Common ffmpeg parameters

Information

    -codecs            Display codecs
    -formats           Display formats
    -f fmt             Force format "fmt"
    -i filename        Set input file name
    -y                 Overwrite output file
    -t secs            Force duration to specific length (hh:mm:ss[.xxx] syntax works)
    -fs limit          Set file size limit
    -ss secs           Seek to given time position (hh:mm:ss[.xxx] syntax works)
    -target type       Specify target type ("vcd", "svcd", "dvd", "dv", "dv50", "pal-vcd" etc) ... all the format options are set automatically

Video

    -b bitrate         Video bitrate in bps
    -r fps             Set frame rate (default 25)
    -s WxH             Set frame size (default same as source)
    -aspect aspect     Set aspect ratio (4:3, 16:9 etc)
    -vn                Disable video
    -sameq             Same quality as input (implies VBR)
    -pass n            Multipass rendering (1 or 2)
    -vcodec            Force video codec

Audio

    -ar freq           Audio frequency (default 44100 Hz)
    -ab bitrate        Audio bitrate in bps (default 64k)
    -aq quality        Audio quality (codec-specific, VBR)
    -ac channels       Audio channels
    -an                Disable audio
    -acodec            Force audio codec

Subtitles

    -scodec            Force subtitle codec ("copy" to copy stream)
    -sn                Disable subtitles

My Idea for a Grand Opera

STAGE: A rural village in feudal Japan. A small, traditional Japanese house is nearby. Some cherry trees can be seen in the distance.

ACT ONE:

A samurai warrior enters the stage, inspecting his lands and his village. He starts singing the first aria of the opera, “A Sacred Land, A Sacred Call”, extolling the virtues of the samurai and the honor that lies with his profession. “To die for the emperor”, he sings, “a duty; an honor – oh that I would be found worthy of doing so”. Two women nearby sit kneeling with their heads bowed in deep respect for this great warrior. After he is gone, they discuss the theme of the aria between them, and how they are, like him, honor-bound in their call to serve. “This is the Meaning of Life”, they sing together in wonderful, tear-jerking duet.

But events are afoot. The samurai’s son suddenly enters the stage, looking for his father after many years away in Kyoto. They meet; father is delighted to see him and wonders how he has been doing. Alas, it is soon revealed, that the son has not followed in his father’s footsteps; he has become a traveling salesman for Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses. The samurai, enraged, commands him to stop immediately and storms out. The end of Act One ends with the son, singing to a sad tune on the clarinet, “How I Love Japan; But I Love Hershey’s Kisses Too”.

ACT TWO:

The Japanese villagers are now talking among themselves and rumor quickly spreads that the samurai’s son is a salesman for Hershey’s. Some of the villagers argue that chocolate, in every form, is a good thing and Japan must embrace the influences of the new world; others argue against; when suddenly the samurai himself appears. Finding that his authority is weakening, he quickly summons his son and asks him “very well, have you changed your mind?” The son refuses to leave his new profession, and the samurai, dishonored and enraged, throws him into a bamboo prison cell. “There you will stay”, he bellows, “until you respect your honor!”

The drama develops when a team of Hershey Co. lawyers emerge on the scene, singing a transformation of the main theme, “What Ho, What Ho? What Transpires Here?” The samurai threatens to kill the lawyers on the spot, but they quickly produce a document signed by the Emperor himself, which no samurai can question, that Hershey’s Chocolates are legitimate all over Japan by royal decree. The second act ends with the samurai father falling on his knees in shame and dishonor, crying. The villagers look on terrified.

ACT THREE:

The samurai, unable to bear the shame of his son as a traveling Hershey’s salesman, has reached a decision: He will commit suicide. The villagers are mortified, and the team of Hershey’s lawyers are beaten by them until they repel them by threatening to sue them for libel. The samuari ends this quarrel by stepping onto the stage with his swords; a gray, somber figure with ashen face, prepared to do his duty. His son sings his final aria to him from the bamboo prison, “Will You Not See: a New Dawn for Old Japan”, but the father refuses to listen.

But by mistake, when the samurai reaches for his last sake glass, he accidentally grabs a Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss instead and puts it in his mouth! Apalled at first, his countenance soon changes as he realizes he has made a dreadful mistake, and everyone soon starts laughing. He lets out his son, forgiving him with tears in his face, and the opera ends with the grand finale, the duet between father and son, singing “Here is Tradition Too”, indicating that there are traditions in Hershey’s Company as well, as it is in feudal Japan, and that both can coexist together through honor and mutual respect. The villagers and lawyers combine in a final, grand chorus. The sun sets over the cherry trees which are now blossoming in full, and the curtain falls. The End.

