[edited to be more like a question.]

I have been producing video using a combination of ffmpeg, mencoder and graphicsmagick for several years. Mostly it is because of not only the sorry state of affairs of GUI editing tools on linux, but also since I prefer to use the command line and scripts more than clumsy crashy interfaces.


I investigated the MELT CLI after stumbling across a couple of youtube videos showing how it works.

As opposed to ffmpeg, it is FRAME-PERFECT, allows for simple concatenation of files or even clips within multiple files, transitions are incredibly easy and the usage of video and sound filters is intuitive (once you have wrapped your head around the syntax). In fact, you can even script effects with html5!

Here is an example that would provide both an audio and video transition between clip1 and clip2 and create an mp4.

$ melt clip1.dv clip2.dv -mix 25 -mixer luma -mixer mix:-1 \
  -consumer avformat:clip1and2_mixed.mp4

From their webpage regarding their system / plugins:

FFmpeg for audio/video decoding and encoding
swfdec Flash decoder
WebVfx for HTML5-based graphics/animation generation
GTK+ and Qt for image loading and text rendering
LADSPA audio plugins
SoX audio effects
libsamplerate audio resampler
JACK audio routing
frei0r video plugins
SDL for desktop audio/video output 

Note: I am not knocking ffmpeg and I am not affiliated with MLT or MELT.



  • This is not a question - it is very much an "I dislike ffmpeg and like these other tools - what do you use" post. Which is not helpful, and is entirely opinion based.
    – Dr Mayhem
    Dec 18, 2014 at 9:54
  • Of course it is a question. I am asking the community about other tools I may not know about. Why all the hate?
    – denjello
    Dec 18, 2014 at 13:59
  • 2
    There is still not a question mark in the entire question body. This still simply consists of a monolog on an option you like and is completely disjointed from the title.
    – AJ Henderson
    Dec 18, 2014 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


Video editing is a very visual workflow, you need to see your result at all times, instantly, to be effective in your daily job. Working with a CLI is rather counter intuitive and makes it hard to make creative decisions.

Frameworks like these are great to make programs on top of them and to automate video processing but are tedious to use in standard video production and animation workflows. It's a matter of what you want to do, not whether its a powerful tool or not.

  • the MELT CLI does have visual feedback and interactive controls.
    – denjello
    Dec 13, 2014 at 19:31
  • Sure but that is a very sluggish workflow compared to a modern NLE like Premiere where you can see changes even while playing back your footage.
    – timonsku
    Dec 14, 2014 at 19:52
  • I totally agree, but why then ffmpeg? Not only is that a "sluggish workflow" - but also an absolute nightmare for beginners.
    – denjello
    Dec 14, 2014 at 20:01
  • 1
    Well no one uses ffmpeg for NLE work. You use it for encoding and automating things. For transcoding its actually very easy to use. The main reason why its popular though is that its pretty much the only widely known tool for these tasks. MELT isn't even close to that reputation. Not that this would make MELT bad, its just not that well known yet.
    – timonsku
    Dec 16, 2014 at 23:44

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