NeoFinder and ffmpeg

NeoFinder for Mac is able to generate video thumbnails from a variety of formats, many more than are supported by Apples ageing QuickTime technology.

It uses a very cool and powerful tool named ffmpeg. That is a command line tool that must be properly installed so that NeoFinder can find and use it.

If using the Terminal is complex for you, here is a simple step-by-step guide on how to get and install ffmpeg to be used with NeoFinder.

But first, why is ffmpeg not simply part of NeoFinder? That would be much easier, right?

Yes, it would be. But ffmpeg uses a license type called GPL, and that does not allow this software to be bundled by apps like NeoFinder. Sorry. We would love to directly include it, but we cannot legally do so.

So get your own ffmpeg!

Just visit

They offer a nice “Download Now!” button for you, marked in red here:


You will get a file named

or similar in your Downloads folder.

Please double click that ZIP file to uncompress it, if your browser didn’t already do it.

Now you have a folder named:


or similar, with three items in it:

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 15.02.02

You only need one of them, and that is – you have guessed it – called ffmpeg.

This file must be placed in /usr/local/bin/ for NeoFinder to find and use it.

How do we get it there?

First, launch Apples, to be found in your Utilities folder.

There, paste the entire following line, and hit return:

mkdir -p /usr/local/bin/

This will create the folder we need to place your ffmpeg into.

Permission denied?

If you get a message saying “Permission denied.”, you don’t have full administrator privileges. But those are needed to write to /usr/local/bin/.

You can get these special access privileges by using the su command in front of each regular Terminal command.

So the above command to create the folders would now be:

su mkdir -p /usr/local/bin/

When you enter that command, Terminal will ask you for your normal user password, and then proceed.

Copy ffmpeg

Next step is to actually copy the downloaded ffmpeg file into that location.

Again in, please use something similar like the following line:

cp /Users/yourname/Downloads/SnowLeopard_Lion_Mountain_Lion_Mavericks_Yosemite_El-Captain_02.05.2016/ffmpeg /usr/local/bin/

This is a bit tricky, as this cp (or “copy”) command requires you to give it the entire path of the downloaded ffmpeg file on your system, as well as the target folder path. The good news here is that there is a shortcut for this!

Just type the cp command first, followed by a blank. Then simply drag the ffmpeg file directly into your Terminal window! It will properly add the path to that file for you, no typing needed!

Then type another blank, and paste the destination path    /usr/local/bin/   there, and make sure to include the trailing / in this path.

When you hit return now in Terminal, it will bravely copy the ffmpeg file into the folder we have created.

If you again get the Permission denied message, use the su command, as outlined abive.

Test it!

To make sure that it works fine, just paste this line into Terminal now:


This should launch ffmpeg from the command line, and give you some diagnostic output about the ffmpeg version:

ffmpeg version 3.0.2 Copyright (c) 2000-2016 the FFmpeg developers
  built with llvm-gcc 4.2.1 (LLVM build 2336.11.00)

Now you can launch NeoFinder again, and it will happily find and use ffmepg, to catalog file formats like MPG, MXF (used by Sony XDCAM), M2V, M2TS, MPV, MTS, TS, and even VOB.


Crash me if you can!

We at West-Forest-Systems write the best and most stable software code in the world. Ever.

Yeah. Sure. 😉

Well, we are only humans. Humans make mistakes. And when we make a mistake during coding, bad things™ can happen. One of the worst of those is that our brave application crashes.

A crash means that the operating system does not know how to continue running that application, simply stops it, and wipes it out of its memory.

This can happen if a software tries to access a memory area that doesn’t belong to that application, or for many other technical reasons beyond the scope of this article.

The good news here is that Mac OS X has a really amazing and powerful support feature built-in for this exact case.

It is called the Crash Report. Such a report is automatically generated for each and every single crash that happens on your Macintosh computer.

This crash report contains a wealth of important and valuable information. For example, it tells precisely where and usually also why the software has crashed.

Of course, this is amazing, as it can help us, the developers, to locate and fix that particular cause for this inappropriate behaviour.

So how can you obtain this valuable crash report?

Apple has placed the organisation of all the crash logs of your system in the hands of the versatile This mighty helper is located in the Utilities folder, and yes, you have seen that folder already when you were looking for the Terminal in another entry of this blog here.

console-appIf you open up, you will be greeted by a quite complex window with lots of incomprehensible things in it.

Fear not, we will guide you safely through this maze!

console1The interesting part is located in the left region of that window, and it is called User Diagnostic Reports:

user diagnosticsIf that section, marked red in the screen shot above, is not open, please click into the little triangle in front of its name.

Then you can see a list of all crash reports that happened in your system.

The names of these reports indicate the application that caused the crash, followed by the date and the time of the crash.

If you select one of these reports, the content of that report is being displayed.

one reportAnd yes, that is still hard to comprehend for you, and that is OK. But it is a very valuable source of information for us, the developers, as we can actually read that log, and get amazing hints as to why and where the crash happened.

So it is very important that you email us that crash report ASAP. Fortunately, there is a very cool command for this right in the context menu.

mail it!

Please send any NeoFinder crash reports to , so we can investigate, and fix that as quickly as possible.

Thank you.