What is the best, free way to encode video for the new HTML5 video in browsers. I want to encode video in WebM, H264 and Ogg.

I have looked at FFMPeg and it seems to be able to do it all but the commands to do it with good quality can be fairly cryptic.

Does anyone know of any good free tools that can do 2 pass encoding of video in each of these formats, or how to get FFMPeg to do task?

3 Answers 3


I'd defenintly try using Handbrake, which is a GUI for ffmpeg. Sadly, it doesn't support WebM just yet, but that's because it's using a slightly older version of ffmpeg. The ffmpeg team just added WebM to their encoders and are still working on it. If you have more questions, check out this link:


So where does that leave you? Firefox and Opera both support Ogg Theora, so you should be good there. Safari and Chrome use h264, so that's perfect. Since IE supports no formats just yet, you've covered all major browsers without WebM.

If need any help whatsoever, check out the Handbrake wiki. It's super easy to use, so I doubt you'll need. Don't be afraid to holler if you need any help though.


If you are interested, i made a MacOS X Tool which automatically downloads a given set of files (i test it with +670 files) , selected from an online xml source. It then compresses these files locally into 5 formats (ogg, webm, mp4, mp4 mobile and mp4 hd) and uploads it again to an ftp-folder. The fun thing: it uses ffmpeg, so you can adapt the default compression settings yourself.


For your tools last question, I'd suggest Mediacoder, if you meant a PC free utility in that last question, not a server tool. That one can encode H264. (not sure if y ou needed to download as well .h264 codec. Maybe. ) Videos encoded so work great for Youtube uploads, and are really small in size, though keep a great quality. My favourite route, so far, after many tests.

I've used FFMPEG, and after quite some dealing with its parameters can output stuff well, and there are user submitted windows binaries at some sites. I find though quite easier to just use Mediacoder, or encode to FLV using Riva encoder or ON2 Flix Standard.(flv mostly to upload to a custom flv player mounted on your server, but that can kill a lot of bandwidth.)

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