An alternative to iFFmpeg / ffWorks on MacOS Catalina called Videomass

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.

No reply.

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 3.1 – it’s not pretty, but it does its job and it does it great!

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.

Conclusion

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.

 

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