Preparing FFMPEG for free screen capture, time lapse, and GIF making.


Put together some info from here and here and here.

Add deb-multimedia non-free to your repo and install ffmpeg with the following commands in your terminal:

echo deb jessie main non-free >>/etc/apt/sources.list
apt-get update
apt-get install ffmpeg

That’s all! You’re ready to make screen captures and gifs.

Windows 7/8/10

Download and Install

First, install WinRAR or 7zip so you can open 7z compressed files.

Download the latest ffmpeg.

Adding ffmpeg to your ‘PATH’

Add ffmpeg to your path so it can be executed anywhere. There will be only cosmetic differences between Windows 7 and Windows 10.

I found that one one version of Windows I was unable to edit the path if I simply hit Start and searched for “system environment variables” — instead I had to open the dialog via System (control panel) and then click “Advanced System Settings” and then “Environment Variables”. I guess by clicking on the ‘Advanced system settings’ with the little security icon it gives me the admin privilege I need to change the settings.

After clicking “Environment Variables…” You’ll get a list of user variables and a list of system variables. Scroll through the System variables until you find “Path” and click Edit, you’ll get the “Edit System Variable” dialog. Here each folder containing executables is listed in the format C:foobar;C:foobar; — that is, full file path, ending in a backslash, seperated by semicolons. So we’ll add our ffmpeg folder extracted from the 7z file, specifically, its bin folder. I dropped the whole thing in to my C drive, renamed the long folder name to just ‘ffmpeg’ and added the following to my ‘Variable Value’ (highlighted in the screenshot). The backslash at the end is important.


After OK OK OKing out of there, you should be able to start powershell and start ffmpeg from anywhere. if you get the following when typing ffmpeg into powershell, then everything worked!

This stackoverflow discussion was helpful in figuring out how to do screen capture on Windows. I ran the following command to grab my Powershell window at 10 frames per second and saving to the file Here is the official documentation which details a few options.

> ffmpeg -f gdigrab -framerate 10 -i title=”Windows Powershell”

I wrote a more thorough guide to screen capture here:

FFMPEG is handy at converting video to gif, too!

> ffmpeg -t 2 -i firsttry.gif

Pretty neat!

I wrote a guide to high quality gif making here:

References linked:

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