Viewing YouTube videos frame-by-frame

Edited: January 16, 2019, 4:44 PM · I've just come across this little hack which, I am informed, works on the vast majority of YouTube videos. Start the video playing from within YouTube (not from another source). Pause it by pressing the space-bar. To move forward one frame, press the "." (full stop) key, and to move back one frame press the "," (comma) key.

It works a treat and is useful for inspecting what is really going on in some extraordinary violin performances on YouTube that have been regaling us recently ;)

[Edit added 1/16/2019] Note that on some keyboard layouts where the ">" and "<" keys aren't associated with the "." and "," keys then locate the ">" and "<" keys and use them instead.

If you're viewing a downloaded video then the above commands won't work so you will have to use a video viewer with a stop-frame facility. I believe the ubiquitous VLC has it.

Replies (9)

January 15, 2019, 12:43 PM · Still though, not helpful trying to get any fingerings with violinists like Joshua Bell dancing around like Lindsey Stirling.
January 15, 2019, 7:42 PM · Yeah, and videos are always annoyingly shifting camera angles and throwing video cuts in that make it difficult to analyze them. I wish they'd primarily stay on just the soloist, or at least consistently stay at the same angle/zoom.
January 16, 2019, 1:17 AM · If you download the soundfile and use an IOS app audiostretch you can pretty much slow down anything at the same pitch. it's excellent for picking up lines.
As per fingerings - I like to do my own, but I suspect frame by frame is our best option, event though it won't reveal the fastest passages.
January 16, 2019, 10:36 AM · Exactly how much is 1 frame? Is it 60/second, or even more?
Edited: January 16, 2019, 1:34 PM · The movie industry standard for filming is usually 24 fps even though the human eye can detect much higher frame rates into three figures. 24 fps was chosen as as the standard because higher rates would use far more expensive film stock than could be justified. With digital filming that limitation no longer applies but it's convenient to retain the 24 fps for most purposes.

Other rates may be used for special effects or requirements - 60 fps (available on many hand-held video cameras) would be used for slo-mo filming.

January 16, 2019, 6:28 PM · Very useful to know, thank you!
January 17, 2019, 2:03 AM · Thanks Trevor, that will come in handy!
January 17, 2019, 8:17 PM · Actually the answer is a bit more complicated. From an encoding recommendations help page for Youtube: "Common frame rates include: 24, 25, 30, 48, 50, 60 frames per second (other frame rates are also acceptable)."

It's my understanding that 30 FPS is pretty common as it is widely considered the minimum for avoiding that old-fashioned film 'choppiness'.

Apparently it has been possible to find out the FPS of a given video in both Flash and HTML5, I haven't checked these methods though:

January 22, 2019, 4:34 PM · Although the standard for film is 24 fps, television has always used 30. Actually, a traditional TV picture is interlaced: odd-numbered lines on one pass followed by even-numbered lines on the next pass. Each field (half-set of lines) takes 1/60 second; there are 30 pairs of interlaced fields per second. Digital is changing all of this.

As for choppiness, this now seems to be a "feature" desired by many arty directors...

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