Take Picture Snapshot of a Video Using VLC Media Player

If you have a video for which you want to extract a frame of it as a picture, then VLC is the right tool for you. VLC allows you to take snapshots of your favorite parts of a video file. This way, that part of the video is exported as an image. You can use that image for your own purposes such as sharing, turning it into a wallpaper or just saving it in your folder.

VLC has an inbuilt option called snapshots and you will learn how simple it is to take one. Just click a button or hit a shortcut key. Your picture is automatically saved into a folder of your computer.

To take snapshots in VLC:

  1. Make sure that the video for which you want to take the snapshot is playing.
  2. When you reach the part of the video which you want to save as a picture, pause it if you want.
  3. Press the shortcut for taking snapshot. This method works the best. Default shortcut:
  4. In Windows: SHIFT + S
  5. In Linux: CTRL + ALT + S
  6. In Mac OS X: Command + ALT + S
  7. Instead of the above hotkey, on the menu bar you can press Video > Snapshot to save a snapshot.
  8. The option is also available by hitting right click on the video and from that menu selecting Video > Snapshot
  9. You know that taking a snapshot has been successful if you see a thumbnail of the snapshot on top of the player along with its saved file location and file name. This will fade away quickly.

Where are the Snapshot Files Saved?

Snapshot files are automatically saved to default locations based on the operating system that you use.

In Windows 7: Snapshots are saved in C:\Users\username\My Pictures

In Windows XP: Snapshots are saved in C:\My Documents\My Pictures

* Assuming that Windows documents folder or user folder is in C: drive.

In Linux: Snapshots are saved in $(HOME)/.vlc/

In Mac OS X: Snapshots are saved in Desktop/

Configuring Snapshot Directory and Formats

You can also choose where the snapshots are saved, its format (PNG, JPG TIFF) and the file name of the saved picture file. To configure this:

  • Go to Tools > Preferences [CTRL + P]
  • In Simple Preferences, choose Video and configure the following options under Video snapshots:
    1. Directory: Browse to the directory where you want the video snapshots files to be saved.
    2. Prefix: The file name prefix which is automatically appended with the date/time of the file creation. Check the sequential numbering box if you want to use numbers instead of current date/time.
    3. Format: Choose between png, jpg and tiff.
      Video Snapshots Options
  • Hit Save when you are done.

38 thoughts to “Take Picture Snapshot of a Video Using VLC Media Player”

    1. If you didn’t find the answer elsewhere:

      In the Advanced Preferences:

      Click the preference category labeled as ‘Video’ from the list on the left.

      On the right it will display options, and will begin with the header:
      ‘General video settings’

      Between ‘Video snapshot format’ and ‘Use sequential numbers instead of timestamps’, there will be an option labeled:
      ‘Display video snapshot preview’

      To disable the onscreen thumbnail that appears when taking a snapshot, you’ll want to make sure that that option is unchecked.

      Hope that helps.

  1. Please advise if i am able to snapshot videos in VLC for Android (VLC 3.2.12). Thank you. If i am, can you please tell me how.

    1. They don’t have such a feature for phone apps yet. We can use the phone’s snapshot feature to take a snapshot of a video playing. But you’d have to time it well. Pause the video, tap on the screen once and all the on-screen controls will be gone. Then all you have to do is press, volume down + lock(power) button for Android phones and for iPhones, press the side button and volume up. That’ll do the trick until an in-app snapshot feature for VLC shows up.

    1. Just right click on the bottom toolbar > View > Advanced Controls. That will add a snapshot button below your video.

  2. Hiya
    A problem I can’t fix is capturing the actual frame I am looking at. VLC does fine for a few seconds, then captures previous frames, and it the end, just captures the same frame over and over again. This problem did not happen until I had the last but one update. Anybody have any idea why?

  3. How do you make it take a snapshot every X seconds? The options I have configured in VLC only work when I press Shift+S manually.

  4. Not working for me. The screenshots are green. Tried once with Shift + S and once R-clicking and using the Take Snapshot method. Both came up w/ their proper file names, but no actual picture. Video was paused, so I should have two identical shots. Well, I do have two identical shots, but only because they’re completely green.

    1. got exactly the same thing..just started recently as of yesterday 17 may 2019. I’ve had and used VLC for years

    2. I had this problem too with some of my videos. If you really need the snapshots.. go to Menu Tools> Preferences > Input / Codecs and temporarily disable “Hardware Accelerated Decoding”. Works for me everytime!

  5. Greetings,
    I must preface this with admitting my lack of tech saviness…I am using UBUNTU and cannot seem to take any snapshots on VLC. I have tried the short cut keys and more direct commands all to no avail. I sure would appreciate any help that could be offered.
    Thanks so much,

  6. There used to be an option for taking automatic snapshots every 100 miliseconds or so, but I can’t find those anymore.

    1. Tools>Preferences>Show Preferences to All>Video>Filters>Scene Filter
      Also click on Filters and make sure Scene video filter is ticked.

  7. Recently downloaded VLC Player for my Mac and tried out Snapshot and the above article says the pics are saved to Desktop but while I get the small window within VLC Player of the snapshot that fades away, there are no pics on my desktop and I can’t find them in Downloads or anywhere else.

    Where are the Snapshots going?

    1. Can you configure the directory where it is saved by following the second part of the tutorial above and give it another go?

  8. I just tested with 4K video and the frame capture is an actual frame, 8mp (actually a bit more: 384- x 2178, 8.36mp) same as original frames.
    The only thing missing from this program for this purpose is the ability to advance the video slowly and smoothly, by holding down the R arrow key (and reverse by holding down the L arrow key). Pressing the Single Frame advance is way too slow and is not reversible.

  9. Is the “snapshot” a frame grab at the same resolution as the original video, or is it a screenshot at the resolution of the monitor?

  10. In version 2.x, on MacOS X, the captures are saved in the user’s Pictures folder (or from command line: ~/Pictures)

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