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Open Source Tools for AV Workflows

There are interesting AV tools in the Open Source Software world. Some of them require you to use the command line of your operating system, but not all of them. Don't be mistaken, this is not some “hacker stuff”, a lot of big and professional broadcast entities (like the BBC) use workflows partly based on opensource tools. You can even build entire broadcast studios using open source solutions.

Video Manipulation Tools


FFmpeg is the “swiss army knife” of video manipulation. Basically you can do most kind of conversions you do in your editing Software as well with ffmpeg. Since the programmers of FFMpeg are restricted to the owners of proprietary software to implement their (often patented) codecs and algorithms, there are limitations and sometimes it takes some time for a feature to be implemented, while commercial software has access to to it buy buying a license from the vendor. There is a side project focusing on professional video world's conversion demands, called FFmbc.

FFMpeg is very capable and can be very complex. There are a lot of Graphical User Interfaces (GUI's) that focus on certain features of what ffmpeg can do but the command line gives you access to all it's features.


Still in it's early stage, Natron aims to be an open source compositing program. It is initiated by people that have been actively participating in Avisynth and therefore promises to be a useful tool.

TuttleOFX and Sam

Tuttle aims to be a processing pipeline for the OpenFX plugin standard, also used by proprietary Software like Nuke, Assimilate Scratch or Davinci Resolve. It's accompanying tool “Sam” allows you to efficiently manipulate single image sequences, common in the VFX and video world - and with the BMPCC through the RAW recording function, which results in DNG sequences.


Avisynth is a Windows-Only video processing wrapper, that has a lot of interesting plugins for all kind of image manipulation. It has been around for some years now and for some purposes offer better processing than commercial products.



With this tool you can easily prepare a Digital Cinema Package from your movie. Be advised to inform yourself about what is DCP is, how it works and what the requirements are. This requires a minimum knowledge of the following:

  • SMTP vs Interop DCP
  • RGB to XYZ Colorspace transformation
  • Preparing ext2 / ext3 media for delivery
  • DCI Specifications for image sizes (2k / 4k etc).
  • JPEG2000 Compression and Data Rates.
  • Cinema standards for audio mix loudness


Similar to DCP-o-Matic but slightly more complex.



Sound eXchange, abbreviated SoX, is similar to FFmpeg but for audio conversion

postproduction/open_source_tools.txt · Last modified: 2014/10/06 16:31 by