I have security camera recordings which are 1 - 8 hours in duration and I need to be able to view them in a short period of time to review long periods of time.

Windows Media Player supports 8 seconds per second but this really doesn't do the job for me. I'd have to sit and wait a very long time to get through 8 hours of footage.

Is there any software that can do this?

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    Do you want to do it in real-time, or is pre-processing OK? Do you need full-size image quality, or is thumbnail/small size OK?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Jul 11, 2014 at 2:58
  • Consider the programs designed specifically to analyse security camera footage for movement, and let you seek to that point.
    – Bob
    Jul 11, 2014 at 18:47

5 Answers 5


You can try VLC from videolan.org. It is free, but you should donate if you use it (especially in a business environment). :)

It supports up to 32x playback speed - 32 seconds real footage in 1 second - so, 8 hours in 15 minutes.

But you should ask yourself - you really can catch up something in that speed?

And the more important thing is: your processor and HDD speed.

At 32x playback the processor should decode 32 times faster than at normal speed and your HDD should allows that big data rates, especially if the video is in HD.

Try it on your HW.


To clarify (re: comment) based on the real world (read my own) experiences.

At 1080p resolution, H264 encoded video is 2GB per hour (common movie sizes are 3GB per 1.5 hour of movie). On extremely well encoded videos you can get 1 GB/hour. So 8 hours video is approx. 8-16GB size, depending on the encoding quality.

HDD speed. On my crap notebook I'm getting approx. 13 Mbytes/s read speed. The HDD is old and, honestly it was not defragmented. That means that simple reading a 1.25 Gbyte file took 1 minute and 20 seconds. Reading (not copying) a 12 GB file took 16 minutes!

So, on my crap notebook I simply can't read an 12GB file sequentially in 15 minutes.

And about playback. On my notebook I can't get faster playback speed than 6.8x. ;( On my desktop (also not the best HW) my limit is 22-25x. Never got 32x.

Maybe, your experience is better, but remember: In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. :)

With good (current level) HW there should be "no problem" - therefore I said: try it on your HW. ;)

  • At 32x playback the processour should decode 32 times faster - not exactly; depending on the keyframe interval, a good fast playback solution should be able to seek to the nearest preceding keyframe and start decoding from there. This way you can have crazy playback speeds (64x, 128x) at no extra decode cost. your HDD should allows that big data rates - HD video bitrates are about 10-20MBit/s; spinning platter disks' sequential read speeds are an order of magnitude higher, so you should have no problems unless you are playing the video over a network. Jul 11, 2014 at 0:58

You could extract one image every X seconds, which you can do using FFmpeg (free, open-source, Windows, Mac and Linux) with the command ffmpeg -i input.mov -r 0.25 output_%04d.png to get a picture every four (4=1/0.25) seconds. (Then you might want to create a video slideshow based on those pictures)

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    Depending on the nature of the footage, you could take this further. You could run an automatic image comparison on the frames and only make the slideshow out of frames that differ significantly from the last. Jul 11, 2014 at 5:45
  • @imsotiredicantsleep yes I totally agree. Also, I haven't looked for this but 6 years ago I was having a job interview for a startup developing a software to automatically detect anomalies in security camera recordings, so I guess there should be even more automated solutions now. E.g. I recently saw one being used in motorway control. Basically another good search would be applications for anomaly detection in surveillance video (aka. event detection). Jul 11, 2014 at 5:50
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    It's also worth mentioning that unless you do something like automatic filtering, and rely only on speeding up the video, then as the speed increases the resolution drops. 8 hours of video in ~5-10 minutes of playback has a practical resolution worse than ~5-10 seconds, even if you are keen-eyed and alert. Anything the bad guys can do in under that time (steal a mars bar?) is invisible. Jul 11, 2014 at 5:59
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    I think extracting the I-frames is better because those frames often appears when there's sudden change and those points are often where we should notice in security cameras
    – phuclv
    Jul 13, 2014 at 10:19

You can use smplayer, its a freeware, open-source project based on mplayer, a very robust and fast media player. It's available for Windows and Linux.

You can configure the seek time through its configuration panel to whatever amount fits your needs.

Also, it's a very easy to use, fast, lightweight and configurable tool to watch videos.


Try Virtualdub - it has 'next scene' button, maybe based on image analysis. But give it a test - how much change does it take to be 'next scene', does'nt it overlook your required changes.

Also take look at iSpy to either completely redo your system, or feed video to it in parallel, or feed old video to it for alarms.


I'd recommend using Media Player Classic Home Cinema. Easy simple extremely well made application. Even ideal for ultra slow machines able to maintain perfect playback of 1080p video without hardware acceleration.

Anyway you can "Increase Rate" by use of CTRL + UP or "Decrease Rate" - CTRL + DOWN or "Reset Rate" - CTRL + R. The rate increase peaks at 4.0X and it doesn't seem impossible to over-ride this to as much as 64X. KMPlayer is also an alternative or the newest build may offer higher than 300% of original playback speed.

Another solution is to use ImToo HD Video Converter and actually re-encode the video files to desired frame rate. You could do as much as 10,000fps which would be if your source is 30.00fps then 10,000fps would be 333X speed. Then you could use MPC HC or KMPlayer to dial back the speed to your desired rate of speed.

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