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Extracting AVI Frames

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5 Nov 2004
Introducing AVI functions for extracting frames of an AVI movie and saving them in bitmap files.


In the last project that I worked on, the project required to extract frames of an AVI movie and save them as bitmaps files. Here I want to share my experiences in this project with you.

AVIFile Functions

The best way to obtain information about AVI format and learn more about the internal behavior of the file, is going directly to MSDN as I did. The AVI related functions are inside vfw.h header file. This means you must include this header and add vfw32.lib library file to your project.

Here is the list of functions that I used in the project and a brief information about them (taken from MSDN):

void AVIFileInit(void);The AVIFileInit function initializes the AVIFile library.
void AVIFileOpen(PAVIFILE* ppfile, LPCTSTR szFile, UINT mode, CLSID pclsidHandler);The AVIFileOpen function opens an AVI file and returns the address of a file interface used to access it.
void AVIFileInfo(PAVIFILE pfile, AVIFILEINFO* pfi, LONG lSize);The AVIFileInfo function obtains information about an AVI file.
void AVIFileGetStream(PAVIFILE pfile, PAVISTREAM* ppavi, DWORD fccType, LONG lParam);The AVIFileGetStream function returns the address of a stream interface that is associated with a specified AVI file.
LONG AVIStreamStart(PAVISTREAM pavi);The AVIStreamStart function returns the starting sample number for the stream.
LONG AVIStreamLength(PAVISTREAM pavi);The AVIStreamLength function returns the length of the stream.
PGETFRAME AVIStreamGetFrameOpen(PAVISTREAM pavi, LPBITMAPINFOHEADER lpbiWanted);The AVIStreamGetFrameOpen function prepares to decompress video frames from the specified video stream.
LPVOID AVIStreamGetFrame(PGETFRAME pgf, LONG lPos);The AVIStreamGetFrame function returns the address of a decompressed video frame.
void AVIStreamGetFrameClose(PGETFRAME pget);The AVIStreamGetFrameClose function releases resources used to decompress video frames.
LONG AVIStreamRelease(PAVISTREAM pavi);The AVIStreamRelease function decrements the reference count of an AVI stream interface handle, and closes the stream if the count reaches zero.
void AVIFileExit(void);The AVIFileExit function exits the AVIFile library and decrements the reference count for the library.

Now it's time to write some code:

BOOL ExtractAVIFrames(CString szFileName)

    PAVIFILE avi;
    int res=AVIFileOpen(&avi, szFileName, OF_READ, NULL);

    if (res!=AVIERR_OK)
        //an error occures
        if (avi!=NULL)
        return FALSE;

    AVIFILEINFO avi_info;
    AVIFileInfo(avi, &avi_info, sizeof(AVIFILEINFO));

    CString szFileInfo;
    szFileInfo.Format("Dimention: %dx%d\n"
                      "Length: %d frames\n"
                      "Max bytes per second: %d\n"
                      "Samples per second: %d\n"
                      "Streams: %d\n"
                      "File Type: %d", avi_info.dwWidth,
                            (DWORD) (avi_info.dwRate / avi_info.dwScale),

    AfxMessageBox(szFileInfo, MB_ICONINFORMATION | MB_OK);

    PAVISTREAM pStream;
    res=AVIFileGetStream(avi, &pStream, streamtypeVIDEO /*video stream*/, 
                                               0 /*first stream*/);

    if (res!=AVIERR_OK)
        if (pStream!=NULL)

        return FALSE;

    //do some task with the stream
    int iNumFrames;
    int iFirstFrame;

    if (iFirstFrame==-1)
        //Error getteing the frame inside the stream

        if (pStream!=NULL)

        return FALSE;

    if (iNumFrames==-1)
        //Error getteing the number of frames inside the stream
        if (pStream!=NULL)
        return FALSE;

    //getting bitmap from frame
    ZeroMemory(&bih, sizeof(BITMAPINFOHEADER));

    bih.biBitCount=24;    //24 bit per pixel
    bih.biClrUsed = 0;
    bih.biCompression = BI_RGB;
    bih.biPlanes = 1;
    bih.biSize = 40;
    bih.biXPelsPerMeter = 0;
    bih.biYPelsPerMeter = 0;
    //calculate total size of RGBQUAD scanlines (DWORD aligned)
    bih.biSizeImage = (((bih.biWidth * 3) + 3) & 0xFFFC) * bih.biHeight ;

    PGETFRAME pFrame;
    //Get the first frame
    int index=0;
    for (int i=iFirstFrame; i<iNumFrames; i++)
        index= i-iFirstFrame;

        BYTE* pDIB = (BYTE*) AVIStreamGetFrame(pFrame, index);
        CreateFromPackedDIBPointer(pDIB, index);


    //close the stream after finishing the task
    if (pStream!=NULL)


    return TRUE;

The only one function that I must describe more about is: CreateFromPackedDIBPointer(). This function takes a pointer returned from AVIStreamGetFrame() function and creates a bitmap from it. As you know, the AVIStreamGetFrame() returns a pointer to DIB information about the frame. We take this pointer and create a bitmap from it.

