A visible light imaging system to detect human cardiac rate is proposed in this paper. A color camera and several LEDs, acting as lighting source, were used to avoid the interference of ambient light. From people’s forehead, the cardiac rate could be acquired based on photoplethysmography (PPG) theory. The template matching method was used after the capture of video. The video signal was discomposed into three signal channels (RGB) and the region of interest was chosen to take the average gray value. The green channel signal could provide an excellent waveform of pulse wave on the account of green lights’ absorptive characteristics of blood. Through the fast Fourier transform, the cardiac rate was exactly achieved. But the research goal was not just to achieve the cardiac rate accurately. With the template matching method, the effects of body movement are reduced to a large extent, therefore the pulse wave can be detected even while people are in the moving state and the waveform is largely optimized. Several experiments are conducted on volunteers, and the results are compared with the ones gained by a finger clamped pulse oximeter. The contrast results between these two ways are exactly agreeable. This method to detect the cardiac rate and the pulse wave largely reduces the effects of body movement and can probably be widely used in the future.