MATLAB Answers

How to extract frames of a video

Asked by Beenish Mazhar on 22 Sep 2012
Latest activity Commented on by John
on 14 Aug 2014

Hi everyone! How can I extract frames of a video in matlab if I have used mmreader to read the video.I have used frame2im command but its not working.

  1 Comment

on 28 Apr 2013

how to extract only key frames from the video ??



3 Answers

Answer by Walter Roberson
on 22 Sep 2012
 Accepted answer
obj = mmreader(FileName);
video =;

Then, frame #K is video(:,:,:,K)


Beenish Mazhar on 22 Sep 2012

I was doing exactly the same which you have told me but I want to extract each and every frame separately( I want to view each frame in a separate figure).When I run the above mentioned code then it runs all the frames in a single figure which is not my requirement.

Walter Roberson
on 22 Sep 2012
obj = mmreader(FileName);
for k = 1 : NumberOfFrames  %fill in the appropriate number
  this_frame = read(obj, k);
  thisfig = figure();
  thisax = axes('Parent', thisfig);
  image(this_frame, 'Parent', thisax);
  title(thisax, sprintf('Frame #%d', k));

You might notice here that the frame extraction code has not changed at all, that I have simply added some display code.

Beenish Mazhar on 22 Sep 2012

Thankyou now its working.Is there any command for mmreader for evaluating total number of frames of a video just like as we have for aviread command which is :



nFrames=file.NumFrames; %for evaluating total number of frames of video

secondly I have to crop the certain area of the frame which I have done with imcrop command and then display it with imshow() command but again its not working.I am using the command as:

I = imcrop(this_frame, [0 352 288 94]);

Answer by Image Analyst
on 22 Sep 2012

See my demo for extracting and measuring an AVI file (the standard MATLAB rhinos.avi movie):

