How can I get video duration in seconds?

What I've tried:

ffmpeg -i file.flv 2>&1 | grep "Duration"
  Duration: 00:39:43.08, start: 0.040000, bitrate: 386 kb/s

mediainfo file.flv | grep Duration
Duration : 39mn 43s

This what close, but it's not so accurate, 2383 is 39.71 minutes

ffmpeg -i file.flv 2>&1 | grep "Duration"| cut -d ' ' -f 4 | sed s/,// | sed 's@\..*@@g' | awk '{ split($1, A, ":"); split(A[3], B, "."); print 3600*A[1] + 60*A[2] + B[1] }'

To get minutes, you have to divide 2383 seconds by 60.


and then multiply the fractional part .7167 by 60 to get the remaining seconds.


So it's 39 minutes, 43 seconds. The application appears to be giving you an accurate value.


Just use ffprobe directly. No need for sed, grep, etc. There are several "durations" you can acquire (depending on your input).

Format (container) duration

$ ffprobe -v error -show_entries format=duration \
  -of default=noprint_wrappers=1:nokey=1 input.mp4


Adding the -sexagesimal option will use the HOURS:MM:SS.MICROSECONDS time unit format:


Video stream duration

$ ffprobe -v error -select_streams v:0 -show_entries stream=duration \
  -of default=noprint_wrappers=1:nokey=1 input.mp4

The above commands are from FFmpeg Wiki: FFprobe Tips.

With ffmpeg

You may need to completely decode the input if you find the container or stream duration to be missing or inaccurate (possibly due to a damaged or truncated file).

$ ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -f null -
  frame= 1587 fps=0.0 q=0.0 Lsize=N/A time=00:01:03.48 bitrate=N/A

In this example time=00:01:03.48 is the duration:

How long this will take will of course depend on the decoding complexity and duration of your input and the capabilities of your computer.

  • These do not work for .m2v files do you have a solution for them aswell – utdev Jan 5 '17 at 9:47
  • @utdev See the "With ffmpeg" section. – llogan Jan 5 '17 at 18:39
  • Your third solution gives me a wrong time, my video has a length of 01:19:00 but the command returns me time=01:09:15.32, do you have a guess why this is happening – utdev Feb 15 '17 at 10:59
  • Very useful the media stream duration. Thank you. – We are Borg Apr 20 '18 at 9:40
  • For anyone using avprobe, the parameters are slightly different: avprobe -v error -show_format_entry duration .\Sample.mp4 – Brad yesterday

If you have ffmpeg, you should also have ffprobe:

ffprobe -i input.file -show_format | grep duration
ffprobe -i input.file -show_format -v quiet | sed -n 's/duration=//p'

This will also give fractions of seconds, if that's a problem you can further process that away with sed.

  • how can I remove the fraction part of seconds? – Tina J Aug 18 '17 at 13:42
  • @TinaJ Just pipe it with printf, like | xargs printf %.0f - this will return an integer value. – Ilia Rostovtsev Aug 14 '18 at 9:21

Solution with mplayer that gives seconds directly:

mplayer -identify -frames 0 -vo null -nosound file.flv 2>&1 | awk -F= '/LENGTH/{print $2}'

For my ffmpeg-0.6.5-1.el6.rf.x86_64, to get just the second, ffprobe command format is:

ffprobe <file> -show_format 2>&1 | sed -n 's/duration=//p' 
  • how can I remove the fraction part of seconds? – Tina J Aug 18 '17 at 13:42
mediainfo --Output='General;%Duration%' file.flv

This outputs the duration in milliseconds as a single integer value. No need for grep/cut/sed/...

  • Thanks - this was just what I was looking for. Can be installed on MacOS with brew install mediainfo – Alex K Nov 22 '18 at 17:32

I came across the issue of getting some strange and incorrect metadata from some video files I was working with and I couldn't succeed on finding a pattern or any type of handling using code and tools like ffmpeg, mp4box, ffprobe, mediainfo, mplayer, to get the real duration of the video.

Identifying the real duration of the video was a requirement for a project I was working and the only way I found to get it always right was to reencode the video file using ffmpeg and forcing encoded files to ignore original file's metadata, like:

ffmpeg -i INPUT_FILENAME -acodec copy -vcodec copy -map_metadata -1 OUTPUT_FILENAME"

(This might run faster than you expect. I got surprised, for the type of content and on the environment I was using, average time was 2 seconds)

... and then get duration using a tool at your choice. I like mediainfo, btw: - "mediainfo FILE --Inform="Video;%Duration%" gives you duration in miliseconds.

  • You did not provide more information or better solution than other answers – Sam Jun 1 '17 at 7:36

If you want ACCURATE duration, forget FFmpeg. It only gives an estimate based on filesize and average bitrate. I've found, in some case, the estimated duration time off by 2x!

On Linux, if file is created and modified only during the said video recording, an alternate solution would be to use creation and last modification time to calculate duration, as in:

stat -c "%X %Y" video.mpg | awk '{print $2 - $1}'
  • 5
    Where did you find that ffmpeg is inaccurate? – aleb Apr 29 '15 at 10:55
  • 4
    %X is time of last access. %Y is time since last modified. This says nothing about the video length. – Joe Hillenbrand Oct 14 '15 at 6:41
  • 1
    This seems to be a troll – George Chalhoub Jun 11 '18 at 13:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.