.
>
> I am using a software on the Mac called LTC Convert (the Catalina version) that relies on FFmpeg.  Lately, Quicktime clips that have been compatible in the pre Catalina version of the app are no longer working for a timecode rewrite.  I believe this has to be due to FFmpeg. I am trying to isolate if I have installed it incorrectly or if there’s something I am not doing correctly.  The video files are ones that FFmpeg supports I believe.  The message I get is No compatible Quicktime files in this batch.  The app also relies on ffpbobe
>
> Here’s what I’ve done.  The Quicktime movies are AVCHD clips from a Canon C100, rewrapped into .mov files by EditReady.  They are H.264 with linear PCM audio and 192-x1080.
> Please see if you notice anything that may be suspect:
>
> Downloaded this file ffmpeg-20200315-c467328-macos64-static
> Move the folder to my Applications folder
> Pointed the application to my installation of FFmpeg located in a bin folder (with ffplay and ffprobe) and the app confirmed this is OK with a success dialogue message.
> Import Quicktime mov clips into the app and attempt to alter the timecode, but this yields  this message: No compatible Quicktime files in this batch.
>
> Did FFmpeg remove compatibility for this format?
> Are there other libraries or things I need?
> I tried a shares installation version before with no luck.
> I’ve tried an install from Zeranoe and home-brew as well.
>
> Thanks.
>
> Tangier
>
Hello, Tangier:

I can sympathise. It's frustrating to have a system which used to work
and stops working. Let me see if I can help you take your diagnosis a
step further.

It looks like you are using LTC Convert which in turn uses ffmpeg and
ffprobe. This combination has stopped working right for you. The next
trick is to figure out what changed to make this stop working: LTC
Convert, or ffmpeg/ffprobe, or something about your input files.

You will rapidly discover that people on this list only wants to support
problems which involve ffmpeg or ffprobe in isolation. They will want
you to run a these apps on a command line, then post the command line
plust the complete, uncut command line output to this list.  You are
unlikely to get help with LTC Convert.

Since LTC Convert is what uses ffmpeg, have you tried bringing this
problem up with the support for LTC Convert? What was their response? 
Did they help you isolate the problem to ffmpeg/ffprobe behaviour?  Did
they help you craft a command line invocation which demonstrates the
problem?

When you "Downloaded this file ffmpeg-20200315-c467328-macos64-static",
from where did you download it?  That filename structure looks different
from the filenames linked to from <http://ffmpeg.org/download.html>.
This page links to a Mac-specific page, /static FFmpeg binaries for
macOS 64-bit/, <https://evermeet.cx/ffmpeg/>. The filename I see look
like, *ffmpeg-96999-g1e3d4fa0fb.7z* or *ffmpeg-96999-g1e3d4fa0fb.7z* .
This list will be more helpful if you can reproduce your bug with the
current snapshot of ffmpeg downloaded from this project's own servers.

I'm not an official with the FFmpeg project or anything, but in my
experience the tool doesn't often remove support for currently-used
formats. If something stopped working, "ffmpeg withdrew support" is an
unlikely cause. "Command line uses wrong options" or "File format is
different than I expected" are more likely, with "bug in ffmpeg" some
ways behind that.

I hope this is helpful. Best regards,
     —Jim DeLaHunt, software engineer, Vancouver, Canada


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Re: Understanding how to use FFmpeg on macOS

Tangier Clarke
Hello Jim.  I’ll answer you questions or confirm your responses in order.

Yes, I am trying to isolate where the problem is because the type of video files I am using, I have been using for a long time, with the same workflow.
I am not sure that FFprobe was used in the pre Catalina version of LTC Convert.  I only say that because I have bee speaking with the developer at length by email (providing me with debug versions of the app) and he’s mentioned that ffprobe was required in the most recent build he gave me…version 6.04 didn’t require it, but 6.05 did.  Then there are shared and static FFmpeg versions; one self contained on the mac, the other containing libraries, a bin folder, and other files.
To be more specific by the way: The feature I am using is LTC Convert’s ability to take a provided Quicktime movie, scan it for Linear Time Code (LTC), and alter the timecode of the Quicktime file using the LTC.  This is used to sync with audio files from a device the provided the master LTC to the cameras.
I have been working with the developer and the response is that some files work and some don’t.  Yet I can’t possibly understand (if this is the case) why FFmpeg would remove support for AVC or H.264 video files even when wrapped as an .mov.
LTC Convert requires that it is passed a Quicktime file. I do not alter the underlying structure of the initial video file embedded in an .mts stream.  It is simply rewrapped in an .mov.  Again, I’ve been doing this for a few years with previous versions.
In previous versions though, I do not recall having to separately install FFmpeg or FFprobe.  Only the app itself.
I downloaded from Zeranoe because my communications with the developer showed me that this is the version he used or at least suggested.  I initially got my installations from https://www.ffmpeg.org <https://www.ffmpeg.org/>   I am not sure of the difference between the two.
I sent two sample clips to the developer to test because I got different results for these two Quicktime movies yet they’re the same format. I haven’t heard back yet.
The app instructions for installing FFmpeg are in the manual.  Here the are verbatim below:
I do not understand what could be causing these Quicktime movies to fail the compatibility test before the app altering the timecode.

