Mastering AV Files with Matroska, FFV1 and FFmpeg


An in-depth discussion of how archives can implement the Matroska container and the FFV1 video codec, by performing a little Bash programming with the FFmpeg tool. All case studies are real world ones and include both «worlds»:

  • Y′CBCR 4:2:2 8-bit and 10-bit stream-based «video»;
  • RGB and R′G′B′ 4:4:4 10-bit, 12-bit, 14-bit and 16-bit single-image-based «film».

Various workflows will be presented and analysed.

This is an advanced course, starting with a refresher on colour model, chroma subsampling, linear and logarithmic coding, and bit-depth. The attendees should be familiar with the command-line interface and possibly have elementary FFmpeg knowledge. A personal laptop with Bash and FFmpeg installed is necessary. Small exercise files will be provided on flash drives, but the participants are also invited to bring their own files.

Your Guidance

  • On Friday 7 October 2016, from 14:00 to 17:00, at our company AV Preservation by in Écublens (a suburb of Lausanne, Switzerland).
  • The admission is free, but an inscription is required, as the places are limited to six persons.
  • In the morning an optional visit of our facility may be organised.
  • And in the evening an optional dinner at John Kerry’s favourite crêperie in Ouchy is organised.


Having graduated in mathematics and computer science, Reto Kromer became involved in audio-visual conservation and restoration thirty years ago. He was head of preservation at the Swiss National Film Archive, and lecturer at the University of Lausanne and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. He has been running his own preservation company and lecturing at the Bern University of Applied Sciences. His current research includes colour spaces, look-up tables and codec programming and emulation.