How to encode h264 video files for Nokia Series 60 standalone playback

Bored with Spiderman 3 which came with your Nokia N95 8 GB? This guide shortly tells how to get movies into your N95 on Ubuntu Linux using ffmpeg video encoder. The aim is to encode video suitable for playback from Nokia N-series (N95, N78, others) mobile phone memory card. We use h264 + AAC codecs which provides the best quality/compression rate for Nokia phones currently.

Ubuntu does not distribute proprietary codes. First thing you need to do is to rebuild ffmpeg.  Since Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron ships with ffmpeg from 2007, which is aeons old in video codec years, you need to build libx264 and ffmpeg from SVN sources. Here are detailed, valid, instructions. Note that FFMPEG trunk is not currently stable (September 2008), so you need to use revision 15261 which needs this little patch. Indeed, this is a very difficult month to start your career in the dark world of video encoders.

To make it legal and support open source codec development,  please pay for your codecs.

Then we use this guide by Robert Swain. We have a tiny sub 2,4″ screen, we do not care about the quality and do one pass encoding. By empirical research, I have found that the following MPEG-4 profile parameters are compatible with N95 8 GB and provide the optimal result. You can vary video and audio bitrate depending on your taste.

Here is a script which recursivelu encodes all detected video files suitable for mobile format:

# Optimal movie encoding for Nokia N-series mobile phones
# Copyright 2008 Red Innovation Ltd. 
# Say hi if you find this useful.
# We do some professional mobile video publishing, so if you
# need a helping hand please call us.
# Usage: Run in any folder and all video files are recursively converted to mobile phone suitable format
# Note: We expect all the source material be in 16:9 aspect ration
# Also see,search,faq,general,video%20encoding,53848



# Assume locally build ffmpeg + x264 in /usr/local/bin
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib

# Search all source AVI, MPG and WMV video files
# Place all encoded files to the same folder with the source, with added .mp4 extension
find . -iname "*.avi" -or -iname "*.wmv" -or -iname "*.mpg" | while read src ; do
        srcfile=`basename "$src"`
	srcfolder=`dirname "$src"`

	# The magical string!
	# Size and cropping is for 16:9 source material, so that 320:240 display will have black bars.
	# Fex pixels off... note that h264 sizes must be multiplies of 16, use 256x144 for streaming
	# N95 RealMedia player does not seem to respect MPEG-4 embedded aspect ration info.
	/usr/local/bin/ffmpeg -y -i "$srcfile" -acodec libfaac -ab $AUDIO_BITRATE -s 320x176 -aspect 16:9 -vcodec libx264 -b $VIDEO_BITRATE -qcomp 0.6 -qmin 16 -qmax 51 -qdiff 4 -flags +loop -cmp +chroma -subq 7 -refs 6 -g 250 -keyint_min 25 -rc_eq 'blurCplx^(1-qComp)' -sc_threshold 40 -me_range 12 -i_qfactor 0.71 -directpred 3 "$dstfile"


3 thoughts on “How to encode h264 video files for Nokia Series 60 standalone playback

  1. Wow, it worked!
    (I didnt reinstall ffmpeg.. Im debian testing user)

    One thing though, there was no preview-image (in the folder of “My Videos”)?

    I have tried to encoding mp4-files for my N95, for a loong time now…
    (here are the previous successful line:

    mencoder -of lavf -lavfopts format=mp4 -oac lavc -ovc lavc -lavcopts aglobal=1:vglobal=1:acodec=libfaac:abitrate=128:vcodec=mpeg4:keyint=25:vpass=1 -ofps 25 -af lavcresample=44100 -vf yadif,scale,crop=384,harddup -zoom -xy 512 INPUTFILE.avi -o output.mp4 -idx

    (This is an modification of
    And it encode in mpeg4 video-format)

    (Here are another older post, that did something also:
    It produced something.. But I didnt get the idee of separating sound and video, and later boxing)

    An alternative to all these hassling is to install a DivX-payer on the phone: (it works good)

    I used to encode with mplayers mencoder, ffmpeg is something obscure cuttingedge (I dont know how many days your example will work).

    Im looking for a way to postprocessing recorded TV shows. Too a format that can be viewed in my N95, and also streamed on the web in a flashplayer. This demand mp4 (or possible old .flv). And I find the video codex h264 the best.

    I cant grasp if x264 and h264 is the same thing, or twat.

    What was that about paying for codex about???

    (strange, allot of fuzz.. Feels good when things working, for once


  2. Still strange, previous message awaiting moderation.

    I see options in your ffmpeg command, that doesnt have any reference (mystery).

    “-flags +loop” “-cmp +chroma” .. ???
    Nowhere tobe found in any documentations.

    ffmpeg have a documentation package in Debian. BUT, ist doxygen of its source. Uncompromisable!

  3. Hi Per Blomqvist , the mencoder is great, but maybe as u notice, you might have problems on other containers than AVI. I also have when creating mp4, etc.

    On their site they wrote:

    “The AVI container is the native container format for MEncoder, which means that it’s the one that is best handled, and the one for which MEncoder was designed. As noted above, other container formats are usable, but you may experience problems when using them.”

    So .. maybe ffmpeg can work better with other containers

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