I have potentially millions of HLS streaming videos to create from cover art and mp3s. Obviously, I'd like to keep the resulting bandwidth to a minimum. I tried various ffmpeg flags specifically suggested for this task and even some on the apple media segmenter that claimed to put a cover art in each segment(meta-file/meta-type). I had a lot of problems getting chrome to display the cover art when playing back using HTML5 despite it working in VLC. I ended up with a working command line like this.

ffmpeg -loop 1 -i 1k_image.jpg -i song_219kbs.mp3 -c:v libx264 -pix_fmt yuv420p  -profile:v baseline -c:a aac -strict experimental -b:a 64k -r 1 -shortest song_64k_2fps_baseline.mp4

The -pix_fmt and baseline profile seemed to be key. Can you see anything I am doing that is unnecessary? Is there a better way of achieving my goal?

Also, I look at several of the commercial cloud transcoding solutions and didn't see how to configure one to do this. Did I miss the options?

  • 1
    Please include the complete console output from your command.
    – llogan
    Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 17:02
  • Use libfdk_aac. It has better quality per bitrate than ffmpeg's built-in AAC encoder. Also, don't forget -movflags +faststart to put the MOOV atom at the front of the file (essential for streaming). Commented Jun 26, 2015 at 5:27

1 Answer 1


If you just want to embed a cover you might consider keeping the result as mp3, for example:

ffmpeg -i original.mp3 -i cover.png -map 0:0 -map 1:0 -metadata:s:v title="Album cover" -metadata:s:v comment="Cover (Front)" -id3v2_version 3 -write_id3v1 1 result.mp3

If you are creating mp4's, e.g. for YouTube, then I suggest to split the process to two steps - first create the video movie with no audio track, duration somewhat longer than that of the audio. Then mux the video and audio together with the -shortest option which will truncate the video to the exact duration of audio. In terms of time these two steps will take a tidbit longer than a single pass but your whole workflow will be much simpler and more manageable.

  • Wow that really worked. Isn't that shorter with ffmpeg?
    – BabyBoy
    Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 20:52

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