I would like to "convert" audio to video visualisation (oscilloscope or waveform) sort of like some media players have.

I read this thread on how to do so with ffmpeg: How do I turn audio into video (that is, show the waveforms in a video)?

I have never used ffmpeg before and having read the previous thread I am still very confused with how to do it. As far as I know, ffmpeg does not have a GUI, so its a bit hard to understand.

I tried the following code:

ffmpeg -i audio.mp3 -filter_complex "[0:a]avectorscope=s=1080x1080,format=yuv420p[vid]" -map "[vid]" -map 0:a -codec:v libx264 -crf 18 -preset fast -codec:a aac -strict -2 -b:a 192k output.mp4

But the result i get is just a vertical line (the avectorscope does not spread out).

enter image description here

I have made sure that the audio is in stereo and has a high amplitude. I guess there is something I am missing in the code...

Also I would really like to know how I can change the background color from black to something custom.


1 Answer 1


The following command shows a video with a waveform of the corresponding audio:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -filter_complex "[0:a]showwaves=s=1280x720,format=yuv420p[vid]" -map "[vid]" -map 0:a -codec:v libx264 -crf 18 -preset fast -codec:a aac -strict -2 -b:a 192k output.mp4

I replaced avectorscope with showwaves: avectorscope is for showing the difference between stereo pairs. Try showcqt,showfreqs,showspectrum for other visualization effects.

  • Thanks a lot. Do you know any way to change the background from black to a custom color?
    – Arete
    Jan 14, 2016 at 21:43
  • 1
    @Arete For what effect, specifically? Some, or at least showfreqs, already have alpha and you just need to overlay it over a color source. Otherwise you could try format filter and colorkey or chromakey filters.
    – llogan
    Jan 14, 2016 at 23:52

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