I'm trying to install ffmpeg on my mac OS X El Capitan version 10.11.6 Mid 2009 so I can use it's libraries: ffmpeg.exe, ffplay.exe, ffprobe.exe and be able to import/export mp4 and gif files to OpenToonz animation software. tutorials online including: https://opentoonz.readthedocs.io/en/latest/using_ffmpeg_with_opentoonz.html?highlight=Ffmpeg , the official guide from opentoonz, go the ffmpeg.org and download a pre-compiled package: 'static and shared builds for macOS 64-bit.

However, for me, only 'static builds for macOS 64-bit' shows up which allows me to download a .7z file or a ffmpeg.exe file but not the other libraries (ffplay.exe, ffprobe.exe).

How can I use ffmpeg with OpenToonz on macOSX el capitan? If I can't install ffmpeg and it's libaries from a static package, how can I install it from source so I can use it with OpenToonz?

I appreciate any help. ty.

  • Get an early copy of Handbrake?
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 0:25

2 Answers 2


At least one user found another answer hard to follow. So did I. After a bit of a struggle, I got OpenToonz 1.4 working with ffmpeg on a Mac running macOS Catalina (10.15). I installed the "static files." I did not build from source. Here is what I did:

  1. download ffmpeg, ffprobe, ffplay and ffserver from the download page. The download links are displayed in large green buttons and there are several on the page.

  2. Extract these compressed files to your system.

  3. copy the executables to /Applications/OpenToonz/OpenToonz_stuff/plugins

  4. control(right)-click > open each of the executables you moved into the plugins folder. This is necessary due to macOS security. The programs will run in the terminal and then report an error. That is OK.

  5. open System Preferences > Security & Privacy. Go to the Privacy tab. Enable OpenToonz under the Accessibility category.

  6. start OpenToonz. Open Preferences > Import/Export. Set the file path for ffmpeg: /Applications/OpenToonz/OpenToonz_stuff/plugins

Restart OpenToonz. It should be working now (at least it was for me).

It was not clear to me which of the 4 executables OpenToonz actually needs so I installed them all. It would be better to find out which ones are actually needed and install only those. Maybe at some time in the future I'll do that.

  • thank you for these clear and helpful steps. It's been almost two years since I was trying to use OT 1.4 with a 09 running 10.11.6. I think I managed to run ffmpeg and export by using an older version of open toons and ffmpeg under the history download directory on the opentoons site. It's been a while since I opened the app itself. Hopefully, this helps someone who has no other choice but to use an older mac. Even better, hopefully they don't have to go through that and everything goes smoother for them with a more recent mac OS. Thanks Again Randall.
    – LVX-001
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 15:43

First step I guess is to copy the link of brew.sh of their page into your terminal.

Whatever you do until you get to your final result, ALWAYS have your setting - security panel open, because for any reason, your security settings will block all apps coming from elsewhere than App Store... you see, basically everything... :)

Then you go to the ffmpeg.org page, then select the apple Icon. then click on the link below it. it brings you to a page where you will have to click on the (showed on the same page, just under different names, look carefully because it seems that you have missed it) ffmpeg, play, and ffprobe (zip link) basically you will download 3 exec files.

Once you have dowloaded them, go to Application on your Finder and click on opentoonz stuff to create a folder (simple) called ffmpeg.

Then move the 3 exec files to it, and right click on them and open it with Terminal.

Here comes the issue, you have to open your security panel to allow the file (coming from elsewhere than App Store) with your approval then, you click open, and the terminal will do the work for you. You repeat this for the play and probe exec file and you should be set for the Opentoonz creativity to be exported into gif, mp4, etc...

  • 1
    These instructions are a bit hard to follow. Do you propose to actually install Homebrew in the first line? And if you do why not just install ffmpeg via Homebrew directly afterwards?
    – nohillside
    Commented Jan 10, 2021 at 16:32
  • Since terminal does not find such thing as this, I prefer to use the old method. When you enter the line you should allow it in your security panel. They will ask it four times, one for home-brew, one for FFmpeg, one for play, one for probe. I think you miss the link to play and probe as you mention. They are just below the page on FFmpeg.org, once you clicked on the apple icon.
    – user402304
    Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 12:30
  • Thanks for coming back, but it's still rather difficult to implement your answer. "copy the link of brew.sh of their page into your terminal" -> what is brew.sh, which page, which link, what does one need to do once it's copied into Terminal. Then, as mentioned already, why (presumably) install Homebrew if you get ffmpeg directly from ffmpeg.org (or the other way round: why download from ffmpeg.org if brew install ffmpeg works as well)?
    – nohillside
    Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 13:08
  • "go to Application on your Finder and click on opentoonz stuff to create a folder (simple) called ffmpeg" -> what does this mean, does this create a folder within /Applications?
    – nohillside
    Commented Jan 12, 2021 at 13:08
  • 1
    You need to get the 3 files on ffmpeg.org for mp4 export, he/she gets only 1. He/she needs to go back to ffmpeg.org and download 3 zip files (one for mmfpeg, one for play and one for prob) this being done. HE/SHE needs to copy the 3 unzipped files, find Opentoonz (in his/her Finder - Applications) and open the file called 'Opentoonz stuff' where there will be an empty file called "plugins" where he/she will past the 3 copied files. He/she will have to give access to the software, therefore, must right-click on each file (x3), and select 'open with terminal' then allow (x3) from security panel
    – user402304
    Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 17:10

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