VCS 1.13.2 released

A new update of VCS with a couple bugfixes is available to download. Once again, if you had problems with the previous versions there's nothing new.

It fixes a bug when using MPlayer as capturer that could produce one more capture than expected. Thanks to Miya for reporting it.

See the full changelog for more details.

vcs 1.13.2 (script only)
or (script, sample configuration, manpage and profiles)
deb, rpm, PKGBUILD & bz2
as usual at

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20 thoughts on “VCS 1.13.2 released”

  1. Nice script. 🙂

    One thing, the dark/blank frame guessing thingy needs to be an option. I have to resort to black magic here, using two versions of the script, one with the setting and one without, plus a symlink to each one so I can just type vcs or vcsnb when I want to use one or the other.

    I use the –manual option together with the -S option to grab precisely those frames I want (no, I don't type it all, I use my own Python script). In other words, vcs shouldn't interfere when in –manual mode. It should assume that the user wants the frames listed on the command line, even though they might be too dark/blank for its taste. 😉

    Of course, I _could_ use VLC to grab exactly the frames I want and assemble an index of those frames, but what's the fun in that? 😉

    Keep up the good work! 🙂

    1. Good points. I'll add both (an option to disable blank frame evasion and disable it automatically on manual captures) in the next update. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  2. Thank you for your continued work on this project.

    Is there a way to make the output image maintain the path of the video? For example, if I run `vcs-1.13.2.bash ./folder/video.avi` then the image will be written to ./video.avi.jpg instead of ./folder/video.avi.jpg. I would prefer to avoid using an additional script to launch vcs.

    1. Not directly. It will by default output to the current directory.

      However, you can use the '--output' option:

      $ vcs-1.13.2.bash ./folder/video.avi -o ./folder/video.avi.jpg

      A bit too verbose I know 😛
      You may wrap that in a script for a more terse command-line, of course.

      Thank you for your interest 🙂

  3. Thanks Toni. I was hoping I could simply run `$ vcs-1.13.2.bash -? **/*.mp4` to create contact sheets for all videos in all subfolders, but it sounds like I'll have to use a wrapper script. Would you consider adding this in a future release for a donation?

    1. I guess you're using zsh-ish globbing there.
      That's not something I use so I didn't even think of the case where recursing could be so simple.

      It was a bit of an overlook on my part not to have the option to output to the same directory as the video, probably because recursion always required a wrapper in my head.

      Yes, I'm definitely adding such an option to my TO-DO list (donations are welcome, but not necessary ;)).

  4. Hi Toni
    i didn't find out how to get the script running with videos shorter than 5 min. What do i have to do in syntax for that? I have tons of short security recordings for what i need a quick view with your script.
    Regards Pascal

    1. Hi Pascal,
      the default mode takes captures every 5 minutes, so you have to change the interval or switch to a fixed number of captures:

      Take shots every 30 seconds:
      $ vcs -i 30s videofile

      Take 20 shots:
      $ vcs -n 20 videofile

      If you want to make one of those the default, you can run
      $ vcs -n 20 --generate config
      and it will give you instructions.

      Best Regards

  5. Hi Toni,

    thank you for you quick reply. I already tried -n 8 option but the i get an error.

    End offset too high, user e.g. '-E0'

    so i tried vcs -n 8 -E0 videofile and vcs -n 8 -E 0 same with error

    Illegal value for '-E', only intervals or percentages are accepted


  6. Hi Toni
    my video files are at least 22 sec long and the greater ones only a few minutes.
    I would like to get 8 screenshots for each file. No matter how long the file is.
    4 Colums and if possible without the green title. Size of screenshots 200px wide.

    Can you help me to get the command for that?

    1. About the end offset error, that's weird, are you running the last version and have no previous configuration?
      Nonetheless, try with -E0%.

      As for the output you want:

      • 8 screenshots: -n8
      • 4 columns: -c4
      • no green title: not possible, you'll have to crop it yourself. Although you can change it to something less "flashy" if that's the problem, e.g. with -p white.
      • 200px wide: only height can be set directly, you must fool the calculations, e.g. -a 200/150 -H 150 will produce shots of 200×150 pixels.

      So something like
      $ vcs -n8 -c4 -E0% -pwhite -a200/150 -H150 videofile
      should be close to what you're looking for.

  7. Hi Toni

    i am using version 1.13.2
    And i have never done any configuration.

    I have tried
    -n8 -c4 -E0% -pwhite -H150
    -> Profile 'white' not found

    after that
    -n8 -c4 -E0% -H150
    Video Contact Sheet *NIX v1.13.2, (c) 2007-2014 Toni Corvera
    Unable to locate DejaVu Sans font. Falling back to helvetica.
    Processing /recordings/20150401/20150401_192421_Rueckseite.mkv…
    awk: cmd. line:1: Unexpected token
    awk: cmd. line:1: Unexpected token
    End offset too high, use e.g. '-E0'.
    Cleaning up…

    I am using this 7,6mb mkv file to test<EDITED>

    GNU bash, version 3.2.54(1)-release (i686-pc-linux-gnu)
    ffmpeg version 2.0.2 Copyright (c) 2000-2013 the FFmpeg developers
    ImageMagick 6.6.9-1 2012-02-18 Q16
    no-mplayer installed

    You where right the flash green is the only "problem". I can also use the hight instead of the width thats no problem at all.

    Hope you can help me to get it running some how.
    hmmm Pascal

    1. There's definitely a problem with this file, the awk…unexpected token lines are a sign of it.

      The video also gives problems in my system, I'll look into it and get back to you

  8. Hi Toni,

    A great utilty… I've been using this for a couple of years now (it runs every night as a cron job).

    I've been looking at cleaning up the output that cron captures from each of its commands and stores as a system email.

    I've enabled the -Wc option to prevent coloured output. Mostly this works except near the start of the script when it says:
    Settings from /home/danc/.vcs/vcs.conf:

    This is still shown in green. Bug?


    1. Hi Dan,thanks for your compliments.

      Yes, it can be considered a bug, although it's a chicken and egg problem. To disable that line from displaying in colour, your best bet, currently, is to modify one line in vcs:

      Look for declare -i SIMPLE_FEEDBACK=0 in vcs (it's in line 239 in the current version) and just change it to declare -i SIMPLE_FEEDBACK=1.

      I'll be sure to include some way to work around this in future releases.

  9. Toni, great script! I've been using it for a while a couple of years ago and just got back to using it again. I ran into one issue with image magick 7 that required a minor change to the script. Apparently the right section of the header "$meta2" is now getting clobbered and only a line and a half are visible as is. My fix is to anchor "$meta2" to the top right instead of just to the right:

    diff ~/src/vcs-1.13.2/vcs /usr/local/bin/vcs
    -gravity NorthEast -fill "$FG_HEADING" -annotate +0-1 "$meta2" \

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