How to install and use FFmpeg on Debian 10

FFmpeg is a very popular free and open-source command-line tool. It helps users play with multimedia files, provides the solution of converting documents, swaps the formats of the portfolio, and shares libraries. It also helps users convert audio and video files, extract audio, and lessen files’ size. FFmpeg contains the audio and video streaming and sharing of libraries such as libavutil, libavcodec, libavformat. FFmpeg is a cross-platform tool, and it is the most distinct and favorable for Linux and Debian users.

This post will help you learn how you can access the latest version of FFmpeg and how its features can make it easy for you to handle multimedia file conversions and streams.

First, you will learn how to install FFmpeg on Debian 10 step by step and then use it.

Installation of FFmpeg on Debian 10

FFmpeg can easily be installed on Debian 10 Linux system using different methods. For example, we can install it from the official APT package repository of Debian, or it is also available in the snap store, and we can install it from there as well. However, we will go with the most efficient and convenient one from the official repository of Debian 10.

While writing this post, the latest and stable version of FFmpeg is 4.1.6, which is available on the Debian APT package repository. So, simply update the system’s cache repository, first, using the command given below:

$ sudo apt update

Upgrade the installed packages as well using the command given below:

$ sudo apt upgrade

Once the system is updated. Start the installation of FFmpeg by typing the simple command given below:

$ sudo apt install ffmpeg

Type ‘y’ in response to the prompt asking for taking additional disk space to install FFmpeg and hit ‘Enter.’

Within a few minutes, the latest and stable FFmpeg version will be installed on your Debian 10 Linux system.

To verify the installation and the latest version of FFmpeg, you can type the command given below:

$ ffmpeg --version

From the above-given command output, you can witness that the latest version, 4.1.6 of FFmpeg, is installed successfully.

To get the encoders provided by the FFmpeg, type the command given:

$ ffmpeg -encoders

Similarly, to get the decoders provided by the FFmpeg, type the command:

$ ffmpeg -decoders

The above two commands will print out all the encoders and decoders provided by the FFmpeg, as you can witness in the attached screenshot.

Usage of FFmpeg

Now, let’s learn some basic and quick usage of FFmpeg on Debian 10 Linux system.

File Information Extraction

To get the information of any multimedia file, we can use the following command in Debian 10 Linux system terminal:

$ ffmpeg -i audio_media.mp3

The above command will provide the information of the ‘audio_media.mp3’ file. This way, we can extract or get the basic information of any multimedia file using FFmpeg.

Export audio from a video

If you want to get the audio separated from a video file, you can use the command given below to do so using the FFmpeg:

$ ffmpeg -i video_media.mp4 -vn audio_media.mp3

Here, you just need to provide the original filename of the video from which you want to get the audio, and after the ‘-vn,’ provide the new filename that you want to give to the newly created audio file. The above command will get you an audio file extracted from the video of your choice.

Conversion of a media file to another media format

A multimedia file can easily be converted into any other multimedia format using the FFmpeg in Debian. For example, conversion of an MP4 file to WEBM format, ee can do so by typing the command given below:

$ ffmpeg -i original_video.mp4 converted_video.mp4

By just providing the new file name to the file followed by the original file name, you can have the file converted to your desired file format.


This post contains detailed information on installing FFmpeg on Debian 10 and how to use FFmpeg to manage and convert multimedia files according to your needs and requirements. FFmpeg is the first choice of users who want to perform any conversion or streaming-related tasks because it is a complete package for managing multimedia files and formats.

About the author

Shehroz Azam

A Javascript Developer & Linux enthusiast with 4 years of industrial experience and proven know-how to combine creative and usability viewpoints resulting in world-class web applications. I have experience working with Vue, React & Node.js & currently working on article writing and video creation.