QWinFF: Simple Audio & Video Encoder

“QWinFF” is an open source, very easy to use audio & video encoder that can be used in MS Windows and GNU/Linux. The UI is written in Qt toolkit and it uses the “ffmpeg” (a collection of software libraries for handling multimedia files) as the actual encoding engine.

Although you can convert few video formats with it, but I’d like to think of it as primarily being an audio encoder as you cannot convert between a lot of video formats. But nonetheless it is a small but a good looking application.

I don’t know how it’s with Windows but when it comes to “Ogg” encoding, you’ll have to manually adjust a setting in “QWinFF”, otherwise no matter what bitrate you enter, the output file will have a higher bitrate (a bug I suppose) plus resulting a file size which is bigger than the source file! (depending on the source file’s bitrate of course).


But luckily, it’s only happens with Ogg Vorbis and is somewhat easily fixable (more below).

Main features …

Since it uses the awesome “ffmpeg” engine, you can add any popular multimedia file and convert it to :

*. Audio formats such as: MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG Vorbis, AC3, WMV.

*. To video formats such as: FLV, MPG, AVI (with MP3 and MPEG4 codecs), DV, WMV and RM (real media).

It also has built in presets (such as DVD NTSC/PAL and few other popular mobile devices such as Apple iPod, Sony Bravia etc) which automatically adjusts the video resolution, audio bitrates accordingly.

*. You can also remove either the audio or the video track which is handy while getting the audio track out of a nerdy video file for instance ;-).

*. Change video settings such as: Resolution, bitrate, crop (you can’t have a live preview doing it though), add “Deinterlace” filter or use the same values as in the source video track.


*. Change audio settings such as: Bitrate, sample rate, enable/disable variable bitrate, change channels and gain volume.

*. It also has a tab called “Advanced” which lets you change the command-line parameters used by “ffmpeg”.

Before we can install in Ubuntu, there are few dependencies that you have to install.

If you use Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, 10.10 and 10.04 then use the below commands (you can also use the “Medibuntu” repository, but I don’t know if it was bad timing or something, because I couldn’t get the dependencies using that repository, but was able to do it using the PPA provided by “Jon Severinsson” and I humbly suggest you to try it).

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:jon-severinsson/ffmpeg

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg libavcodec-extra-52

If you use Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, then please use the below commands instead.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:jon-severinsson/ffmpeg

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg libavcodec-extra-53

After that, please go to this QWinFF home page and download the proper “.deb” package (also has packages for Windows) and once the download completes, double click on it and Ubuntu Software Center should install it for you.

Then you can either use the desktop menu or in Unity just search for “qwinff” and it should find it for you.

If video encoding fails, the below trick should fix it.

By default I couldn’t convert any video file using it. Every time I tried, it gave me the “failed” error (errrr ;-)).

But you can easily fix it by first opening the QWinFF. And then from it’s main menu go to: “File” -> “Options” and form the next window you get, under “Number of threads to use in conversion”, replace the default value of “4” with “1” as shown below. That should do it.


Fixing the Ogg Vorbis file size issue

(again this is only valid while converting something into OGG Vorbis files, others audio formats work really well)

I wanted to convert a MP3 file with a lower bitrate, so the output file should have a smaller size. But what happened was that, no matter how much I lowered the audio bitrate, the output file was even bigger than the source file! as it had a huge bitrate.

I guess this is a bug, but the thing is, by default “QWinFF” adds a command-line parameter called “-aq 60” to Vorbis files.

The “-aq” is a parameter that sets the  audio quality of an OGG Vorbis file and I think this is a bug (mistype) as the highest value that “aq” or “q” can has is “10”.

Anyhow the thing is, no matter what changes you make to the bitrate, this “-aq” setting will over ride it thus the output file will have the maximum audio bitrate supported by OGG Vorbis!.

So whenever you want to encode a file into OGG Vorbis, first set its bitrate values and other stuff, then click on the “Advanced” tab (as shown below) and always make sure to remove the part “-aq 60” (select it using the mouse and press the “Backspace” key) then click the “OK” button. Unfortunately, you’ll have to do this every time.

Get rid of the naughty value of “-aq 60” 😉 …

But other than that “QWinFF” is a pretty solid looking multimedia converter. Good luck.

An RHCE, 'Linux' user with 14+ years of experience. Extreme lover of Linux and FOSS. He is passionate to test every Linux distribution & compare with the previous release to write in-depth articles to help the FOSS community.

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