Increase volume of Audio or Video file with FFmpeg

If you have an audio or video file with very low volume and the sound is barely audible you can increase it easily with the FFmpeg application. You don’t have to struggle with expensive applications or apps full of ads or spyware. FFmpeg is a powerful and popular open source application which supports almost all audio and video formats and you can do lot of things with it.

You can download the FFmpeg application for your computer from here
If you are running Windows on 64 bit machine, here is a direct link for downloading the zip

Unzip the downloaded file into a directory and open the command prompt (In windows systems type cmd in the Run dialog opened with Windows+R key press)

 

Type the following command to change to the folder where you unzipped and go to bin folder

cd C:\Users\Public\Downloads\ffmpeg-3.2.4-win64-static
cd bin

Type this command to increase the volume by 200%. Provide the correct location of the input and output files.

ffmpeg -i D:\input.wav -af "volume=2" D:\output.wav

Below command decreases the volume by half.

ffmpeg -i D:\input.wav -af "volume=0.5" D:\output.wav

You may see that the size of the output file may be significantly different than the input file. This could be because the codec type for encoding and bitrate used by FFmpeg may be different compared to the input format.

When you run the command abo

ve you can see the codec type and audio bitrate in the output as below. See the highlighted line.
You may want to use the same codec and bitrate as the input file for the same quality and file size.

AAC encoder is used by default in the prebuilt version of FFmpeg which does a decent job. There are newer codecs like He-AAC which provide higher compression but it requires rebuilding FFmpeg from the source due to licensing issues. We will not go into that. I would suggest to use Bitrate of atleast 64kbps for good quality audio.

To set bit rate of 64kbps and twice the volume use the following command

ffmpeg -i D:\input.wav -af "volume=2" -b:a 32k D:\output.wav

Shoonya intensive program at Isha Yoga Center

Read my experience of Inner Engineering Program here

Shoonya program is one of the advanced programs offered by Isha Yoga center. You are expected to have completed the Inner Engineering program to be eligible for this and also be regular with the Shambhavi Mahamudra practice. Also there is a huge demand for this program, so if you want to participate, make sure you register immediately as soon as it is announced on the Isha Yoga website. I participated in the Shoonya program in March 2017. I had to pay Rs.4000 for the program including accommodation and food.

I reached the Isha Yoga center in Coimbatore on the morning of the day the program starts. There was a long queue at the reception area for the program registration. There were around 300 people participating the program with both men and women from all parts of the world. After registration we were provided with ID tag which one needs to wear all the time so that we are allowed into the Ashram area. The program was conducted in the Adiyogi aalayam and were given room for keeping the luggage. Sleeping area for men was in the Adiyogi aalayam itself and the ladies were given separate sleeping space.

The program started with teaching the practice of Surya Namaskar. I had learnt this in Inner Engineering Program itself so it was not new to me. But I later heard that Surya Namaskar was not taught in Inner Engineering program anymore so they are teaching it in Shoonya program. One new aspect introduced in the Surya Namaskar was the visualization aspect where one has to visualize the subtle body while doing the asanas and also holding the poses for a longer time which makes it much harder and also more effective.

In the first two days of the program we were screwed big time asking us to do Sukha kriya and Aum chanting for long periods of time sitting in Ardha Siddhasan. This was supposed to be for creating the inner balance required for the initiation into Shoonya meditation. I struggled really bad with lot of pain in the legs but did observe increase in my Energy level. Also the place itself was brimming with some special energy which helped quite a bit especially getting up early in the morning as the program started at 6 in the morning everyday and we had to get up around 5. We were provided special food 3 times a day consisting mostly of Fruits and vegetables (Some typical south indian food item in the night) served by the dedicated volunteers.

We were also taught the steps for Shakthi chalana Kriya which has some advanced Pranayama steps like Kapalabhati and few other Kriyas. We are taught this step by step over 4 days and I was left wondering how many more steps are there in this Shakthi Chalana Kriya? Since all these Kriyas required empty stomach condition, we were usually showed videos of Sadhguru talking about different topics after every meal. Quite a few videos were about reviewing some teachings from Inner Engineering program like Taking responsibility for everything which was good to recap as I had forgotten about them.

On the third day we were initiated into the Shoonya meditation. We were divided into smaller groups and taken to a separate room. We were provided a beeja mantra and provided instructions on how to do Shoonya meditation. We were asked not to utter the mantra loudly and not to share it with others. Also one of the interesting condition of Shoonya meditation is to approach it with no expectation that is to approach every meditation as though doing it for the first time and leaving the past experience behind. This was an interesting thing for me because I always judge a meditation session on whether it went good or bad and be disappointed if it was bad. Another aspect mentioned by Sadhguru was that Shoonya meditation does not use the mind and therefore more powerful compared to other meditation types which use the mind like chanting or concentration based. We were warned that it is dangerous to do Shoonya meditation for long time and can damage the body due to reduction in metabolic activity and restrict to the stipulated time of around 15 minutes. Sadhguru mentioned that Initiation process of Shoonya had been toned down due to a person damaging his body due to overtime of Shoonya meditation.

On the last day we completed the steps of Shakthi Chalana Kriya and clarified the doubts about the practices. We were told to do the practice twice daily for at least 40 days and once daily after that. Overall it was a very intense three and half days in the Shoonya program and I recommend everyone to try it out to take the spiritual practice to the next level. I will write again after practicing this for some time.

