VLC HowTo/Transcode from Flash Video format

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This page describes how to fix broken .flv files. Other "how to" pages
This page is obsolete and kept only for historical interest. It may document features that are obsolete, superseded, or irrelevant. Do not rely on the information here being up-to-date.

You can use ffmpeg to change .flv files to .avi files (or one of many other types of files).

If you have problems playing .flv files, changing them to .avi will probably fix the problem.


VideoLan cannot write .avi, as you can read in the forum this funcionality is not yet fixed.


Precompiled windows binaries are avaliable at:

Pick the file ffmpeg-SVN-r6708-static-gpl-win32.zip (about 5MB)

Extract the files from the .zip and copy ffmpeg.exe to your Windows directory (Windows folder), or somewhere else in your search path.

Ubuntu users

Ubuntu users can type "sudo apt-get install ffmpeg" in terminal to install ffmpeg from repository.


Ffmpeg.exe is command-line based, so to use it you need to open a command prompt. In the start menu pick "Run", and type


into the box and press enter. This opens a cool black box with white text. It'll say something like C:\>.

At the prompt, type

cd "somewhere"

where "somewhere" is the path to the folder where you saved your files, it's probably something like

cd "c:\windows\profiles\user\Desktop\"

Then press enter. You can find out the path (location) of a file by right clicking on the file and selecting properties.

Finally type

ffmpeg -i "your_file.flv" "your_file.avi"

and press enter. This takes "your_file.flv" as the input file and spits out "your_file.avi" as an avi file. Job done (at last!)

Close the command prompt by closing the window as normal, or typing "exit".

Automating Conversion with VBScript

If you prefer to convert a file using the right-click menu, you can try this VBScript: ConvertAndPlayInVLC_vbs.txt. The following assumes that you have downloaded and unpacked the ffmpeg zip archive.

To Install the Script

  1. Download the script to the same folder where you have ffmpeg.exe (any folder, not necessarily in the search path)
  2. Using Windows Explorer or My Computer, rename the file from the .txt extension back to .vbs (if you cannot see the extension, use Tools > Folder Options..., View to stop hiding file extensions)
  3. Right-click the file and choose Create Shortcut
  4. Copy/Paste or Drag the shortcut to your SendTo folder (c:\Documents and Settings\Username\SendTo); you can rename it to something shorter if you like

To Use the Script

Right-click your .flv file, choose the Send To "fly-out" menu, and then your shortcut. The script will run ffmpeg.exe in a command window and then play the newly created avi file in VLC.