4.3 Get FFmpeg!

You need to have FFmpeg and FFprobe installed.
If you don't have it, the application will ask you where FFmpeg is, and assume FFprobe is in the same folder. (You can also specify a different binary than default, if you want to.)

If unsure, get a (static!) binary from here:

https://ffmpeg.zeranoe.com/builds/

Unzip the file, and go into the BIN folder.
There you'll find FFmpeg and FFprobe. (Or FFmpeg.exe / FFprobe.exe)
On Mac, drag that to your Applications folder.
On Win, put it 'somewhere', run LTCconvert, and point it to where FFmpeg lives.

If the the application can't find FFmpeg:

Under the 'Setup' menu, you'll find 'Pick FFmpeg' at the bottom. Use that to point LTCconvert to the version of FFmpeg you want to use. Again, it assumes FFprobe is in the same folder, so make sure it is!


Thanks for the help.

Tangier


> On Mar 20, 2020, at 4:39 PM, Jim DeLaHunt <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 2020-03-20 14:26, Tangier Clarke wrote:
>> Hello folks.
>>
>> I am using a software on the Mac called LTC Convert (the Catalina version) that relies on FFmpeg.  Lately, Quicktime clips that have been compatible in the pre Catalina version of the app are no longer working for a timecode rewrite.  I believe this has to be due to FFmpeg. I am trying to isolate if I have installed it incorrectly or if there’s something I am not doing correctly.  The video files are ones that FFmpeg supports I believe.  The message I get is No compatible Quicktime files in this batch.  The app also relies on ffpbobe
>>
>> Here’s what I’ve done.  The Quicktime movies are AVCHD clips from a Canon C100, rewrapped into .mov files by EditReady.  They are H.264 with linear PCM audio and 192-x1080.
>> Please see if you notice anything that may be suspect:
>>
>> Downloaded this file ffmpeg-20200315-c467328-macos64-static
>> Move the folder to my Applications folder
>> Pointed the application to my installation of FFmpeg located in a bin folder (with ffplay and ffprobe) and the app confirmed this is OK with a success dialogue message.
>> Import Quicktime mov clips into the app and attempt to alter the timecode, but this yields  this message: No compatible Quicktime files in this batch.
>>
>> Did FFmpeg remove compatibility for this format?
>> Are there other libraries or things I need?
>> I tried a shares installation version before with no luck.
>> I’ve tried an install from Zeranoe and home-brew as well.
>>
>> Thanks.
>>
>> Tangier
>>
> Hello, Tangier:
>
> I can sympathise. It's frustrating to have a system which used to work and stops working. Let me see if I can help you take your diagnosis a step further.
>
> It looks like you are using LTC Convert which in turn uses ffmpeg and ffprobe. This combination has stopped working right for you. The next trick is to figure out what changed to make this stop working: LTC Convert, or ffmpeg/ffprobe, or something about your input files.
>
> You will rapidly discover that people on this list only wants to support problems which involve ffmpeg or ffprobe in isolation. They will want you to run a these apps on a command line, then post the command line plust the complete, uncut command line output to this list.  You are unlikely to get help with LTC Convert.
>
> Since LTC Convert is what uses ffmpeg, have you tried bringing this problem up with the support for LTC Convert? What was their response?  Did they help you isolate the problem to ffmpeg/ffprobe behaviour?  Did they help you craft a command line invocation which demonstrates the problem?
>
> When you "Downloaded this file ffmpeg-20200315-c467328-macos64-static", from where did you download it?  That filename structure looks different from the filenames linked to from <http://ffmpeg.org/download.html>. This page links to a Mac-specific page, /static FFmpeg binaries for macOS 64-bit/, <https://evermeet.cx/ffmpeg/>. The filename I see look like, *ffmpeg-96999-g1e3d4fa0fb.7z* or *ffmpeg-96999-g1e3d4fa0fb.7z* . This list will be more helpful if you can reproduce your bug with the current snapshot of ffmpeg downloaded from this project's own servers.
>
> I'm not an official with the FFmpeg project or anything, but in my experience the tool doesn't often remove support for currently-used formats. If something stopped working, "ffmpeg withdrew support" is an unlikely cause. "Command line uses wrong options" or "File format is different than I expected" are more likely, with "bug in ffmpeg" some ways behind that.
>
> I hope this is helpful. Best regards,
>     —Jim DeLaHunt, software engineer, Vancouver, Canada
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> ffmpeg-user mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://ffmpeg.org/mailman/listinfo/ffmpeg-user
>
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> [hidden email] with subject "unsubscribe".

