I'm looking for a hosted or self-hosted solution that will allow me to manipulate video files that are uploaded to a server by an end-user.

Does anyone know of any solutions - open source or otherwise - that can:

  • Splice movies together
  • Overlay images on a movie (watermark)
  • Overlay one/multiple movies on-top of another (think picture-in-picture style)

all without the need for a GUI, so I can create a script? Essentially, ImageMagick for video files!


If you can use Java, you could also use Xuggler.

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  • Wow, Xuggler looks very good, almost perfect infact! Is there anyway to access the Xuggler API via Ruby? (My java isn't too hot) – purpletonic Feb 12 '10 at 12:22
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    Not without building a swig ruby interface -- possible but not on my roadmap currently :( Happy to give guidance if you're looking to do the work though. – user23801 Feb 13 '10 at 18:32
  • I'd love some pointers/general overview, but I can't promise anything since I'm still learning, and this looks like a pretty advanced topic. – purpletonic Feb 14 '10 at 12:00

I can only think of ffmpeg, Mencoder or transcode. Have a look at this video for ffmpeg usage for editing.

Could you use ImageMagick by splitting the movie into separate frames and working on each frame before putting the movie back together?

Or, you'll have to code it up yourself using something like Gnonlin

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  • +1 for the imagemagick suggestion - you can break a movie up into a directory of jpegs or pngs, and then modify them, then make that directory into a movie again, this is probably your best bet. – Justin Smith Feb 10 '10 at 21:27
  • Brice, thanks for the ImageMagick idea. Might spliting up a movie into jpegs/pngs become a bit of a pain for larger movies though? I'm also curious as to how much time/system resource this would take vs something like Xuggler. Thanks for reminding me about ffmpeg, I'd forgotten about that one! – purpletonic Feb 12 '10 at 12:42
  • Boy, Xuggler looks so cool. Using ImageMagick would be a definite pain! And it would take tons of resources. Had I heard of Xuggler, I would have recommended it instead. – brice Feb 12 '10 at 17:03

It's not open source but it does apparently have an API: http://ankoder.com

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  • This is a great resource to know about, although it only provides encoding whereas I'm after manipulation too. Definite bookmark for future projects though, thanks Amy! – purpletonic Feb 12 '10 at 12:16

I think E.M. Total Video Converter Command Line can best fit your needs. It can combine videos, add watermark to videos, and support picture in picture video editing. It can supply an easy and efficient way to add video encoding features such as video editing, batch conversion, quality control, watermarking, subtitling and etc. to your server side application.

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Could either of the products made by forbidden technologies be what you are after?

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  • Thanks Mick, their Forscene product looks like something to keep an eye on, but I don't believe either of their products currently allow you to interface with them through the command line. – purpletonic Feb 12 '10 at 12:45

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