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Video encoding using x264 and x265

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Before you can encode your video, you need to know what encoding is. Encoding is the process of converting a video file into another format so that it can be played on various devices. This can also include compression and metadata addition to help improve playback quality and efficiency. The two most popular encoders are x264 and x265, which are both free and open source. In this article we’ll explore how to use these tools (and others) for encoding your videos on Linux.


Video encoding is the process of taking your raw video file and turning it into something that can be played on a computer. There are many different kinds of encoders, but in this guide we’ll use x264 and x265 because they’re free and open-source.

The benefits to using x264 and x265 include:

  • They’re free. You don’t have to pay thousands of dollars for licensed software like you would with Adobe Premiere Pro or Avid Media Composer.

  • They’re fast. These programs encode quickly compared to other tools like Handbrake (which I will get into later). Also, they aren’t as resource-intensive so they can run smoothly even on low-end hardware like an older laptop or mid-range PC without overheating or running into issues due to lack of resources available from hardware limitations such as slow CPUs/GPUs which may cause problems with other programs like Handbrake at times where encoding takes longer than normal due to increased usage due partially by how much processing power needed for high quality output files so if this happens often enough then it could mean trouble down the road when trying new things out since those same old computers won’t exactly be able to handle newer programs very well anymore over time because their components just aren’t powerful enough anymore once reaching about 8 years old…and since most people still keep computers around for years upon years before upgrading them then this means there’s almost always something better out there right now!


X264 is a free software library for encoding video streams into the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format. It supports more than one thousand of x264’s advanced features, including 8×8 and 4×4 adaptive spatial transform, adaptive B-frame decision, adaptive loop filtering, two passes encoding and motion search precision tuning based on detailed statistics information. X265 is an open source HEVC encoder created by VideoLAN team which was previously known as x265 project. It supports all the latest features in Version 2 of the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard and can encode using any profile from Main to Level 5.1 except for Coding Tools which is only supported at level 4.


If you’re an avid YouTube viewer, you’ve probably noticed that some videos look sharper and more crisp than others. The reason for this is the codec used to encode the video file: x264 or x265. What’s a codec? A codec is just a way of compressing a large file into something smaller and more manageable, so that it takes less bandwidth to stream or download over the internet.

There are many different codecs out there, but these days x264 is mostly used for H.264 (AVC) encoding while x265 is usually used for HEVC encoding (also known as H265). Both offer great performance at lower bitrates compared with their predecessors (x264 / H.264 vs divx/HuffYUV), but x265 has become very popular in recent years due to its greater efficiency both in terms of speed and quality when compared with its parent format


AviSynth is a powerful tool for video editing, with some unique features that are not available in more popular programs like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro. We will use AviSynth to process our video in many ways, including converting it from one format to another and adding effects such as noise reduction and color correction.

To begin working with AviSynth you’ll first need to install it on your computer. If you are using Windows or Linux there is an installer package available here: []( For OSX users there is no official installer at this time so instead they should download the source code and compile it themselves (more details on this later).


Avidemux is a free video editor. It supports many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF. You can use it to cut, trim or split your videos without losing quality. You can also use it for basic effects like fade in/out and crop (using fixed aspect ratios).

You can download Avidemux builds from the official website or from other sites listed on their page.


MKVToolNix is a set of tools for working with MKV files. It can be used to mux, split and merge Matroska files. It can also be used to create simple slideshows and perform basic transcoding tasks.

Recommended hardware configurations

  • CPU: A modern processor with a large number of cores (8 or more) and good single-threaded performance. An AMD Ryzen 7 1700 or Intel Core i7-7700K is recommended for best performance.

  • GPU: A graphics card that supports OpenCL 2.0, such as an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti or AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 is recommended for best performance, although 4K encoding will still work on lower end cards like the AMD Radeon RX 480/570/580 and Nvidia GeForce GT 1030/1050 Ti

  • RAM: 16GB DDR4-2400 or higher is recommended for best performance on systems with more than one CPU core

Video encoding basics.

Video encoding, also known as transcoding, is the process of converting raw video files into a format that can be viewed in your favorite media player. This involves compressing the video into a smaller file size while maintaining the same quality of the original video. In short, it lets you watch your home movies on your phone or tablet!

The x264 and x265 encoders (apps) are used by many streaming services to convert their videos from high-quality source files into HLS/HDS streams at lower bitrates for playback over mobile networks.

Installing x264 and x265

You can install x264 and x265 using your Linux distribution’s package manager. For example, on Debian-based distributions (like Ubuntu), you would use apt-get:

sudo apt-get install ffmpeg libavcodec-extra

And for Fedora users:

sudo yum install ffmpeg

Encoding video using x264 and x265

If you want to encode video using x264 and x265, you need to first download them from the official websites:

  • x264

  • x265

Encoding with x264

The x264 command line tool is a free, open source software library and application for encoding video streams into the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC format. It is used by many streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. It’s also a popular choice for high definition home movies because it can compress files with very little loss in quality compared to other methods of compression like .mkv or .mp4 videos using Handbrake

x264 encoding has become popular among gamers since some game publishers released patches that made their titles compatible with this particular format.

Encoding with x265 (HEVC)

x265 is an open source HEVC encoder, designed for high quality video encoding. x265 can be used as part of a toolchain for encoding content, or as a stand-alone command line tool.

The x265 encoder is free software distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 3 or later. The code is available on GitHub:


AviSynth is a free, open-source suite of tools for video editing. Avidemux is also a free program, but it’s not open source. MKVToolNix is also free and open source; in fact, I get my copy from their website ( on Linux by downloading an RPM file with the name “mkvtoolnix-0_9_9_6-linux-x86_64-” (the last part of which will be different depending on what version number you download). Finally, x264 and x265 are both encoders developed by Multimedia Research Group at University of Southern California.

Other tools used in the scripts

In addition to the x264 and x265 tools, you’ll need some other applications. AviSynth is a framework for recording and editing video, which allows for automated macro processing of video files. It can be used with any other compatible program that supports scripting. Avidemux is a free video editor that can also be used in conjunction with AviSynth scripts, as well as many other open source projects such as OpenShot or Lightworks. MKVToolNix provides some useful utilities for working with multi-track MKV files, converting them into various formats (including audio-only) and joining them together into one file. Lastly, eac3to can help you rip audio tracks from DVDs or BluRay discs if you don’t want the whole movie but just want those awesome soundscapes on their own!


Now you can encode your video using x264 and x265. In the future, we may add support for other encoders.