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RVideo allows you to inspect and process video files.
Installation is a little involved. First, install the gem:
sudo gem install rvideo
Next, install ffmpeg and (possibly) other related libraries. This is
documented elsewhere on the web, and can be a headache. If you are on OS X,
the Darwinports build is reasonably good (though not perfect). Install with:
sudo port install ffmpeg
Or, for a better build (recommended), add additional video- and audio-related
libraries, like this:
sudo port install ffmpeg +lame +libogg +vorbis +faac +faad +xvid +x264 +a52
Most package management systems include a build of ffmpeg, but many include a
poor build. So you may need to compile from scratch.
If you want to create Flash Video files, also install flvtool2:
sudo gem install flvtool2
Once ffmpeg and RVideo are installed, you're set.
To inspect a file, initialize an RVideo file inspector object. See the
documentation for details.
A few examples:
file = => "#{APP_ROOT}/files/input.mp4")
file = => @existing_response)
file = => "#{APP_ROOT}/files/input.mp4",
:ffmpeg_binary => "#{APP_ROOT}/bin/ffmpeg")
file.fps # "29.97"
file.duration # "00:05:23.4"
To transcode a video, initialize a Transcoder object.
transcoder =
Then pass a command and valid options to the execute method
recipe = "ffmpeg -i $input_file$ -ar 22050 -ab 64 -f flv -r 29.97 -s"
recipe += " $resolution$ -y $output_file$"
recipe += "\nflvtool2 -U $output_file$"
transcoder.execute(recipe, {:input_file => "/path/to/input.mp4",
:output_file => "/path/to/output.flv", :resolution => "640x360"})
rescue TranscoderError => e
puts "Unable to transcode file: #{e.class} - #{e.message}"
If the job succeeds, you can access the metadata of the input and output
files with:
transcoder.original # RVideo::Inspector object
transcoder.processed # RVideo::Inspector object
If the transcoding succeeds, the file may still have problems. RVideo
will populate an errors array if the duration of the processed video
differs from the duration of the original video, or if the processed
file is unreadable.
Thanks to Peter Boling for early work on RVideo.
Contribute to RVideo! If you want to help out, there are a few things you can
- Use, test, and submit bugs/patches
- We need a RVideo::Tools::Mencoder class to add mencoder support.
- Other tool classes would be great - On2, mp4box, Quicktime (?), etc.
- Submit other fixes, features, optimizations, and refactorings
If RVideo is useful to you, you may also be interested in RMovie, another Ruby
video library. See for more.
Finally, watch for Spinoza, a commercial video transcoder built by Slantwise
Design. Spinoza uses RVideo for its video processing, but adds file queuing,
distributed transcoding, a web-based transcoder dashboard, and more. See or for more.
Copyright (c) 2007 Jonathan Dahl and Slantwise Design. Released under the MIT