BOOL CreateFromPackedDIBPointer(LPBYTE pDIB, int iFrame)

    //Creates a full-color (no palette) DIB from a pointer to a
    //full-color memory DIB

    //get the BitmapInfoHeader
    RtlMoveMemory(&bih.biSize, pDIB, sizeof(BITMAPINFOHEADER));

    //now get the bitmap bits
    if (bih.biSizeImage < 1)
        return FALSE;

    BYTE* Bits=new BYTE[bih.biSizeImage];

    RtlMoveMemory(Bits, pDIB + sizeof(BITMAPINFOHEADER), bih.biSizeImage);

    //and BitmapInfo variable-length UDT
    BYTE memBitmapInfo[40];
    RtlMoveMemory(memBitmapInfo, &bih, sizeof(bih));

    bfh.bfType=19778;    //BM header
    bfh.bfSize=55 + bih.biSizeImage;
    bfh.bfOffBits=sizeof(BITMAPINFOHEADER) + sizeof(BITMAPFILEHEADER); //54
    CString FileName;
    FileName.Format("Frame-%05d.bmp", iFrame);
    FILE* fp=fopen(FileName, "wb");
    if (fp!=NULL)
        fwrite(&bfh, sizeof(bfh), 1, fp);
        fwrite(&memBitmapInfo, sizeof(memBitmapInfo), 1, fp);
        fwrite(Bits, bih.biSizeImage, 1, fp);
        TRACE0(_T("Error writing the bitmap file"));
        return FALSE;

    delete [] Bits;
    return TRUE;



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About the Authors

A. Riazi
CEO Misbah3Com
Iran (Islamic Republic of) Iran (Islamic Republic of)
I was born in Shiraz, a very beautiful famous city in Iran. I started programming when I was 12 years old with GWBASIC. Since now, I worked with various programming languages from Basic, Foxpro, C/C++, Visual Basic, Pascal to MATLAB and now Visual C++.
I graduated from Iran University of Science & Technology in Communication Eng., and now work as a system programmer for a telecommunication industry.
I wrote several programs and drivers for Synthesizers, Power Amplifiers, GPIB, GPS devices, Radio cards, Data Acqusition cards and so many related devices.
I'm author of several books like Learning C (primary and advanced), Learning Visual Basic, API application for VB, Teach Yourself Object Oriented Programming (OOP) and etc.
I'm winner of January, May, August 2003 and April 2005 best article of month competetion, my articles are:

You can see list of my articles, by clicking here

Web Developer
Iran (Islamic Republic of) Iran (Islamic Republic of)
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

GeneralRe: not enough memory to open the created bitmap Pin
A. Riazi10-Dec-05 4:41
professionalA. Riazi10-Dec-05 4:41 
GeneralRe: not enough memory to open the created bitmap Pin
arsin11-Dec-05 4:54
Memberarsin11-Dec-05 4:54 
GeneralRe: not enough memory to open the created bitmap Pin
A. Riazi11-Dec-05 5:49
professionalA. Riazi11-Dec-05 5:49 
GeneralRe: not enough memory to open the created bitmap Pin
arsin11-Dec-05 6:19
Memberarsin11-Dec-05 6:19 
GeneralRe: not enough memory to open the created bitmap Pin
Antonis Mpillis15-Dec-06 3:33
MemberAntonis Mpillis15-Dec-06 3:33 
GeneralRe: not enough memory to open the created bitmap Pin
fatima200818-May-07 6:13
Memberfatima200818-May-07 6:13 
GeneralFirst-chance exception when calling AVIStreamGetFrame() Pin
demask29-Oct-05 6:47
Memberdemask29-Oct-05 6:47 
GeneralHey, has anybody faced with such strange behaviour?????? Pin
demask1-Dec-05 22:56
Memberdemask1-Dec-05 22:56 
GeneralTrying to compile... Pin
lets_pandora119-Oct-05 4:32
Memberlets_pandora119-Oct-05 4:32 
GeneralRe: Trying to compile... Pin
A. Riazi19-Oct-05 17:31
professionalA. Riazi19-Oct-05 17:31 
The ASSERT and TRACE0 are both macros that are useful for debugging. You can omit them.
The CString is an MFC wrapper class for strings (char*).

Best regards,
A. Riazi
GeneralThanks... Pin
lets_pandora120-Oct-05 4:46
Memberlets_pandora120-Oct-05 4:46 
NewsAwesome! Very Helpful! Pin
SearedIce13-Oct-05 18:51
MemberSearedIce13-Oct-05 18:51 
AnswerRe: Awesome! Very Helpful! Pin
A. Riazi13-Oct-05 22:22
professionalA. Riazi13-Oct-05 22:22 
Generaltrying to do the opposite sort of Pin
Member 229360112-Oct-05 23:55
MemberMember 229360112-Oct-05 23:55 
AnswerRe: trying to do the opposite sort of Pin
A. Riazi14-Oct-05 17:56
professionalA. Riazi14-Oct-05 17:56 
GeneralMaybe a stupid question! Pin
SimCom21-Sep-05 4:43
MemberSimCom21-Sep-05 4:43 
AnswerRe: Maybe a stupid question! Pin
A. Riazi21-Sep-05 5:29
professionalA. Riazi21-Sep-05 5:29 
GeneralRe: Maybe a stupid question! Pin
SimCom21-Sep-05 6:44
MemberSimCom21-Sep-05 6:44 
GeneralRe: Maybe a stupid question! Pin
A. Riazi21-Sep-05 19:39
professionalA. Riazi21-Sep-05 19:39 
GeneralOne question Pin
cjdfdf29-Aug-05 12:19
Membercjdfdf29-Aug-05 12:19 
AnswerRe: One question Pin
A. Riazi3-Sep-05 0:27
professionalA. Riazi3-Sep-05 0:27 
GeneralVideo denoising Pin
josepop789-Aug-05 4:44
Memberjosepop789-Aug-05 4:44 
Generalsee how I use your code Pin
Georgi Petrov27-Jul-05 9:46
MemberGeorgi Petrov27-Jul-05 9:46 
GeneralRe: see how I use your code Pin
A. Riazi27-Jul-05 22:32
professionalA. Riazi27-Jul-05 22:32 
GeneralRe: see how I use your code Pin
Georgi Petrov27-Jul-05 23:41
MemberGeorgi Petrov27-Jul-05 23:41 

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Posted 5 Nov 2004


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