For those of you who deal with videos and video formats either for fun or for work, you got to be able to convert (aka transcode) videos from time to time. May it be for simply changing the video codec or for simple things like reducing file size through increasing compression, reducing resolution or similar things.
On my Mac I used to use iFFmpeg for over 7 years and did buy a license back then. The open source command line program ffmpeg is a quasi industry standard — a powerful tool that can do almost anything to a video / media file. While I generally like command line programs, we all get older and sometimes it is just quicker to use such a tool through user interface where one can click buttons, batch process things easily and so on. That’s what iFFmpeg was: a graphical user interface for the powerful command line tool ffmpeg. And I loved using it.
After many months of resisting, I finally upgraded my macOS to Catalina. It is a 64 bit only operating system. Unfortunately, iFFmpeg is a 32 bit application, which can not run on Catalina — while the command line tool ffmpeg runs perfectly on 64 bit. That’s a bummer.
Since I purchased a license of iFFmpeg 3 back in the day, new versions had been published as iFFmpeg 4, 5, 6 and then it got rebranded to ffWorks, which is available as a free trial. I downloaded that and it works out-of-the-box. So I looked up what the full version costs and it is something like €20 for the license. Quite reasonable a price I thought — even though the original iFFmpeg did cost US$15 (~€12.73). I noticed on their website that there is also a special upgrade price for iFFmpeg 4,5,6 users for only €10. At least that’s what’s stated on their website.
Sending an email is quick, so I dropped them a quick note asking if I could also upgrade for the upgrade price. As a loyal user that would have definitely been an easy move. Their reply came swiftly and was short: only iFFmpeg 6 customers can upgrade for that price. Bummer again. 🙁 In a quick reply I pointed out that actually the website said iFFmpeg 4,5,6 users should be getting it, and that I noticed during checkout that there’s a discount code field. As I’ve been working with e-commerce shops for many years now, it is obvious that they could simply create a discount code for me so I can quickly purchase my upgrade and we’re set. So I asked them if they could create a discount code for me.
Well, ok. I needed to convert some videos — that’s why I even looked into this at the moment — so I went on and looked for alternatives on the Internet. Bottom line, I found a – what I believe – better alternative that can do more and is completely open source and free-of-charge. It is called Videomass and I like it so far. Look it up here:
Videomass website: https://jeanslack.github.io/Videomass/
While the user interface is a bit more simple IMHO, it appears to be more flexible with its presets where you can easily set up your own. Besides ffmpeg it also offers the graphical use of youtube-dl, which is a great command line tool I am also using for many years.
Videomass is an open-source program licensed under GPL3. That’s great, because ffmpeg and youtube-dl are open source as well. Simply select the installed versions and it is an out-of-the-box experience.
In the end, I switched away from a product that I actually loved because their customer service didn’t understand the value of keeping their customers happy. I would have happily paid the €10 upgrade price and would not have even gotten the idea of looking for an alternative. Yet customer service was too slow (if they ever reply… so far no reply yet) or it was too resistant to simply making existing customers happy who did already pay before. If I be honest, if I would not have seen that there is a discounted upgrade price available, I would have probably gone for the full price for that new version, because I simply needed to get stuff done. Anyhow, it is what it is and I’m quite happy with this great open source product now. If someone needs a graphical user interface app to work with ffmpeg, give Videomass a try. If you’d like to, feel free to support – in one way or another – the developer who is probably working on that project in his spare time. It could be simply by telling your peers about it, like I did with this blog post.
4 Replies to “An alternative to iFFmpeg / ffWorks on MacOS Catalina called Videomass”
Are you using Hardware accelerated encode/decode?
As a former Apple engineer myself I would assume since you mention installing Catalina I assume you have a modern Mac and thus LIKELY have access to VideoToolbox & Apple VTA support… If so how do you enable it using VideoMass.
Quality seems to have improved in recent years and like you just recently made the upgrade to Catalina myself on my MacBookPro14,3 which I had been using ffWorks 1.7 on but decided NOT to upgrade to 2.0 on so… Seems I’m following the same path as you.
Thanks for any help/pointers you can offer Google hasn’t been my friend thus far in finding any options in the VideoMass ui or recommendation or current reliability/quality of hardware assisted processing with VideoMass.
All the best!
PS- despite the last name my German is beyond poor 😉
ffmpeg/ffworks does definitely have a more complex UI. It basically replicates all the gazillion options of ffmpeg into UI buttons, switches, input fields, etc. VideoMass is more simple in this respect. It basically just allows you to drag’n’drop mass process media files with ffmpeg. Thus, if you’re setting up your own custom presets, you can easily do that, but you’ll need to use the standard ffmpeg command line options. Hence, anything ffmpeg can do, you can put into a preset. As for hardware acceleration: I haven’t played around with that yet. My Mac seems to be fast enough to transcode or re-encode modern format quickly. And because I can batch process say 100 video clips of footage over night, it’s not a big deal for me. I will check it out, though.
Thank you for publishing a Videomass post on your blog page. As the lead developer of this program I am glad that someone speaks well of it.
I publish this comment after receiving an email with a link to this page.
Soon I will release the new version of Videomass which I think will satisfy some requests that I have received from some users. As always, I try to satisfy myself and others’ needs when I can.
At your disposal
Thanks a lot! I can’t wait to check out the latest version of Videomass! Keep up the great work!