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.


3 thoughts on “NeoFinder and ffmpeg”

  1. Running iMac(2011) with Sierra installed.

    On my machine already existed /usr/local/bin/
    In there was a symlink to ffmpeg that pointed to:
    /usr/local/Cellar/ffmpeg/2.2.2/ffmepg (dated 22 may 2014)

    So installed Homebrew (probably again, can’t remember)
    /usr/bin/ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL”

    Then executed “brew install ffmpeg” which gave me a lot of warnings that I resolved by executing :
    Big-Mac:bin imacbeheerder$ brew link –overwrite x264
    Linking /usr/local/Cellar/x264/r2795… 7 symlinks created
    Big-Mac:bin imacbeheerder$ brew link –overwrite xvid
    Linking /usr/local/Cellar/xvid/1.3.4… 3 symlinks created
    So…, now I hope Neofinder will find and use the correct ffmpeg.
    Please tell me I didn’t scr*w up…

    1. That is probably fine.
      If you use NeoFinder 7.1 or newer, you can also copy ffmpeg to the /Users/yourname/Library/Application Support /NeoFinder/
      folder and it will be detected by NeoFinder there as well, when needed.
      Also, the newer NeoFinder will display messages in Apples regarding the detection of ffmpeg…

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