I have to review for work various videos from different file formats but mostly are h264 in .mkv or .mov containers and take some screenshots of the most interesting stills in a small amount of time.

Actually I'm openenig videos with VLC and scrubbing the cursor on the time bar skipping lot of stuff, the way works but I'm not so precise.

Would be nice if I could find a program (for Windows) able to load all the movie on a timeline with various thumbs and zoom on the section in order to better dig the keyframe to screen.

Something like what professional programs do on the timeline but with this function only.

Timeline with stills from a movie


1 Answer 1


Daft as it sound you can actually do this from the command line with the ffmpeg component within imagemagick or you can download ffmpeg directly.

The trick is to use ffmpeg to get a set of stills from the movie, then narrow down the period(s) that you are interested in:

ffmpeg -i inputfile.avi -r 10 -s qvga -f image2 image-%04d0.jpg

will give you one QVGA, (320x240), image for each 10 seconds of the movie, you can then either use the montage command to combine them into a montage or use a file browser to browse and note down which image numbers look potentially interesting then use the -ss and -t options to set the start time with lower rates, (-r), and higher resolutions to narrow down the interesting bits, (I recommend deleting the jpeg files between runs.

If you know about when the screenshot you are looking for is then you can use the -ss & -t options from the start.

  • Thank you very much for ffmpeg suggestion, at this point i think i will pursue this direction. Small note the % on windows must be escaped as %%. Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 10:48
  • Ok i digged a bit the documentation and i come up even with a nice text overlay for the timecode with ffmpeg: ffmpeg -i inputfile.avi -filter_complex "fps=1/30, drawtext=fontfile=font.ttf: text='%%{pts\:hms}': x=100: y=50: fontsize=48: [email protected]: borderw=3: bordercolor=black, scale=iw/2:ih/2" screens/frame_%%04d0.jpg Sadly this is still not confy.. what i would like is a program that allows me to slide a bar and zoom the scale of time, this way your displayed thumbs will be changed accordingly. Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 12:40

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