The format for ffmpeg's bitrate argument seems to have changed recently, because I was having similar problem the other day when using ffmpeg standalone.
Even though I was entering the bitrate command as I usually did, such as "-b 700", the final file instead had the default bitrate (200k for mpeg1), and the shell output as it was encoding would show the bitrate as zero! But I finally figured it out with some Googling and a careful reading of the man file. It turns out that the -b option is now being read as bits
per second, instead of kilobits, and since the bitrate I gave was now too low for the format, it instead was falling back to the default. Changing the command to "-b 700k" fixed it.
I don't know exactly when this behavior changed, but it must be pretty new. The Tovid wiki changelog
shows that versions from 0.29 up support the "k" suffix. So perhaps your trouble is kind of the reverse of mine. If you're using an older version of ffmpeg that's still expects the old style, then Tovid 0.30 would be handing it a bitrate option it can't recognize, forcing it to fall back to the default. So make sure you're using the newest versions of both ffmpeg and Tovid.