% Demo macro to extract frames and get frame means from an avi movie
% and save individual frames to separate image files.
% Also computes the mean gray value of the color channels.
clc;    % Clear the command window.
close all;  % Close all figures (except those of imtool.)
imtool close all;  % Close all imtool figures.
clear;  % Erase all existing variables.
workspace;  % Make sure the workspace panel is showing.
fontSize = 14;
% Change the current folder to the folder of this m-file.
% (The line of code below is from Brett Shoelson of The Mathworks.)
% Open the rhino.avi demo movie that ships with MATLAB.
folder = fullfile(matlabroot, '\toolbox\images\imdemos');
movieFullFileName = fullfile(folder, 'rhinos.avi');
% Check to see that it exists.
if ~exist(movieFullFileName, 'file')
	strErrorMessage = sprintf('File not found:\n%s\nYou can choose a new one, or cancel', movieFullFileName);
	response = questdlg(strErrorMessage, 'File not found', 'OK - choose a new movie.', 'Cancel', 'OK - choose a new movie.');
	if strcmpi(response, 'OK - choose a new movie.')
		[baseFileName, folderName, FilterIndex] = uigetfile('*.avi');
		if ~isequal(baseFileName, 0)
			movieFullFileName = fullfile(folderName, baseFileName);
	movieInfo = aviinfo(movieFullFileName)
	mov = aviread(movieFullFileName);
	% movie(mov);
	% Determine how many frames there are.
	numberOfFrames = size(mov, 2);
	numberOfFramesWritten = 0;
	% Prepare a figure to show the images in the upper half of the screen.
	screenSize = get(0, 'ScreenSize');
	newWindowPosition = [1 screenSize(4)/2 - 70 screenSize(3) screenSize(4)/2];
	set(gcf, 'Position', newWindowPosition); % Maximize figure.
% 	set(gcf, 'Position', get(0,'Screensize')); % Maximize figure.
    % Ask user if they want to write the individual frames out to disk.
    promptMessage = sprintf('Do you want to save the individual frames out to individual disk files?');
    button = questdlg(promptMessage, 'Save individual frames?', 'Yes', 'No', 'Yes');
    if strcmp(button, 'Yes')
        writeToDisk = true;
          % Extract out the various parts of the filename.
          [folder, baseFileName, extentions] = fileparts(movieFullFileName);
          % Make up a special new output subfolder for all the separate
          % movie frames that we're going to extract and save to disk.
          % (Don't worry - windows can handle forward slashes in the folder name.)
          folder = pwd;   % Make it a subfolder of the folder where this m-file lives.
          outputFolder = sprintf('%s/Movie Frames from %s', folder, baseFileName);
          % Create the folder if it doesn't exist already.
          if ~exist(outputFolder, 'dir')
          writeToDisk = false;        
      % Loop through the movie, writing all frames out.
  	% Each frame will be in a separate file with unique name.
  	meanGrayLevels = zeros(numberOfFrames, 1);
  	meanRedLevels = zeros(numberOfFrames, 1);
  	meanGreenLevels = zeros(numberOfFrames, 1);
  	meanBlueLevels = zeros(numberOfFrames, 1);
      for frame = 1 : numberOfFrames
  		% Extract the frame from the movie structure.
  		thisFrame = mov(frame).cdata;
          % Display it
          hImage = subplot(1,2,1);
          axis square;
          caption = sprintf('Frame %4d of %d.', frame, numberOfFrames);
          title(caption, 'FontSize', fontSize);
          drawnow; % Force it to refresh the window.		
		% Write the image array to the output file, if requested.
        if writeToDisk
             % Construct an output image file name.
            outputBaseFileName = sprintf('Frame %4.4d.png', frame);
            outputFullFileName = fullfile(outputFolder, outputBaseFileName);
              % Stamp the name and frame number onto the image.
              % At this point it's just going into the overlay, 
              % not actually getting written into the pixel values.
              text(5, 15, outputBaseFileName, 'FontSize', 20);
              % Extract the image with the text "burned into" it.
              frameWithText = getframe(gca);
              % frameWithText.cdata is the image with the text
              % actually written into the pixel values.
              % Write it out to disk.
              imwrite(frameWithText.cdata, outputFullFileName, 'png');
		% Calculate the mean gray level.
		grayImage = rgb2gray(thisFrame);
		meanGrayLevels(frame) = mean(grayImage(:));
		% Calculate the mean R, G, and B levels.
		meanRedLevels(frame) = mean(mean(thisFrame(:, :, 1)));
		meanGreenLevels(frame) = mean(mean(thisFrame(:, :, 2)));
		meanBlueLevels(frame) = mean(mean(thisFrame(:, :, 3)));
		% Plot the mean gray levels.
		hPlot = subplot(1,2,2);
        hold off;
		plot(meanGrayLevels, 'k-', 'LineWidth', 2);
        hold on;
        plot(meanRedLevels, 'r-');
        plot(meanGreenLevels, 'g-');
        plot(meanBlueLevels, 'b-');
          % Put title back because plot() erases the existing title.
  		title('Mean Gray Levels', 'FontSize', fontSize);
          if frame == 1
  			xlabel('Frame Number');
  			yLabel('Gray Level');
              % Get size data later for preallocation if we read
              % the movie back in from disk.
              [rows columns numberOfColorChannels] = size(thisFrame);
          % Update user with the progress.  Display in the command window.
          if writeToDisk
      		progressIndication = sprintf('Wrote frame %4d of %d.', frame, numberOfFrames);
      		progressIndication = sprintf('Processed frame %4d of %d.', frame, numberOfFrames);
  		% Increment frame count (should eventually = numberOfFrames
  		% unless an error happens).
  		numberOfFramesWritten = numberOfFramesWritten + 1;
      % Alert user that we're done.
      if writeToDisk
          finishedMessage = sprintf('Done!  It wrote %d frames to folder\n"%s"', numberOfFramesWritten, outputFolder);
          finishedMessage = sprintf('Done!  It processed %d frames of\n"%s"', numberOfFramesWritten, movieFullFileName);
      disp(finishedMessage); % Write to command window.
      uiwait(msgbox(finishedMessage)); % Also pop up a message box.
      % Exit if they didn't write any individual frames out to disk.
      if ~writeToDisk
      % Ask user if they want to read the individual frames from the disk,
      % that they just wrote out, back into a movie and display it.
      promptMessage = sprintf('Do you want to recall the individual frames\nback from disk into a movie?\n(This will take several seconds.)');
      button = questdlg(promptMessage, 'Recall Movie?', 'Yes', 'No', 'Yes');
      if strcmp(button, 'No')
      % Read the frames back in, and convert them to a movie.
      % I don't know of any way to preallocate recalledMovie.
      for frame = 1 : numberOfFrames
          % Construct an output image file name.
          outputBaseFileName = sprintf('Frame %4.4d.png', frame);
          outputFullFileName = fullfile(outputFolder, outputBaseFileName);
          % Read the image in from disk.
          thisFrame = imread(outputFullFileName);
          % Convert the image into a "movie frame" structure.
          recalledMovie(frame) = im2frame(thisFrame);
      % Get rid of old image and plot.
      % Create new axes for our movie.
      subPlot(1, 3, 2);
      axis off;  % Turn off axes numbers.
      title('Movie recalled from disk', 'FontSize', fontSize);
      % Play the movie in the axes.
      % Note: if you want to display graphics or text in the overlay
      % as the movie plays back then you need to do it like I did at first
      % (at the top of this file where you extract and imshow a frame at a time.)
      msgbox('Done with this demo!');
catch ME
	% Some error happened if you get here.
	stError = lasterror;
	strErrorMessage = sprintf('Error extracting movie frames from:\n\n%s\n\nError: %s\n\n)', movieFullFileName, stError.message);


on 14 Aug 2014

The code will not find any movie files with the ".mp4" extention. Seems to be catered to ones with the ".avi" extension.

Image Analyst
on 14 Aug 2014

So change it John. The filename is hard coded in there to be one of the standard video demos that ship with MATLAB:

movieFullFileName = fullfile(folder, 'traffic.avi');

Just change it to whatever you want. It can be an mp4 file or whatever.

on 14 Aug 2014

My mistake... The drop down that shows up when searching for the file was not set to "all files" but was set to "avi" and I didn't realize it.

But, I did change the code to adapt to the location of the file. I may be a little slow sometimes, but that's one thing I did catch when looking through the code. :)

Answer by msp
on 28 Apr 2013

how to extract only key frames from the video ??


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