How to Take Automated Screenshots at Certain Intervals in VLC

We can configure VLC Media Player to automatically take screenshots at certain intervals for a video that is being played. Normally, snapshots can be captured in VLC by going to Video > Take Snapshot [Shift + S]. But it extracts only one frame. Suppose, you want to click a photo every 30 seconds, then there is another trick with VLC. You can easily take batch screenshots with the Scene video filter. A bit of calculation and changes in the advanced setting are necessary periodic screenshots. With the scene filter, we can’t exactly define time intervals but we can define frame intervals. So, as an example, we can set it as, “After every 200 frames of video, take a photo”.

The steps to take automated screenshots at certain intervals in VLC Media Player:

  1. Go to Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P].
  2. Click on All to show Advanced Preferences.
  3. Select Video from the left.
  4. Under Snapshot, browse and select folder to specify a Video snapshot directory.
    Advanced Preferences Video
  5. Next, expand and navigate to Video > Filters from the left.
  6. Check the ☑ Scene video filter.
    Checking on the Scene Filter
  7. Expand further, Video > Filters > Scene filter, and set the Recording ratio.
    Configuring Scene Filter

    Recording ratio is the frame interval after which an automatic screenshot is taken. For a 30 frame per second (fps) video, entering 300 as Recording ratio would take a screenshot every 10 seconds and 1500 would make it 50 seconds. To find out the fps of a movie, open a video and go to Tools > Codec information [Ctrl + J].
    Note: For some entering the Directory path prefix to store the images in the target directory willbe required.
  8. Hit Save to keep your changes.

Now, if you open up a video and hit play, VLC will automatically take periodic screenshots for it. It will be saved in the video snapshot directly. By default, it is the pictures directory but you have set it as shown in the steps above. The settings will stick, meaning that it will take screenshots for any video that is played using the software. To disable it, go to Advanced Settings and disable the Scene filter from Video > Filters by unchecking it.

25 thoughts to “How to Take Automated Screenshots at Certain Intervals in VLC”

  1. One step that was left out was that in step 7, in the “Scene video filter” dialog, you need to enter the full path for where the images are to be stored. For automated screenshots, VLC does not seem to recognize the folder you designated for screen shots on the main “Video” dialog shown in step 4.

  2. I have a 17 seconds video of 30 FPS.
    I set the recording ratio to 6,
    expecting to get 5 pictures per second.
    That is 80 to 90 pictures from this video.

    VLC gives me 133 to 138 pictures when I set the format to jpg.
    VLC gives me 70 to 75 pictures when I set the format to png.

    Any ideas?

  3. I’ve tried following the steps you outlined along with the troubleshooting questions and I still can’t get my VLC player to take continuous screenshots. Is there anything else I can do to get my VLC screenshots to work?

    1. It didn’t work for me the first time but I ran it a second time and it worked perfectly. Just follow the directions to the t. I just wish it would put time stamps on the frames.

    2. I have the same trouble. In fact, you must Save at each step (and reopen Advanced Preferences). In particular just after you Check the ☑ Scene video filter.

  4. I am trying to extract frames from multiple videos with one “open folder” or open multiple files…but the output (defined at Scene Video Filter) jpeg file names are overriding themselves…Ideas?

  5. I have multiple 1 second mp4 videos recorded at 30 fps …I put 1 in the recording ratio expecting to get 30 jpegs…Instead I get 8-10…?

    1. How many fps is your video? If it is 30 then i would input 30. Enter an amount equal to the frames per second of the video and see if it works. To see the video information hit CTRL + J on Windows.

  6. I guess I am just wasting my time. I followed the steps rechecked 3 times but just couldn’t get the results. Besides, I was (still am) interested in getting one file with sheet of say 24 smaller screenshots than 24 separate images, which I believe is what this process entails.

  7. Followed these instructions. It made the capture but instead of making several images it made one and kept replacing it.

    1. You can try choosing Tools > Preferences > All (Advanced Preferences) > Video and under Snapshot check the option that says “Use sequential numbers instead of timestamps“. I have a feeling that VLC is just choosing the same filename over and over again, and having numbered files will certainly help.

  8. hi, thanks for the tip. now how is it possible to change the Filename prefix?
    i would like to have the video name + sequential number / frame number.

  9. Doesn’t work for me, regardless of adding the directory path prefix 🙁
    Also restarted VLC, re-installed VLC (it had saved my preferences though so maybe a bad re-install, but I had only downloaded it earlier today). I also tried restarting my laptop. I’m on MacOS.

  10. I think you missed a step as I didn’t get VLC to record from your directions. I found another site that added a step by adding the directory path to the “Scene Video Filter” page.

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