ftransc: convert audio files

If you want to crunch those large FLAC files to mp3 and are looking for a quality audio converter, try ftransc. The advantage to ftransc is its ease of use from the cmdline. There is no need to be an audio expert. Using presets make ftransc very simple to use. It comes with a Qt based GUI as well. And if you are a Rhythmbox fan then you also have a ftransc plugin. It integrates with Nautilus as well. Continue reading ftransc: convert audio files

Extract, merge audio video tracks with avconv [ffmpeg]

libav_compSometimes I face a problem while transcoding multimedia files with HandBrake. I prefer to keep the audio bitrate at 96 kbps but sometimes the sound quality of the output audio file is compromised. As transcoding takes time, in many cases I extract the audio track from the source multimedia file and merge it with the video track of the HandBrake output. I use avconv for this. Other tools that come in handy (due to codec issues) are mencoder and mkvtoolnix.

Steps with example:

  1. Check the audio track information from the original file
    $ avconv -i original.mp4
    Stream #0.1(und): Audio: aac, 48000 Hz, stereo, fltp, 95 kb/s
  2. Extract the audio track
    $ avconv -i original.mp4  -vn -acodec copy audio.aac
    // To extract the 4th audio track
    $ avconv -i original.mp4  -map 0:3 -vn -acodec copy audio.aac
  3. Extract the video track from HandBrake output (which is in MKV format)
    $ avconv -i handbrake_out.mkv  -an -vcodec copy video.mkv
  4. To convert the audio bitrate to 96kbps:
    $ avconv -i audio.aac -c:a aac -b:a 96k audio96.aac
  5. Copy audio and video tracks to the same directory and merge them. Let’s say that you need to add some delay to the audio as well. The following command does it all
    $ avconv -i video.mkv -itsoffset 00:00:00.2 -i audio96.aac -acodec copy -vcodec copy merged.mkv

That’s it! merged.mkv is the file you want.

Transmageddon: Linux video transcoder

Transmageddon is a fresh video converter for Linux. It uses GStreamer in the backend. The author has announced the first release yesterday. The goal of this software is to provide a very easy interface to users for transcoding videos into formats recognized by their devices. As this is just the first release there are many exciting features in the TODO list which are yet to be implemented. One of the features already implemented is video rotation which is very useful but not commonly exposed by GUI based transcoder interfaces. Transmageddon supports all formats supported by GStreamer.

To install Transmageddon on Ubuntu, run:

$ sudo apt-get install transmageddon

Webpage: Transmageddon

Online Video Converter: transcode video & audio

online_video_converter_compOnline Video Converter is for those who want to convert their videos stored online and download them. It also supports importing videos from your local disk in addition to Google Drive, Dropbox, SkyDrive and direct URLs to videos. It doesn’t seem to support any online hosting service like YouTube or Vimeo. Features:

  • Simple and professional interface
  • Covert any video file that can be accessed directly (not embedded)
  • Plenty of output video and audio formats like mp4, avi, flv, Apple, mp3, wav, flac, amr…
  • Select audio bitrate
  • Fine tune video resolution
  • Set output size (something I loved in HandBrake)
  • The same service also hosts other services line audio cutter, joiner, converter, video cutter and voice recorder

Webpage: Online Video Converter

curlew: the only Linux multimedia converter you may ever need!

All the multimedia converters I have tried till date either use ffmpeg or mencoder. And sometimes I prefer using the cmdline to handle certain operations at a granular level. Probably I won’t need to do that anymore, thanks to curlew! This tiny (less than 512KB) GUI front-end to both mencoder and ffmpeg is hell of a utility for newbies and advanced users alike. Currently it is under heavy development. Because of the combined power of the two industry standard multimedia engines curlew can easily challenge any other software belonging to the same category. The only option I couldn’t find right now is the ability to join audio and video streams together. But this becomes insignificant considering its current features:

  • Supports 100+ multimedia formats
  • Can handle audio and video separately
  • Basic and advanced modes. The advanced mode allows lot of fine-tuning
  • A very simple user interface
  • Convert only a specific duration
  • Add subtitles
  • Pre-packaged for some of the major Linux distros


$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:noobslab/apps
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install curlew

Webpage: curlew

OpenShot: edit videos on Linux


Linux has a huge array of video editors. One of the newer members is the immensely powerful Lightworks, which has announced the Linux public Beta recently after a long delay. While Lightworks is industry-standard, OpenShot on the other hand maintains a balance between a rich set of features and ease of use for the regular user.It uses ffmpeg and has plenty of features to boost your videos:

  • Support for many video, audio, and image formats (based on FFmpeg )
  • Gnome integration (drag and drop support)
  • Unlimited tracks / layers
  • Clip resizing, scaling, trimming, snapping, and cutting
  • Video transitions with real-time previews
  • Compositing, image overlays, watermarks
  • Title templates, title creation, sub-titles
  • 3D Animated Titles
  • SVG friendly, to create and include vector titles and credits
  • Scrolling motion picture credits
  • Solid color clips (including alpha compositing )
  • Support for Rotoscoping / Image sequences
  • Advanced Timeline (including Drag & drop, scrolling, panning, zooming, and snapping)
  • Frame stepping (key-mappings: J, K, and L keys)
  • Video encoding (based on FFmpeg )
  • Key Frame animation
  • Digital zooming of video clips
  • Speed changes on clips (slow motion etc)
  • Custom transition lumas and masks
  • Audio mixing and editing
  • Presets for key frame animations and layout
  • Ken Burns effect (artistic panning over an image)
  • Digital video effects , including brightness, gamma, hue, greyscale, chroma key (bluescreen / greenscreen) , and over 20 other video effects
  • Extensive editing and compositing features, designed as a practical tool for working with high-definition video including HDV and AVCHD

Install OpenShot on Ubuntu:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openshot.developers/ppa
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install openshot openshot-doc

Webpage: OpenShot

Arista: convert video for gadgets

Unlike HandBrake, Arista supports encoding to many more formats. It has presets for many devices. The application is very simple and easy to use. Arista uses GStreamer as the backend transcoding engine.


  • Formats: MP4, WebM, Matroska, AVI, Ogg, FLV
  • Video: H264, VP8, MPEG4/DivX, MPEG2, Theora, Flash
  • Audio: AAC, Vorbis, MP3, FLAC, Speex, WAV
  • Devices: Android, Computer, DVD, iPhone, Ipod, Ipad, Nokia N Series, Web
  • Users can submit presets for different devices
  • Open source and free


To install Arista on Ubuntu, run:

$ sudo apt-get install arista

Webpage: Arista