Two years ago I've used ffmbc to encode videos to prores, but nowadays ffmpeg also supports prores and avchd. What is the difference between ffmpeg and ffmbc now?

2 Answers 2


Usage differences

Note: ffmbc/ffmpeg will refer to the tools, while FFmbc/FFmpeg will refer to the projects themselves and/or each whole collection of tools and libraries.

  • There are syntax differences including:

    • ffmbc uses the old, confusing -newaudio option while ffmpeg can just use -map.

    • ffmbc does not support -codec or -c, so instead all stream types must be explicitly defined if you do not want to rely on the defaults. For example -vcodec copy -acodec copy -scodec copy vs just -c copy.

    • Probably lots more that I didn't think of. Feel free to edit answer and add more.

  • ffmbc will automatically relocate some data after encoding to MOV, MP4, etc while ffmpeg requires the -movflags +faststart option.

  • ffmbc does not support -filter_complex so filtering is different. For example, using the overlay video filter:

    • ffmbc: -i video.mp4 -vf "movie='overlay.png' [movie]; [in][movie] overlay [out]"
    • ffmpeg: -i video.mp4 -i image.png -filter_complex "[0:v][1:v]overlay"
  • FFmbc seems to support more broadcast formats.

  • FFmpeg has more features and filters.

  • FFmbc dropped ffplay and ffserver.

Development differences

  • FFmbc is GPL, and FFmpeg is mostly LGPL which makes porting features from FFmbc to FFmpeg more difficult.

  • FFmbc is basically the project of a former FFmpeg developer with a few contributions from others. FFmpeg has many developers and contributors.

  • FFmpeg often merges things form Libav, while FFmbc ignores Libav. Libav cherry-picks occasionally from FFmpeg, but ignores most stuff from FFmpeg (Libav is often joked to have "NIH syndrome").


One difference at least :

-target xdcamhd422

is supported by FFmbc but not by FFmpeg.

Very useful in a professional broadcast environment.

the -target option allows to specify several parameters at once. The -target option value must be one supported by FFm**. In the case of the xdcamhd422 value, it specifies the video codec to be used (mpeg2video), the frame size (1920 x 1080), and other parameters in order to have an output file conform to the XDCam HD standard.

  • Thanks! What exactly you can do with it? Convert it to sony xdcam mxf, right?
    – p2or
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 11:45
  • 1
    You're welcome. Added a few precisions in the answer. I used it to produce test files for a professional playout server and it worked perfectly.
    – audionuma
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 13:22

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