Still Frame capture from Video

This tutorial covers the process of capturing still images from Video. There are two basic methods - to export a still from the file - or to rephotograph a still from a screen or projection. The method should be considered carefully.

Method 1. Export still imagefrom Premiere or Quicktime Pro. If you shot your video with a full HD camera (Mark II or III) - the maximum resolution you will be able to export without interpolating pixels is 1920 x 1080 pixels at 72 dpi - which is excellent resolution for a post-card - and pretty good for a 7 x 12" print.

In Quicktime Pro (you must pay about $35 to upgrade to quicktime pro or be in one of our labs with quicktime pro) you can export a still by finding the frame that you would like to export in a movie, then going to File->Export. Set the options as follows - this will export a PICT file, and this file can be opened in Photoshop.

In Premiere you can do this directly from a clip in your project, or from a clip that is positioned in a sequence that you have edited. Once you find the frame that you would like to export in the sequence, go to File->Export. In the pop-up menu (below), set the settings as follows and make sure to uncheck "export as sequence" and use the yellow playhead on the bottom left to specify the frame you want to export.

Once you have your images opened in Photoshop - there are a few adjustments you may need to make.

1. If the image has a horizontal interlaced (combed) effect - photoshop has tools to remove this. Interlaced video is captured at 59.94 frames per second - and then two frames are stored in each frame of video. These frames can be unpacked by using the Effect->Video->De-Interlace (play with the settings, but only apply once.) Depending on the settings you use - your resulting image can represent either of the two frames that are packed together - and there are a few different ways that the image can be ressurected.

2. If your video image size was recorded in a non-square pixel format - the aspect ratio will reproduce incorrectly when it is see outside of photoshop. If it was 720x480, resize to 720x540 pixels, if it was 1440x1080, resize to 1920x1080, if it was 1280x1080 resize to 1920x1080. (you will need to uncheck constrain proportions in the image size dialog. (this corrects the proportion of the image to account for the non-square pixels that DV video uses).

3. Generally you need to make the image more contrasty by using either the levels filter or curves and remapping the white and black input values to roughly 6 and 245. It depends on the brightness of the video. The range of value in the video is usually more narrow than


Method 2. Using a digital still cameratake an exposure of a television, lcd or projection that is displaying a "paused" image of your video. This method will produce a high resolution image that can be printed large through either digital or photographic process. The scan lines of the video will be apparent and this will emphasize the materiality of analog video or the method of your installation.

1. Find a dark room with a tv or video monitor.
2. Connect a laptop with your video or a blu-ray.
3. Find the frame of the video you would like to capture - and pause the video.
4. Set up the camera on a tripod - i'd recommend a 40mm or higher lens to minimize distortion - decide if you would like to capture the black border.
5. Use 100 or 200 ISO so you can use a SLOW exposure (1/15 or 1/8 second or slower) if the exposure is too fast you will have a horizontal refresh interuption in the image - or with DLP projectors -you might have an image that looks like a saturated single color.
6. Use a CABLE RELEASE (or the timer on the camera if you don't have one).


Joshua Mosley © 2014