OpenShot Library | libopenshot  0.2.7
Building libopenshot for MacOS

Getting Started

The best way to get started with libopenshot, is to learn about our build system, obtain all the source code, install a development IDE and tools, and better understand our dependencies. So, please read through the following sections, and follow the instructions. And keep in mind, that your computer is likely different than the one used when writing these instructions. Your file paths and versions of applications might be slightly different, so keep an eye out for subtle file path differences in the commands you type.

Build Tools

CMake is the backbone of our build system. It is a cross-platform build system, which checks for dependencies, locates header files and libraries, generates makefiles, and supports the cross-platform compiling of libopenshot and libopenshot-audio. CMake uses an out-of-source build concept, where all temporary build files, such as makefiles, object files, and even the final binaries, are created outside of the source code folder, inside a /build/ sub-folder. This prevents the build process from cluttering up the source code. These instructions have only been tested with the GNU compiler (including MSYS2/MinGW for Windows).


The following libraries are required to build libopenshot. Instructions on how to install these dependencies vary for each operating system. Libraries and Executables have been labeled in the list below to help distinguish between them.

FFmpeg (libavformat, libavcodec, libavutil, libavdevice, libavresample, libswscale)

ImageMagick++ (libMagick++, libMagickWand, libMagickCore)

OpenShot Audio Library (libopenshot-audio)

Qt 5 (libqt5)

CMake (cmake)

SWIG (swig)

Python 3 (libpython)

Doxygen (doxygen)

UnitTest++ (libunittest++)

ZeroMQ (libzmq)

OpenMP (-fopenmp)

CMake Flags (Optional)

There are many different build flags that can be passed to cmake to adjust how libopenshot is compiled. Some of these flags might be required when compiling on certain OSes, just depending on how your build environment is setup. To add a build flag, follow this general syntax: cmake -DMAGICKCORE_HDRI_ENABLE=1 -DENABLE_TESTS=1 ../

Obtaining Source Code

The first step in installing libopenshot is to obtain the most recent source code. The source code is available on GitHub. Use the following command to obtain the latest libopenshot source code.

git clone
git clone

Folder Structure (libopenshot)

The source code is divided up into the following folders.








Install Dependencies

In order to actually compile libopenshot and libopenshot-audio, we need to install some dependencies on your system. Most packages needed by libopenshot can be installed easily with Homebrew. However, first install Xcode with the following options ("UNIX Development", "System Tools", "Command Line Tools", or "Command Line Support"). Be sure to refresh your list of Homebrew packages with the “brew update” command.

NOTE: Homebrew seems to work much better for most users (compared to MacPorts), so I am going to focus on brew for this guide.

Install the following packages using the Homebrew package installer ( Pay close attention to any warnings or errors during these brew installs. NOTE: You might have some conflicting libraries in your /usr/local/ folders, so follow the directions from brew if these are detected.

brew install gcc48 --enable-all-languages
brew install ffmpeg
brew install librsvg
brew install swig
brew install doxygen
brew install unittest-cpp --cc=gcc-4.8. You must specify the c++ compiler with the --cc flag to be 4.7 or 4.8.
brew install qt5
brew install cmake
brew install zeromq

Mac Build Instructions (libopenshot-audio)

Since libopenshot-audio is not available in a Homebrew or MacPorts package, we need to go through a few additional steps to manually build and install it. Launch a terminal and enter:

cd [libopenshot-audio repo folder]
mkdir build
cd build
cmake -d -G "Unix Makefiles" -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=clang++ -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=clang ../ (CLang must be used due to GNU incompatible Objective-C code in some of the Apple frameworks)
make install
./src/openshot-audio-test-sound (This should play a test sound)

Mac Build Instructions (libopenshot)

Run the following commands to build libopenshot:

$ cd [libopenshot repo folder]
$ mkdir build
$ cd build
$ cmake -G "Unix Makefiles" -DCMAKE_CXX_COMPILER=/usr/local/opt/gcc48/bin/g++-4.8 -DCMAKE_C_COMPILER=/usr/local/opt/gcc48/bin/gcc-4.8 -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/usr/local/Cellar/qt5/5.4.2/ -DPYTHON_INCLUDE_DIR=/usr/local/Cellar/python3/3.3.2/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.3/include/python3.3m/ -DPYTHON_LIBRARY=/usr/local/Cellar/python3/3.3.2/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/3.3/lib/libpython3.3.dylib -DPython_FRAMEWORKS=/usr/local/Cellar/python3/3.3.2/Frameworks/Python.framework/ ../ -D"CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE:STRING=Debug"

The extra arguments on the cmake command make sure the compiler will be gcc4.8 and that cmake knows where to look for the Qt header files and Python library. Double check these file paths, as yours will likely be different.


If you are missing any dependencies for libopenshot, you will receive error messages at this point. Just install the missing dependencies, and run the above commands again. Repeat until no error messages are displayed and the build process completes.

Also, if you are having trouble building, please see the CMake Flags section above, as it might provide a solution for finding a missing folder path, missing Python 3 library, etc...

To run all unit tests (and verify everything is working correctly), launch a terminal, and enter:

make test

To auto-generate the documentation for libopenshot, launch a terminal, and enter:

make doc

This will use doxygen to generate a folder of HTML files, with all classes and methods documented. The folder is located at build/doc/html/. Once libopenshot has been successfully built, we need to install it (i.e. copy it to the correct folder, so other libraries can find it).

make install

This should copy the binary files to /usr/local/lib/, and the header files to /usr/local/include/openshot/... This is where other projects will look for the libopenshot files when building. Python 3 bindings are also installed at this point. let's verify the python bindings work:

python3 (or python)
>>> import openshot

If no errors are displayed, you have successfully compiled and installed libopenshot on your system. Congratulations and be sure to read our wiki on Becoming an OpenShot Developer! Welcome to the OpenShot developer community! We look forward to meeting you!