[FFmpeg-user] Good royalty free codec to encode H.264 video with.

Robert Krüger krueger at lesspain.de
Thu Dec 19 10:18:50 CET 2013

On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 8:34 AM, Andrei Petru Mura <mapandrei at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello,
> *Note:* I'm not experienced in the matter of video programming or
> processing. If you see some ridiculous mistakes, please be patient and feel
> free to correct me.
> I have some videos encoded with a H.264 codec. They are of a very good
> quality. (A file of 1 hour has 2-3 GB.) I would need to convert those files
> (about 200) to a format encoded with a royalty free codec. I tried to
> convert them using MJPEG codec, but when I try to preserve best quality,
> the resulted files are huge: about 50 GB. I used something like.
> ffmpeg -c:v h264 -i /path/to/file.avi -map 0:0 -c:v mjpeg -r 30 -qmin 1
> -qmax 1 -an -vf hfpli /new/path/to/resulted/file.avi
> *N.B.:* I put the whole command for having a clear idea of what I'm talking
> about.
> Trying to increase the -qmax to 8, I still get a huge file, but more
> reasonably (~10-15 GB). The problem is that increasing -qmax, some quality
> issues are visible.
> I tried to do the same thing, but using a different encoder, namely
> libvpx-vp9. The resulted file is at a size comparable with H.264, but there
> are 2 issues: the quality is clearly lower than the original file and the
> conversion time is effectively enormous. Here is the command that I used:
> ffmpeg -c:v h264 -i /path/to/file.avi -map 0:0 -c:v libvpx-vp9 -qmin 0
> -qmax 5 -crf 2 -b:v 1M -an -vf hflip -threads 4 /new/path/to/file.webm
> *Question:*
> Can anybody suggest me a royalty free encoder that I could use for my
> needs? I would need to be able also to encode with it video files in a
> relatively good time. Can you give me some hints on this?
> I'm aware that currently H.264 is the best standard regarding
> compression-quality in my scenario (I don't want to create a debate right
> now on that topic). I would need an encoder that would be able to get the
> same video quality at a reasonable size - let's say what's over 10GB at a
> file of 1 hour is too much. I also tried to encode with libtheora, but the
> conversion time is huge (similar to vp9).

have you tried the good old mpeg4 (-c:v)? I find it is in many cases a
reliable, fast workhorse and it is playable almost anywhere.

I am not a lawyer but regarding royalty-free I am not 100% sure if you
don't have to pay something to MPEG-LA depending on your use case. If
you want to be 100% sure, you should read their terms.

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