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Re: Understanding how to use FFmpeg on macOS

Jim DeLaHunt-2

On 2020-03-20 17:14, Tangier Clarke wrote:
> Hello Jim.  I’ll answer you questions or confirm your responses in order.
...[snip]...

> Thanks for the help.
>
> Tangier
>
>
>> On Mar 20, 2020, at 4:39 PM, Jim DeLaHunt <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> On 2020-03-20 14:26, Tangier Clarke wrote:
>>> Hello folks.
>>>
>>> ...[snip]...
>>> Thanks.
>>>
>>> Tangier
>>>
>> Hello, Tangier:
>>
>> I can sympathise. It's frustrating to have a system which used to work and stops working. Let me see if I can help you take your diagnosis a step further.
>> ...[snip]...
>> I hope this is helpful. Best regards,
>>      —Jim DeLaHunt, software engineer, Vancouver, Canada

Tangier:

Before we go any further, a bit of etiquette that some people on this
list feel strongly about. People will ask you to "bottom-post". Your
reply above was "top-posting". What is "top-posting"? It is putting your
reply above the message you quote. Instead, put your reply below what
you quote, and cut the quotes down to just the essentials. What I do in
this message is "bottom-posting".

For more on "top-posting", see
<https://ffmpeg.org/mailing-list-faq.html#What-is-top_002dposting_003f-1>.
For more on this list, see <https://ffmpeg.org/mailing-list-faq.html>.

More on the substance of your follow-up in a separate reply.

Best regards,
     —Jim DeLaHunt, software engineer, Vancouver, Canada


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Re: Understanding how to use FFmpeg on macOS

Jim DeLaHunt-2
In reply to this post by Tangier Clarke
On 2020-03-20 17:14, Tangier Clarke wrote:

…[snip]…

> I sent two sample clips to the developer to test because I got different results for these two Quicktime movies yet they’re the same format. I haven’t heard back yet.

That's a promising avenue. The LTC Convert developer knows what they are
asking FFmpeg for. On this list, and absent an invocation of ffmpeg, we
do not.

You obviously have a detailed understanding of the file formats you are
using, and of what you want LTC Convert to do for you. Unfortunately,
that's not much help in the context of understanding what you want
FFmpeg to (indirectly) do for you.

I suggest that you ask the LTC Convert developer to give you the exact
command line invocation and parameters which LTC Convert uses when
calling ffmpeg for your sample videos. This invocation might be in an
LTC Convert log file somewhere. Then try that yourself, calling ffmpeg
directly. That will be a starting point for quizzing the expertise on
this list.

> If unsure, get a (static!) binary from here:
>
> https://ffmpeg.zeranoe.com/builds/
…[snip]…
> I downloaded from Zeranoe because my communications with the developer showed me that this is the version he used or at least suggested.  I initially got my installations from https://www.ffmpeg.org <https://www.ffmpeg.org/>   I am not sure of the difference between the two.

<https://www.ffmpeg.org/> is the official website of the FFmpeg project.
Downloads from there are as trustworthy as this project gets.

I said,

>> On Mar 20, 2020, at 4:39 PM, Jim DeLaHunt <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> …[snip]…
>> When you "Downloaded this file ffmpeg-20200315-c467328-macos64-static", from where did you download it?  That filename structure looks different from the filenames linked to from <http://ffmpeg.org/download.html>. This page links to a Mac-specific page, /static FFmpeg binaries for macOS 64-bit/, <https://evermeet.cx/ffmpeg/>. The filename I see look like, *ffmpeg-96999-g1e3d4fa0fb.7z* or *ffmpeg-96999-g1e3d4fa0fb.7z* . This list will be more helpful if you can reproduce your bug with the current snapshot of ffmpeg downloaded from this project's own servers.

