Get ffmpeg information in friendly way

A bit late, but perhaps still relevant to someone..

ffprobe is indeed an excellent way to go. Note, though, that you need to tell ffprobe what information you want it to display (with the -show_format, -show_packets and -show_streams options) or it’ll just give you blank output (like you mention in one of your comments).

For example, ffprobe -v quiet -print_format json -show_format -show_streams somefile.asf would yield something like the following:

  "streams": [{
    "index": 0,
    "codec_name": "wmv3",
    "codec_long_name": "Windows Media Video 9",
    "codec_type": "video",
    "codec_time_base": "1/1000",
    "codec_tag_string": "WMV3",
    "codec_tag": "0x33564d57",
    "width": 320,
    "height": 240,
    "has_b_frames": 0,
    "pix_fmt": "yuv420p",
    "level": -99,
    "r_frame_rate": "30000/1001",
    "avg_frame_rate": "0/0",
    "time_base": "1/1000",
    "start_time": "0.000",
    "duration": "300.066",
    "tags": {
        "language": "eng"
  "format": {
    "filename": "somefile.asf",
    "nb_streams": 1,
    "format_name": "asf",
    "format_long_name": "ASF format",
    "start_time": "0.000",
    "duration": "300.066",
    "tags": {
        "WMFSDKVersion": "",
        "WMFSDKNeeded": "",
        "IsVBR": "0"

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