How to Make a Video From an Image and Audio File From the Command Line

April 17, 2019

I often need to combine an image and an mp3 file together to upload a podcast episode to YouTube. I was using Final Cut Pro, and I’ve also tried iMovie. Both of these were a little too much work and they generated videos with enormous file sizes. I thought “There has to be a better way.” And there is. You can use ffmpeg to do this in the command line. Using ffmpeg, the file size is only about 120 MB for an hour long video.

Here is the command to make the video:

ffmpeg -loop 1 -i bookbytes-video-image.png -i bb-023.mp3 -c:v libx264 -tune stillimage -c:a aac -b:a 192k -pix_fmt yuv420p -shortest bb-023.mp4

Or, even better, add this to your ~/.bashrc file in a function:

# $1 input_image
# $2 input_mp3
# $3 output_mp4
imageAndAudioToVideo() {
  ffmpeg -loop 1 -i $1 -i $2 -c:v libx264 -tune stillimage -c:a aac -b:a 192k -pix_fmt yuv420p -shortest $3

Then you can run it like this:

imageAndAudioToVideo bookbytes-video-image.png bb-023.mp3 bb-023.mp4


I got the command from this helpful answer on Superuser.

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Written by Adam Garrett-Harris, a podcaster and software engineer in Utah. You should follow him on Twitter