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I want to create with ffmpeg a pure white video to use it as background. I mean a video that, played in a computer, you see as white. (In the examples I will pipe the output to ffplay so you don't need to delete the video later.)

To create a 3s 640x480 video (25 fps by default):

ffmpeg -f lavfi -i color=white:640x480:d=3 -f matroska - | ffplay -autoexit -

This is a small rectangle of the output against superuser page (which in my browser shows as white).

The first output against superuser page

Looking for an answer, I came to this question. The explanation is provided by Mulvya:

The padding is RGB 235, which is the upper limit in conventional video. So, a video player will expand 235 to show white. – Mulvya Oct 23 '15 at 17:44

But I found no player that show it as white. I tried with ffplay, MPC-HC and VLC both piping and creating an intermediate file.

With images as in the question, the solution seems to be adding the -format rgb32 option. But I get the same result with

ffmpeg -f lavfi -i color=white:640x480:d=3 -format rgb32 -f matroska - | ffplay -autoexit -

The -pixel_formatoption doesn't work either.

So... how do you create a pure white background video with ffmpeg?

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    With your first command, I get pure white (#FF) as confirmed by Photoshop. I also get white when I output to a webm and play in Firefox. Try adding -color_range 1 just before -f matroska. Also, upgrade your ffmpeg, in case you're using an old version. – Gyan Dec 7 '16 at 12:30
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    What about ffplay -f lavfi -i color=white:640x480:d=3 – Gyan Dec 7 '16 at 12:47
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    Which OS is this? – Gyan Dec 7 '16 at 15:05
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    I'm also using a compiled version. Try it with the Zeranoe build, in any case. – Gyan Dec 7 '16 at 15:25
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    Output to PNG. And try the builds here. – Gyan Dec 7 '16 at 15:51
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As detailed in the comments, converting to a RGB format provides a full-range output.

-f lavfi -i color=white:640x480:d=3,format=rgb24

For other readers, I should note that I get a pure white display when running the OP's original command. I can't diagnose what's happening on OP's setup but there should be no special steps needed to generate a pure white output from ffmpeg other than color=white.

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