My Experience of Isha Inner Engineering Retreat

Inner Engineering program was created by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, the founder of Isha Foundation. The word Sadhguru as explained by Jaggi Vasudev means uneducated Guru, the one who became Guru from inner experience. I participated Inner Engineering program at Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore in 2014. Here I try to capture my experience and thoughts about the program.

My State of Mind before attending Inner Engineering
I was a spiritually inclined person right from childhood having read Bhagavad Gita and tried out Yoga in High School.  I won’t say that I am fully passionate about Enlightenment but was always fascinated about it. At the time in 2014, Even though I had a good job and decent personal life, I was really suffering internally. My mind was full of negativity and worries about my future.  I did not enjoy the work and was looking for a way out. Constant negative thoughts an self doubts were depressing me. I had done Reiki Level 1 course couple of months back and was practicing Reiki daily. I had started to wonder if Reiki was amplifying my issues. I tried few counseling sessions as well to understand what’s going on. I had seen few youtube videos of Sadhguru which talked about Inner Engineering program, so I  decided to attend this. My thinking was I have nothing to lose by attending this and hopefully I will get some benefits so let’s try it out.

Claims
The program claims multiple benefits like Stress-free living, Better Health, Mental clarity and Enhanced Perception. It also claims to be a scientific approach for Inner wellbeing based on the ancient Indian practice of Yoga. (Source: http://ishayoga.org)

Place
Isha Yoga Center is located about 30 km from the in Coimbatore city center. There are regular buses from Gandhipuram area in Coimbatore to Isha Yoga Center. Without knowing how far the place is, I took an auto from Bus stop to the place and regretted badly as the auto took ages(Took Around 2 hours!) to reach the place. I reached there at night around 9 PM and was provided a nice room to stay. I did not had dinner so they were kind enough to point me to the place in Ashram where they serve free food. The place also has the DhyanaLinga Temple which is a great place for Meditation.

Program
The Program was spread over 3 days with healthy mix of talks teaching fundamental concepts, Yog Asans(Physical postures and exercises like Surya Namaskar), Physical and Mental awareness games and most importantly the Shambhavi Mahamudra Kriya. The teachers were very nice and helpful answering our queries and helping with the nitty gritties of the process. All the participants were provided name tags and the interesting thing was they randomly placed the tags around the place at the start of each session so that people sit with different people and get to know them.

The crux of the program is about the teaching and transmission of Yogic Kriya called as Shambhavi Mahamudra. We were taught Asanas like Patangasan, Shishupalasan, cat stretch, Surya Namaskar etc.in the first two days. Before doing the Kriya it was recommended to do these warmup exercises to prepare the body for Shambhavi. Shambhavi Mahamudra is a 21 minute process consisting of multiple steps including Pranayam, Om chanting, fast breathing etc. Over 3 days we were taught individual steps separately and then on the final day it came together as the complete Kriya.
Kriya is an action performed to change internal energy system of the body. There are multiple bodies in a Human system like Physical, Mental and Energy bodies. Changes in Energy body can change the physical and mental bodies helping in fixing things and maintain balance.
We were repeatedly warned not to try teach others outside about the Kriya and only qualified teachers can teach it. Also apart from the procedure of the steps to be performed there is an element of Spiritual Transmission for the Kriya to be effective. We were played an audio tape of Sadhguru for transmission of Shambhavi Mahamudra. We were informed that a special environment was created there for safe transmission of this teaching and it can be dangerous if not learned from the right sources and done incorrectly. The steps were fairly simple and anybody could do them without much difficulty.

During the process of Transmission I could hear many people crying, laughing or going crazy. I personally didn’t have any special experience apart from typical excitement. We were asked to perform the Kriya 2 times a day for 50 days and then continuing the practice once everyday.

Food
The Food was the best part of the program. We were served with wholesome and delicious Vegetarian food. It was a delight to eat the food everytime. And the smile of the Volunteers serving the food made it even better. Before eating the food there was a practice of chanting a Upanishad hymn of Sahanavavatu. Sadhguru mentions that waiting a while and chanting when the food is in front of you instead of grabbing it immediately can greatly increase spiritual awareness.

After Inner Engineering
I was determined to practice the Shambhavi daily and followed the process everyday twice for initial 50 days. For the initial one week I did not notice much change but after that I suddenly noticed that my mind had cleared and the constant worries disappeared. The negativity had dissolved and I was free from the mental baggage. I could stop my counselling sessions continue with my job in much better mental state. I have been practicing this for about 3 years now, though the frequency is reduced to 2 to 3 days a week. I can see much better balance in my mind and calmness. But I have noticed that the passion has disappeared and I do the practice just for the sake of doing it and I don’t seem to be making any progress anymore. I need to bring some passion and alternate practices for any Spiritual progress. Due to the stillness in mind the habits I follow seem to reinforce strongly and it is not very easy to get out of it. I have got into habits of consumption for example like checking news websites every 5 to 10 minutes. This has made me susceptible to distractions and reducing productivity of my work. I am not sure if I can blame Shambhavi for this as ultimately we need to chose our habits carefully. I would suggest people to focus on creation instead of consumption habits as I have noticed that Creation is incredibly more liberating. One of the good things about folks at Isha is they don’t hound you asking to bring more people into the program like some of the other organizations do. I would still personally recommend everyone to try the Inner Engineering program and experience the benefits themselves.