I Had a Strange and Curious Dream

I had a strange and curious dream last night
I dreamt my heart grew wings and then took flight
Flew far and wide o’er hills and fields of green
Above those golden clouds, to things unseen –
Plucking roses sweet that never grew
And singing childish rhymes all while I flew.
I touched the sky, I think, with outstretched hand
Drew fine-art paintings in the ocean sand
And swiftly sailed across the deep blue sea
To search for wonders named in poetry.

In this dream I had, I know it’s strange
I dreamt I leaped across a mountain range!
The pinnacles where draped in snowy white
And gleaming in the shining sun so bright.
But linger long up there was not for me,
What worlds that lay beyond I had to see.
Quickly went I down the mountain side
T’was there I saw the meadows open wide.

I stood in flowery grass so tall and green
Such wonderful flowers; I had never seen!
The field rolled gently down towards a stream
Beyond which a city seemed to softly gleam.
It was a city made of purest gold
Of its glory every psalm and hymn had told.
At length I stood there, taking in the sight –
Until a voice spoke softly to my right.

The joy I felt I cannot ever tell
Suffice to say, on my knees I quickly fell.
And on my cheeks, round tears then softly broke
As He, my King of Kings, so sweetly spoke.
“This is the home”, He said, “for you I made;”
“Do not fear, the price has all been paid.”
And from His love I then began to weep –
T’was then, that I awoke out of my sleep.

I had a strange and curious dream last night
I dreamt my heart grew wings and then took flight.
The day will come again when I will fly
Beyond those golden clouds in sunset sky.
And nevermore will I this planet roam
For somewhere over there is home, sweet home.

The Old Mainframe Computer

In a dark and gloomy dungeon
Racked by storms and thunder
A valiant server stood on guard
As lightning ripped the night asunder.
It stood there lonesome and forlorn
Working quietly in the freezing cold
But not a tear was seen
On its faithful color screen
This server had a heart of gold.

In its core a dignified processor worked
Although old, still bravely faithful
And though its software wasn’t new
Its owners still were very grateful.
It flawlessly performed, both day and night
It ticked so quietly, so gracefully and bright
A thousand users everywhere
Put the server’s idle time on hold
But no one knew the server’s heart
Yes, this server had a heart of gold.

Deep down in this server’s brittle chips
A stable, very stable kernel ran.
And through thick cables proceeding forth
It quietly communicated on the WAN.
Hundreds of transactions were processed
On the company’s intra-network site.
But the only evidence of work there was
Was a little light that gently flickered in the night.

And although many years had passed
And newer systems came and went
And elaborate technologies passed by
ODBC, DCOM, Windows and Lucent
Still they just failed and failed and failed
And came nowhere near this server’s unique mold
Of faithful trust and tender hope
Buried in this server’s gentle heart of gold.
Yes, this server had been working quite a while
And if it could be said it had a mind
Anyone who looked inside would find
That splendid willingness to “walk the extra mile”.

Then, one day, a strategic decision was made.
“Windows is the future. Old IBMs are not.”
So this server was sadly carried away
And replaced with something that was “hot”.
And the damp computer place was changed
Into nice, air-conditioned halls
With carpets, supervising systems
And thin fiber cables lined the walls.
And in the old computer’s place now there sat
An NT 5.0, purring like a cat.

But soon enough, something happened
Users called and gleefully complained
Connections lost, memory faults all over
And a general confidence that waned.
Computers crashed, and deals weren’t met
And executives and computer guys began to fret.
Previously trusting users collapsed and cried
As their screens shone brightly blue
With exception faults and many, many GPFs…
It was a horrid nightmare now come true.

In the meantime, this old server sat
Now abandoned, so silent and forlorn.
Its kernel didn’t work. No lights were on.
It couldn’t even mourn.
The letters IBM, once bright and shining
And the cover, once so neat, with silver lining
From all its work so badly torn.
It now simply occupied the tiny space
Between a dead screen and an old computer case.

But then, as its tiny little chips gave up all hope
It finally was remembered.
An angry group of software engineers
Brought the NT system, now dismembered.
They threw the stupid thing against the wall
And took the old computer through the hall.
And accompanied by the staff’s wild cheer
On the old screen there appeared a little tear.
And as it was plugged in again,
Its systems flared to life once more
The BIOS booted, and the kernel started up
The old processes spread through its trusty core.

Then everything was back to normal.
Everything ran well again.
And all throughout the place, executives agreed
That new technology is just in vain.
That trusted systems should not be replaced,
Once it worked, it continually kept administrators amazed.
And deep down, in that old dungeon, now so bright
That used to be forgotten and so cold
There worked a valiant server,
And that server had a heart of gold.