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How to Go Through Video Frame by Frame With VLC Media Player

Posted by Matthew on November 20, 2018

When it comes to freeware media players, VLC is the undisputed king. It plays everything—files, discs, webcams, streams, and will even work with that odd codec-encrypted file you downloaded from some website in Eastern Europe (but please, don’t download weird files from websites in Eastern Europe). It runs on every platform: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Unix, iOS, and Android. So if you haven’t already added it to Windows 10, or whatever platform you’re using, click Download VLC at this page. One handy feature VLC offers is Frame by frame, which enables you to play through a video one step at a time. This can be handy if you need to capture snapshots from videos, or if you just want to carefully examine every frame of that sick skateboard jump you captured on your smartphone.

To play through a video frame by frame, you can press a hotkey. First, open a video within VLC by selecting Media > Open File; and then play the clip. Now press the E key. The video will pause. Now, every additional press of the E key will advance the video one frame. To start the video again, just hit the spacebar.

E is the default hotkey for the Frame by frame option, but you can customize that keyboard shortcut and others. Click Tools > Preferences > Hotkeys to open a list of keyboard shortcuts as below. Then scroll down to Next frame on that window. Double-click that to open the window shown below.

Next frame3

Just press the new hotkey for Next frame to configure it. Click the Save button on the Simple Preferences window. Then you can press the new Frame by frame keyboard shortcut.

You can also activate Next frame with a toolbar button. If it’s not already on your playback toolbar, click Tools > Customize Interface to open the window shown below. Scroll down the Toolbar Elements list until you find the Frame by frame option. Drag that button somewhere onto Line 2 so that you can select the option on playback toolbar.

Next frame2

Now you can go through a video frame by frame either with a hotkey or the toolbar button. Either way, this option will enable you to capture specific snapshots from video with the Snipping Tool or VLC’s Take Snapshot option. For further details on how to capture screenshots in Windows 10, check out this Tech Junkie article.

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