I'm following a tutorial where the person does:

vlc /Users/darren/Downloads/movie.mkv –video-filter=scene –scene-format=jpg –scene-prefix=movie –scene-ratio=150 –scene-height=1080 –scene-width=1920

im trying to do the same, but replacing the beginning "vlc" with /Applications/VLC.app/Contents/MacOS/VLC and of course using my own movie file path.

I get a bunch of errors.


I tried this

/Applications/VLC.app/Contents/MacOS/VLC /Users/me/Downloads/complete/movie/sample.mkv --scene-format=jpg --scene-prefix=movie --scene-ratio=150 --scene-height=1080 --scene-width=1920 --scene-path=/Users/me/Downloads/complete/movie

and I get

[0x100214a88] main libvlc: Running vlc with the default interface. Use 'cvlc' to use vlc without interface.
 m_el[mi_level] == NULL
 arrrrrrrrrrrrrg Up cannot escape itself
 m_el[mi_level] == NULL
 arrrrrrrrrrrrrg Up cannot escape itself
 m_el[mi_level] == NULL
 arrrrrrrrrrrrrg Up cannot escape itself
[0x102018908] dts decoder: DTS channels:6 samplerate:48000 bitrate:1536000
[0x101351e78] auhal audio output error: You should configure your speaker layout with Audio Midi Setup Utility in /Applications/Utilities. Now using Stereo mode.
Stream with high frequencies VQ coding
  • show us the errors – pavium Jun 1 '11 at 12:47
  • Basically what it says: You need cvlc, the command line version. IIRC isn't there in the downloadable app, you'd rather have to build it yourself using the source, which gives you the cvlc binary. But which tutorial are you following and do you really need VLC for that? Are you trying to convert a movie into JPGs? – slhck Jun 1 '11 at 13:34
  • i was thinking there might be an easier way. I just want to take screen shots of movie every 150 frames or whatever I specify. – Adam Jun 1 '11 at 13:40

You can use ffmpeg to extract thumbnails for your video:

ffmpeg -i video.mp4 -r 1 image-%4d.jpg


  • -i <input-file> reads from the input file
  • -r <fps> forces an output of fps frame per second
  • image-%4d.jpg meaning the output files are named image-0001.jpg, ... and so on, where %xd means x digits are used to create the output names.

How to get ffmpeg on OS X:

You can get an older version of ffmpeg by downloading FFmpegX and then using the following instead of ffmpeg <options>:

/Applications/ffmpegX.app/Contents/Resources/ffmpeg <options>

To simplify this, you can do a

ln -s /Applications/ffmpegX.app/Contents/Resources/ffmpeg /usr/local/bin/ffmpeg

in order to be able to run the short command from everywhere.

Alternatively you can get the latest version of ffmpeg by installing Homebrew and then running

brew install ffmpeg
| improve this answer | |
  • setting up ffmpeg seems just as complicated? – Adam Jun 1 '11 at 13:51
  • I updated my answer, take the ffmpegx option, that way you'll only have to download the app. – slhck Jun 1 '11 at 13:54
  • Let me know if it works out, otherwise we can find a way around. I just tested it with ffmpegx and had no problems. – slhck Jun 1 '11 at 14:02
  • cool i setup ffmpeg... not ffmpegx. is there anyway to get less screens like every 150 frames? Can you also set the quality? Right now the screens are pixelated in some cases – Adam Jun 1 '11 at 15:41
  • I meant ffmpeg, sorry. Control it over the -r parameter, it is the target frame rate. You could use -r 0.1 to get one thumbnail for every ten seconds of video, for example. The quality will always be the best. The pixelation probably comes from the video itself. You can try outputting to a png instead of jpg but I could not spot the difference. – slhck Jun 1 '11 at 15:50

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