You have prompted me to look more closely.  If you click on the "macOS"
logo on FFmeg.org's download page, there are in fact two links there:

 1. Static builds for macOS 64-bit <https://evermeet.cx/ffmpeg/>
 2. Static and shared builds for macOS 64-bit
    <https://ffmpeg.zeranoe.com/builds/>

So, the source LTC Convert pointed you to seems pretty official. I don't
know whether these two distribution sites are different in any
substantive way. They do seem to have file naming differences.

Thank you for helping me learn something new about the FFmpeg project's
distribution.

And, when you have a command-line invocation from the LTC Convert folks,
give it a try! Then come here with the invocation and the complete,
uncut log of execution.

Best regards,
     —Jim DeLaHunt, software engineer, Vancouver, Canada

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Re: Understanding how to use FFmpeg on macOS

Gabriele Greco
That's a promising avenue. The LTC Convert developer knows what they are
> asking FFmpeg for. On this list, and absent an invocation of ffmpeg, we
> do not.
>

I'm not sure this is the issue, but it's possibile the issue is not in
ffmpeg or LTC Convert, but it's related to catalina restrictions on signed
binaries.

Specifically I'm quite sure that a signed program (like LTC Convert
probably is) cannot call an external unsigned program (like probably the
nightly build ffmpeg builds are).

If this is the case the LTC Convert developer will have to provide ffmpeg
binaries signed within the LTC Convert app bundle.

---
Bye,
  Gabry

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Re: Understanding how to use FFmpeg on macOS

Tangier Clarke
In reply to this post by Jim DeLaHunt-2
> That's a promising avenue. The LTC Convert developer knows what they are asking FFmpeg for. On this list, and absent an invocation of ffmpeg, we do not.
>
> You obviously have a detailed understanding of the file formats you are using, and of what you want LTC Convert to do for you. Unfortunately, that's not much help in the context of understanding what you want FFmpeg to (indirectly) do for you.
>
> I suggest that you ask the LTC Convert developer to give you the exact command line invocation and parameters which LTC Convert uses when calling ffmpeg for your sample videos. This invocation might be in an LTC Convert log file somewhere. Then try that yourself, calling ffmpeg directly. That will be a starting point for quizzing the expertise on this list.

Jim I got all of your emails and am reviewing them.  One person, Gabry, sent something interesting about potential Catalina restrictions on signed binaries.  I’ve also informed the developer about this.

Tangier

> On Mar 20, 2020, at 6:41 PM, Jim DeLaHunt <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On 2020-03-20 17:14, Tangier Clarke wrote:
>
> …[snip]…
>
>> I sent two sample clips to the developer to test because I got different results for these two Quicktime movies yet they’re the same format. I haven’t heard back yet.
>
> That's a promising avenue. The LTC Convert developer knows what they are asking FFmpeg for. On this list, and absent an invocation of ffmpeg, we do not.
>
> You obviously have a detailed understanding of the file formats you are using, and of what you want LTC Convert to do for you. Unfortunately, that's not much help in the context of understanding what you want FFmpeg to (indirectly) do for you.
>
> I suggest that you ask the LTC Convert developer to give you the exact command line invocation and parameters which LTC Convert uses when calling ffmpeg for your sample videos. This invocation might be in an LTC Convert log file somewhere. Then try that yourself, calling ffmpeg directly. That will be a starting point for quizzing the expertise on this list.
>
>> If unsure, get a (static!) binary from here:
>>
>> https://ffmpeg.zeranoe.com/builds/
> …[snip]…
>> I downloaded from Zeranoe because my communications with the developer showed me that this is the version he used or at least suggested.  I initially got my installations from https://www.ffmpeg.org <https://www.ffmpeg.org/>   I am not sure of the difference between the two.
>
> <https://www.ffmpeg.org/> is the official website of the FFmpeg project. Downloads from there are as trustworthy as this project gets.
>
> I said,
>
>>> On Mar 20, 2020, at 4:39 PM, Jim DeLaHunt <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> …[snip]…
>>> When you "Downloaded this file ffmpeg-20200315-c467328-macos64-static", from where did you download it?  That filename structure looks different from the filenames linked to from <http://ffmpeg.org/download.html>. This page links to a Mac-specific page, /static FFmpeg binaries for macOS 64-bit/, <https://evermeet.cx/ffmpeg/>. The filename I see look like, *ffmpeg-96999-g1e3d4fa0fb.7z* or *ffmpeg-96999-g1e3d4fa0fb.7z* . This list will be more helpful if you can reproduce your bug with the current snapshot of ffmpeg downloaded from this project's own servers.
>
> You have prompted me to look more closely.  If you click on the "macOS" logo on FFmeg.org's download page, there are in fact two links there:
>
> 1. Static builds for macOS 64-bit <https://evermeet.cx/ffmpeg/>
> 2. Static and shared builds for macOS 64-bit
>   <https://ffmpeg.zeranoe.com/builds/>
>
> So, the source LTC Convert pointed you to seems pretty official. I don't know whether these two distribution sites are different in any substantive way. They do seem to have file naming differences.
>
> Thank you for helping me learn something new about the FFmpeg project's distribution.
>
> And, when you have a command-line invocation from the LTC Convert folks, give it a try! Then come here with the invocation and the complete, uncut log of execution.
>
> Best regards,
>     —Jim DeLaHunt, software engineer, Vancouver, Canada
>
> _______________________________________________
> ffmpeg-user mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://ffmpeg.org/mailman/listinfo/ffmpeg-user
>
> To unsubscribe, visit link above, or email
> [hidden email] with subject "unsubscribe".

