Is there a linuxsoftware suitable for this? Unfortunately VLC doesn't let me do that.


For actual scrubbing through a video, i.e. advancing frame by frame, this can be done with vlc. The feature can be accessed by pressing the 'e' key or using the button marked 'Frame by Frame' under View --> Advanced controls, then using the screenshot capabilities of vlc which by default can be activated by using Shift+s. As far as I can see this will not run backwards though.

There are a few other non-scrubbing options with MPlayer and FFmpeg. MPlayer is capable of outputting images either automatically or manually from a video clip and perhaps this would be helpful. Have a look here:

Tip 5: Taking screenshots

FFmpeg has similar capabilities but with vastly more options:

Create a thumbnail image every X seconds of the video

How to take multiple screenshots to an image (tile, mosaic)

But certainly the only genuine scrubbing option, and that forwards only, was with vlc...

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  • Basically I mean that if I press the right arrow it should give me the next frame, where I could get a still from and so forth. – empedokles May 17 '14 at 22:58
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    OIC, looks like vlc has something like this which by default you can access by pressing the 'e' key or using the button marked 'Frame by Frame' under View --> Advanced controls. As far as I can see this will not run backwards though. – andrew.46 May 17 '14 at 23:09
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    VLC previous frame feature request trac.videolan.org/vlc/ticket/10252 and a plugin that does it addons.videolan.org/content/show.php/… To take the screenshot: right click on image > Video > Take snapshot. Saved to ~/vlcsnap-<date>.png. – Ciro Santilli 冠状病毒审查六四事件法轮功 Apr 1 '16 at 12:34
  • VLC is very finicky about single stepping though... for instance, I've got some 60fps 1080p video that it just does nothing when I try to single step (but it displays the text like it thinks it did). I also found a 10+ year old bug reported where sometimes single stepping will cause the player to completely hang due to buffering issues. Supposedly to be fixed in version 5 (but it's only on version 3 now, wat?) – Michael Feb 23 at 4:43

SMPlayer ( sudo apt install smplayer ) lets you go forward and back frame-by-frame with the . (dot) and , (comma) keys.

Make sure you have "mpv" selected as the "Multimedia engine". It's under Options -> Preferences, at the top of the "General" tab. If you have "mplayer" selected instead, you can step forward frame-by-frame, but not backwards.

In the same Preferences tab, you can enable screenshots, and configure path and filename.

Preferences tab

The default key for taking a screenshot is S.

Unfortunaltely, there seems to be no way to display the current frame number (or the timecode) in the player. As far as I know, only Quicktime 7 does that, but it will not be available anymore after MacOS 10.14 (Mojave).

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  • How is it possible that this does a better job at playing videos sped up than mpv does, when it's using mpv as the engine – Michael Feb 23 at 4:45

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