[Tex/LaTex] Did anyone succeed in playing embedded movies inside Acrobat in Linux


Some time ago I asked this question How to include a movie in a PDF? Step by step instructions. (I tried everything documented there, and links therein. I can't find the combination of tools to be able to playback embedded movies in a PDF viewer in Linux.)

This time I am going to be more direct: Was anyone, with a certain combination of tools and viewer, able to create a PDF from TeX with an embedded movie and play it back in a Linux viewer (for example some version of Acrobat)?

If, so what package, tex version, acrobat version was used?

EDIT 2014

Thanks to @AlexG, great advances have been made regarding the inclusion of movies and in particular the playback in Linux. It is just a pity that Acrobat for Linux is at its end of life (not so much for Adobe but because nobody is picking up the torch for embedded media).

This edit simply summarizes a working solution that is illustrated by defining a command \includemove[dimensions]{moviewithoutextension}, that produces movies that can be played back in Acrobat 9.4.1 (Linux), Acrobat for Windows and Mac and that fallbacks to external players (and a still picture) in other PDF viewers.


  1. You have a copy of jw-player 5.10 (not 5.9 or 6.x) in your local directory and it is named player.swf. (from here http://developer.longtailvideo.com/trac/browser/tags/mediaplayer-5.10, documentation here: http://www.longtailvideo.com/support/jw5/31138/configuration-options)
  2. You have ffmpeg version 2.1.4.
  3. You have a copy of your movie in the mp4 format. Any movie can be converted in this way

    ffmpeg -i $MYMOVIE.vid -vf scale="trunc(iw/2)*2:trunc(ih/2)*2" -c:v libx264 -profile:v high -pix_fmt yuv420p -g 25 -r 25 $MYMOVIE.mp4

    ffmpeg -i $MYMOVIE.vid -qscale 0 -vcodec libx264 -x264opts keyint=25 $MYMOVE.mp4

  4. A preview image with the same name but extension png. This can be achieved by converting your movie in this way and taking an snapshot:

    ffmpeg -i $MYMOVIE.mp4 -ss 00:00:2.1 -f image2 -vframes 1 $MYMOVIE.png

  5. [optional] A PDF image with the same name but pdf extension to replace the PNG preview in case Flash content is not active.

  6. You are OK using the packages hyperref (and media9 of course).

  7. [for playback] You have Acrobat 9.4.1 (for playback in Linux) or more modern versions in other systems.

  8. [for playback] For other PDF viewers: the extension mp4 is associated with some application and the movie is distributed with the PDF.

Limitations (of my poor implementation, not of media9)

  1. Only width and/or height can be specified as options.
  2. No other player than jw-player can be used (options are hardcoded in the command definition).
  3. It assumes a lot of defaults regarding the behavior of the embedded player.
  4. [For fallback] The definition tries it best to have a nice fallback mode for other viewers, and you have to choose (see the code) between embedding the movie or having an external file.
  5. [For playback] I don't know if it works in all viewers, it works at least in Acrobat 9.4.1 (Linux) and Evince 3.10.3 (Linux). I saw it work in Acrobat X in Windows and Mac after a "security message" confirmation.

Given this conditions, the following document that includes the definition of \includemovie and summarizes a working solution.


            screencolor=white& %improves render in light backgrounds
            %&bufferlength=10 % may improve repetition of short videos
    ]{ % for disabled content (in most cases this is fallback)
            %   \href{run:#2.mp4} % for not embedded fallback
                \textattachfile[color={0 0 0}]{#2.mp4} % for embedded fallback
                {\texttt{|\kern-.23em>}} % poor play button
            } & \raisebox{-\height}{\includegraphics[#1]{#2}}


\includemovie[width=5cm]{MYMOVIE} %no extension!


(note: you may benefit by producing JPEG snapshots, PNG are usually very big, sometimes as big as the whole movie)

Best Answer


As of 2013/11/04, package media9 contains media player Flash components VPlayer9.swf and APlayer9.swf. They are compatible with the (somewhat outdated) Flash Player 9 plugin that is bundled with Adobe Reader for Linux 9.4.1 and can be used for producing PDF documents with embedded video (MP4/H.264) and audio (MP3) which target this particular Linux version of Adobe Reader.

Alternatively, any Flash-based media player found on the Web which is Flash-9 compatible and which can be configured via FlashVars could be used. (Though the number of such players should be decreasing with the advent of newer Flash versions.)

NB: Flash and media playback was dropped in more recent Readers. AR-9.4.1 is the last version on Linux which supports Flash.

Adobe Reader 9.4.1 for Linux can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/reader/unix/9.x/9.4.1/.

Example code using cube.mp4 and VPlayer9.swf from the media9 package:



    source=cube.mp4     % same path as in addresource!
   &loop=true           % loop video
   &scaleMode=letterbox % preserve aspect ratio