How To Take Screen Shots With VLC


vlc-logo-imageScreen Shots Before VLC

At one time it was nearly impossible to take a screen shot of a movie scene because of a thing called interlacing. If you tried using the Print Screen button, I can tell you from experience that all you would have gotten was a black screen. Eventually, media players developed the ability to take screen shots.

The first media player that I used that could do this was Media Player Classic, which is still available at https://mpc-hc.org/

Then, all I had to do is pause the video where I wanted to save the screen and press Alt + I. Then it would prompt you to save it. I used it for awhile.

I fooled around with VLC, too, at the time, but it didn’t seem to live up to all the hype. I can’t remember when, or even why, but I did eventually switch over to VLC.

Making the Grab

Using the Print Screen button on modern day systems seems to work just fine. It saves the screenshot to the clipboard, so you have to paste the results into some photo editing program and save it. On my desktop keyboard the print screen button is labelled PrtSc, to the right of all the Function Keys.

That is a bit cumbersome, though.


Screenshots With VLC

You can download the latest version of  VLC at https://www.videolan.org/vlc/.

Open up VLC and you’ll notice the standard bar of buttons at the bottom of the player.

Now, in the Top Menu, click on View, then click on Advanced Controls.

You will now notice a second smaller bar appear over the first.

screenshots-with-vlc-buttons-image

The first icon is just a Red dot. This is the Record Button. If you want to record a segment of a video to it’s own clip, just click on it to start it recording. The surrounding area on the button turns blue to show that it’s recording. Clicking on it again will stop the recording. The recordings are automatically saved in your My Videos folder.


If you just want a still picture, to use as your computer background, for instance, then use the next button, which looks like a picture of a camera.

Pause the video at the frame you want to capture. The Play Button becomes the Pause Button when a video is playing. Otherwise, you can use the Space bar to pause the video. Then just click on the Camera Icon.

You’ll notice a thumbnail view of the picture you have just taken in the top left hand corner of your screen. It will also give the path and name of the picture you just took. They usually just go into your My Pictures folder. They will automatically be named something like vlcsnap-3715-04-23-07h00m13s988.png, with the date and time integrated. Movie clips are saved in a similar manner, but in the My Videos folder.

I am telling you from experience, sometimes it’s tricky stopping the video exactly where you want it.

Here’s a tip:  Stop it slightly before the scene you want to capture, then keep pressing the letter E on your keyboard. This will move you ahead one frame at a time. The words Next frame appears in the top right hand corner.

Other media players probably have their own method of doing this. Read the help files (like anybody actually does this 🙂), or do a little bit of research online to find information about your particular media player.

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About the Author

Terry Hollett

Terry is a self-taught computer aficionado, who after being exposed to Windows 3.1 in the early 1990's devoured every book and magazine on the subject he could get his hands on. A published author with over 20 years' experience building and servicing computers for friends and family he started his first website in 2002 and continues today at Hit Any Key.

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