I am trying to create any sort of command in python or shell to pull one specific frame from a video that is being played or streamed on vlc.

Imagine a scenario where I have a video file, I open it on VLC and I click play. I pull the first frame I encounter in python or using a shell command, do some processing, and when the processing is done, I capture another frame at the exact time that the video has reached.

Honestly, if I can even get VLC to provide for me the current "time" of a video I am playing (how many hours:minutes:seconds or whatever we have gone through in the movie), that would do and I can use ffmpeg.

I am running linux 14.04.

closed as unclear what you're asking by DrZoo, Burgi, DrMoishe Pippik, G-Man, Mike Fitzpatrick Oct 28 '17 at 1:03

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if I can even get VLC to provide for me the current "time" of a video I am playing…

This can be done. VLC provides many interfaces. Let's use telnet.

Step 1: enabling telnet in VLC

One-time on-demand method:

vlc --extraintf telnet --telnet-port 4212 --telnet-password "foobar" video_file_to_play.avi

Or permanent configuration. Run VLC, Tools -> Preferences (or Ctrl+P), then:




Note: this permanent method requires you to restart VLC.

Step 2: testing

Now you can control VLC with telnet. Type the right password when prompted. Example:

$ telnet localhost 4212
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
VLC media player 2.2.2 Weatherwax
Welcome, Master
> get_time

As you can see, the command to retrieve current playing time is get_time. Type help to learn more VLC commands, quit to quit. Maybe you will find snapshot useful.

Step 3: using in a script

Quite a simple pipe. Here I use nc instead of telnet (and foobar is my password, use yours):

printf '%s\n' "foobar" "get_time" | nc localhost 4212

My VLC returns:

VLC media player 2.2.2 Weatherwax
Password: ����
Welcome, Master
> Bye-bye!

so I use head and tail to extract the relevant line only:

printf '%s\n' "foobar" "get_time" | nc localhost 4212 | head -n 4 | tail -n 1

Unfortunately the time resolution is 1 second. I haven't found a command to retrieve the current frame number or so.

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