Linux Command Library


FFmpeg bitstream filters

This document describes the bitstream filters provided by the libavcodec library.

A bitstream filter operates on the encoded stream data, and performs bitstream level modifications without performing decoding.

When you configure your FFmpeg build, all the supported bitstream filters are enabled by default. You can list all available ones using the configure option "--list-bsfs".

You can disable all the bitstream filters using the configure option "--disable-bsfs", and selectively enable any bitstream filter using the option "--enable-bsf=BSF", or you can disable a particular bitstream filter using the option "--disable-bsf=BSF".

The option "-bsfs" of the ffmpeg.1.gz ffmpeg-bitstream-filters.1.gz ffmpeg-codecs.1.gz ffmpeg-devices.1.gz ffmpeg-filters.1.gz ffmpeg-formats.1.gz ffmpeg-protocols.1.gz ffmpeg-resampler.1.gz ffmpeg-scaler.1.gz ffmpeg-utils.1.gz ffmulticonverter.1.gz ffplay.1.gz ffprobe.1.gz ffserver.1.gz tools will display the list of all the supported bitstream filters included in your build.

Below is a description of the currently available bitstream filters.


Convert an H.264 bitstream from length prefixed mode to start code prefixed mode (as defined in the Annex B of the ITU-T H.264 specification).

This is required by some streaming formats, typically the MPEG-2 transport stream format ("mpegts").

For example to remux an MP4 file containing an H.264 stream to mpegts format with ffmpeg, you can use the command:

 ffmpeg -i INPUT.mp4 -codec copy -bsf:v h264_mp4toannexb OUTPUT.ts


Convert MJPEG/AVI1 packets to full JPEG/JFIF packets.

MJPEG is a video codec wherein each video frame is essentially a JPEG image. The individual frames can be extracted without loss, e.g. by

 ffmpeg -i ../some_mjpeg.avi -c:v copy frames_%d.jpg

Unfortunately, these chunks are incomplete JPEG images, because they lack the DHT segment required for decoding. Quoting from <>:

Avery Lee, writing in the newsgroup in 2001, commented that " MJPEG, or at least the MJPEG in AVIs having the MJPG fourcc, is restricted JPEG with a fixed -- and *omitted* -- Huffman table. The JPEG must be YCbCr colorspace, it must be 4:2:2, and it must use basic Huffman encoding, not arithmetic or progressive. . . . You can indeed extract the MJPEG frames and decode them with a regular JPEG decoder, but you have to prepend the DHT segment to them, or else the decoder won’t have any idea how to decompress the data. The exact table necessary is given in the OpenDML spec."

This bitstream filter patches the header of frames extracted from an MJPEG stream (carrying the AVI1 header ID and lacking a DHT segment) to produce fully qualified JPEG images.

 ffmpeg -i mjpeg-movie.avi -c:v copy -bsf:v mjpeg2jpeg frame_%d.jpg exiftran -i -9 frame*.jpg ffmpeg -i frame_%d.jpg -c:v copy rotated.avi


ffmpeg(1), ffplay(1), ffprobe(1), ffserver(1), libavcodec(3)

The FFmpeg developers.

For details about the authorship, see the Git history of the project (git://, e.g. by typing the command git log in the FFmpeg source directory, or browsing the online repository at <>.

Maintainers for the specific components are listed in the file MAINTAINERS in the source code tree.

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