I have a MP4 movie filmed with a GoPRO.

The GoPRO split the movie in several files (I believe because of FAT32 size limitation).

What I'm trying to do is extract some specific frames of the FULL MOVIE. I don't need all frames, but I need a list of frames

Because all files is from same movie, I "merged" all files. To do this, I created a file called gopro.txt with the following content:

file 'GOPR0940.MP4'
file 'GP010940.MP4'
file 'GP020940.MP4'
file 'GP030940.MP4'
file 'GP040940.MP4'
file 'GP050940.MP4'

So, to extract a image from a movie, I used this command:

ffmpeg -ss 00:19:00 -f concat -i gopro.txt -qscale:v 2 -vframes 1 frame%d.jpg (where 00:19:00 is the time I want).

Edit: as @Mulvya said, on a demuxed input, the "fast seek" don't work (works, but is very slow). So, I merged all videos on a single file with the following command:

ffmpeg -f concat -safe 0 -i gopro.txt -c copy full_movie.mp4

Now, suppose I have a list of times I want to extract (I don't have the frame number, only the time), like:

  • 00:05:32
  • 00:12:49
  • 00:21:10
  • 00:32:23

and so on. My list will have more than 10.000 timestamps, so, if I make a batch file with:

ffmpeg -f concat -i gopro.txt -ss 00:05:32 -vframes 1 frame00001.jpg
ffmpeg -f concat -i gopro.txt -ss 00:12:49 -vframes 1 frame00002.jpg
ffmpeg -f concat -i gopro.txt -ss 00:21:10 -vframes 1 frame00003.jpg
ffmpeg -f concat -i gopro.txt -ss 01:38:42 -vframes 1 frame10000.jpg

This will work, but take a really long time, because I think that ffmpeg, at each line of my batch file, will seek from beggining of the file until at desired time.

Edit: after changes proposed by @Mulvya, the extract worked very fast, and I can use the batch file without any problem.

It's possible to pass a list of timestamps to ffmpeg?

I tried with select option, like:

ffmpeg -f concat -i gopro.txt -vf select='eq(t,332)+eq(t,769)+eq(t,1270)+eq(t,1943)' -vsync 0 -vframes 4 frames%d.jpg, (https://ffmpeg.org/ffmpeg-filters.html#Timeline-editing) but got no results.

After several minutes, ffmpeg return a warning message with the following content:

Output file is empty, nothing was encoded (check -ss / -t / -frames parameters if used)

And I thinking that solution it's not the best, because, if I have 10000 timestamps, this will generate a huge command.

PS: I'm using Windows

  • 1
    ffmpeg -f concat -i gopro.txt -ss 00:05:32 -vframes 1 frame00001.jpg --< this will take a long time, as this is a slow seek. ffmpeg -f concat -ss 00:05:32 -i gopro.txt -vframes 1 frame00001.jpg should not. Although since you are performing this on a concat demuxed input, it may amount to the same thing. But if you write the the concat to one MP4 and then set a seek time before the input, it's a fast seek and output will be quick. In a fast seek on a container like MP4, ffmpeg queries the index and jumps to the byte offset of the GOP start containing the sample.
    – Gyan
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 15:08
  • @Mulvya, tested again! Yes, you're corrected. On a demuxed input, the results are the same. On a "merged" mp4, the second way is much faster. Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


After @Mulvya reply, I made the following changes:

First, I must put all in a single file. According with the Mulvya answer, a "concat demuxed input" don't have a "fast seek", so, first I created a gopro.txt file with the following content:

file 'GOPR0940.MP4'
file 'GP010940.MP4'
file 'GP020940.MP4'
file 'GP030940.MP4'
file 'GP040940.MP4'
file 'GP050940.MP4'

Then, "merged" all MP4 files in a single file, with the following command:

ffmpeg -f concat -i gopro.txt -c copy full_movie.mp4

Source: https://trac.ffmpeg.org/wiki/Concatenate

Now, I can extract in a fast way individual frames, with the following command:

ffmpeg -ss 00:15:00 -i full_movie.mp4 -vframes 1 frame00001.jpg.

Source: https://trac.ffmpeg.org/wiki/Create%20a%20thumbnail%20image%20every%20X%20seconds%20of%20the%20video (i put the -ss option first, like @Mulvya said).

Initially, I want to pass a list of timestamps to ffmpeg, but now, the extract of individual frames is very fast, that I don't need anymore. A simple batch file worked good.

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