TIP: Use VLC to review SD card files

Recently a serious crime occurred two doors down from my house. The police are looking for the victim’s missing car. I had 59 hours of video to review to see if I could help, so I used VLC which does two very important things for this task. First, VLC can play a series of 1-minute files by simply dragging a folder into the playlist. Second, you can watch the playback at 64x speed.

I watched 24 hrs at a time by dragging in the “day” folder off the card. Then I cranked it up to 64x and watched for the car to come/go. Its surprising how well you can see big things moving at that speed. If I saw something curious, just hit the spacebar to stop, slow things down, rewind a couple minutes, and review at slower speeds. If there was actually something of interest, I simply did a screen grab to capture the timestamp and I could then move on.

I literally watched 59 hours of video in just a few hours (including some breaks and time to inspect curious things closer).

I post this because it took me a lot of research to get to where I was making progress. The answer is fairly simple and works quite well, once you know about VLC’s capabilities.

Note: I copied all the files off the SD card first and operated from a hard disk. Not sure the SD cards can feed data fast enough, but you really want a backup for situations like this.


This is a great tip! I recently tried to do this for my neighbor who was broken into. It was a pain.

I love VLC, it’s been my go to player (and converter) of choice for almost 2 decades. Never thought about dragging in an entire folder. Thanks for sharing!

This is actually tremendous news and will help many people. Thanks @charlesclloyd !

There have been all kinds of discussions about playing or joining together the small files, including in VLC, but as far as I’ve seen no one discovered this too-good-to-be-true simple approach. Bravo. I imagine VLC plays them in file timestamp order? Name order?

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Regarding the order, I really don’t know how VLC determines the playlist order as it recurses down the tree of directories. But, whatever the rule is, the Wyze directory structure (and naming conventions) seems to be compatible and works perfectly. I did not change any of the default settings of my VLC and I am on MacOS Big Sur v 11.0.1.

Just to be clear, I opened the directory from the SD card called “record” and dragged in a folder named “20201109” (what I call a “day” folder in the original post). VLC iterates though all the “hour folders” to find the 1-minute long .mp4 files and add them to the playlist. Then you hit play and it works amazingly well.

Also, for the VLC newbie (like myself), use cmd= and cmd- (cmd-equal and cmd-minus) to play faster slower. This is not obvious from the menu system which will only allow you to play at 4x speed.


That is kind of astonishing then. Amazing. Thank you!

Edit: Upon reflection I think it’s just playing them all in name order after collecting them in a single list. Which is apparently perfect.

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