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Re: Understanding how to use FFmpeg on macOS

kumowoon1025
Hi,

You don’t need binaries to be signed to run on Catalina. If you can run ffmpeg manually other programs probably will be able to as well. If apps have hardened runtime enabled (which is to say all notarized apps) then Gabry is right, usually they can’t use anything other than stuff included in the app and system libraries, but an app that asks for an external library location presumably has the entitlement granting them that exception.

As far as support, the quicktime framework has been deprecated on macOS and is unavailable in Catalina. The replacement is AVFoundtion which dropped support for a lot of features in the format, including some that are still in use (basically any function/codec not available 64bit). How did you convert the mts to a mov? I am pretty sure you have to change the underlying structure of the video to convert from one to the other.

Regards,
Ted Park

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Re: Understanding how to use FFmpeg on macOS

Bouke / VideoToolShed


> On 23 Mar 2020, at 11:29, Ted Park <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Hi,

Hi all, since I’m the developer, (btw, @ Ted, this is the project you’ve helped me on with audio patchting), let me comment.
>
> You don’t need binaries to be signed to run on Catalina. If you can run ffmpeg manually other programs probably will be able to as well. If apps have hardened runtime enabled (which is to say all notarized apps) then Gabry is right, usually they can’t use anything other than stuff included in the app and system libraries, but an app that asks for an external library location presumably has the entitlement granting them that exception.

What I do is xatrr -dr com.apple.quarantine (ffpath), and that seems to work just fine.
(And yes, my app is notarised.)


> As far as support, the quicktime framework has been deprecated on macOS and is unavailable in Catalina. The replacement is AVFoundtion which dropped support for a lot of features in the format, including some that are still in use (basically any function/codec not available 64bit).

This is what it is about. the OP (Tangier) want to do a destructive change of TC on source files.
I’ve already told him that this is a problem now due to the changes in the OS (removal of QuickTime)..
Previous version of my work could do that with a plugin, based on the quicktime framework.
But that is gone. Now, ‘some’ QT’s have TC written as frame number in the beginning of the mdat chunk, but some not.
I can parse ‘some’ TC chunks, that tell me frame duration / frame rate and alike, but for the life of me I can’t find where the actual TC data is stored.
(And I can’t say I understand the Apple documentation.)

I’m pretty sure this is in the FFmpeg source code somewhere, but I can’t read C….

> How did you convert the mts to a mov? I am pretty sure you have to change the underlying structure of the video to convert from one to the other.

That’s probably FFmpeg work, but then there is no issue, as FFmpeg can easilly add a new TC when copying / transcoding to a new file.
The devil is in the destructive TC changing, but that is not something FFmpeg is supposed to do.

Bouke

>
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> Ted Park
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Re: Understanding how to use FFmpeg on macOS

Tangier Clarke
In reply to this post by kumowoon1025


> On Mar 23, 2020, at 3:29 AM, Ted Park <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> How did you convert the mts to a mov? I am pretty sure you have to change the underlying structure of the video to convert from one to the other.

Hello Ted.  I used an app called EditReady which can take an AVCHD (sometimes referred to as the Blu-Ray file structure) file structure which contains the .mts files inside and rewrap them as .mov files.  There is no transcoding to another format as far as I know. I can do the same with Final Cut Pro X as well. I verify the formats to see what (if any) changes have been made using an app called MediaInfo.  

Regards,

Tangier

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