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FFMPEG: Overlay a video on a video after x seconds

Oskar Ahlroth
Maker of Glitterly
・2 min read

I’m currently working on a video editor and there is a feature where you can select a gif from Giphy and overlay it on top of your video after a header transition.

With FFmpeg you can manipulate, combine, add effects with filters. There is a filter called overlay - that we can use.

This did not work as I expected:

To apply a filter after a certain amount of time we'll use the option enable (this option allows for timeline editing).

The below script overlays the gif.mp4 on top of main_video.mp4 during the 1 - 3 seconds duration.

ffmpeg -i main_video.mp4 -i gif.mp4 -filter_complex
-map [out] complete.mp4

** [0:v] --> first video (main_video.mp4)
** [1:v] --> the second video (gif.mp4)
** [out] --> first and second video combined into one after the overlay.

Problem: gif.mp4 will start playing from the beginning so after 1 second has passed the gif video will be 1 second in already.


Use the setpts filter to delay the overlay video (gif.mp4) start with x seconds.

ffmpeg -i main_video.mp4 -i gif.mp4 -filter_complex
-map [out] complete.mp4

The setpts filter evaluates its expression and assigns the value as the timestamp for the current frame it is processing. For a detailed explanation check out this awesome post.

For setpts=PTS-STARTPTS+1/TB:
** +1 is the time in seconds we want to delay our offset
** TB is the timebase.

Too see the gif-overlay in action check out Glitterly - a web based video editor I've been working on.

I'm constantly posting more FFmpeg tips and tricks on Twitter (and happy to answer any questions!) - @AhlrothOskar.

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