Capturing still images from video

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Halcyon, Aug 21, 2007.

  1. Halcyon macrumors 6502

    Sep 21, 2006
    I need to capture still images from video...with the the highest possible resolution. My client has a video that shows one of his products in action and I need to capture some still images that will be printed in a brochure (i.e. high resolution 300 dpi images). I know videos are not recorded at this high of a resolution, so I would appreciate you showing me what the best method/trick to capture the image at its highest possible resolution is.

    I have Quicktime Pro but the images I grab are not that great. Any other software that might do the trick? This is just going to be a one time gig so I rather go the cheap way and invest as little money as possible on any new software.

    My field of work is graphic design for print and web (no video experience whatsoever), so any help will be much appreciated.

  2. TheAnswer macrumors 68030


    Jan 25, 2002
    Orange County, CA
    I don't know what the product is, so I don't know if this option is even possible: Try to reproduce the video stills with a set of still camera images (either film or digital).
  3. Peel macrumors 6502a


    Aug 30, 2004
    I take it you need the images to print larger than 2.6" x 1.4"? Unfortunately all standard video is shot at 720x480 pixels, so at 300dpi, that's the largest you'll be able to print at. No capture application is going to give you an image that's larger than 720x480.

    As a graphic designer, I'm sure you have a few tricks to upres an image, but as you know, you'll lose sharpness in the process. The highest I've been able to upres a screen shot in Photoshop, and get what i considered a usable image is 200%, sent to print at 200dpi. This gives a printed image size of 7.2" x 4.8", though you really should then correct for NTSC's non-square pixels, or you'll get a squished image. With that in mind, a 200% output @200dpi will yield 6.4" x 4.8"

    In Photoshop, I'd use the old method of resizing in small steps (between 110 and 125% - five steps at 115%, or four steps at 119% will give a total change of 200%) using bicubic interpolation, until you get to the last step, in which I'd use bicubic sharpening, in order to define the edges a bit more and give a bit more definition to the pic. You could try bicubic sharpening on the last two if you want, but more than that and the picture will start to look over sharpened, and grainy. Doing this in small steps, instead of one jump lessens the artifacts introduced, and a direct integer upres (factor of two in this case) will always show the original pixels more clearly, than doing it in intermediate steps.

    Good Luck!
  4. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    For the best possible resolution, I have a very easy way. Play your movie in QuickTime in "actual size" until you reach the scene you want. Then hit Edit->Copy. Now start Preview and hit File -> New from Clipboard. This will give you the best image possible. Now you can save and pick the format you want. I believe TIFF is uncompressed, but JPEG with "high" or "best" quality might be good enough as well.

    BTW, you don't need QT Pro for this trick.
  5. Halcyon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 21, 2006
    Thanks for your tips guys.

    I've tested your method theBB but I get lots of jaggies on the image. Believe it or not, so far I'm getting the best results by stopping the movie on the exact frame I want and using a utility to do a screen capture image (Grab). I save it as an uncompressed tiff and from there I'm experimenting with Photoshop, Blow Up and Fractals to see which one yields the best result for print. I don't really need the images that big (about 3 x 2 inches), I just need the best quality though because this is going to be a high end brochure.

    BTW, my client is not cheap at all it's just that the images in the video are impossible to reproduce again because it involves a $95,000 armored BMW being put to the test by shooting at it with all types of high grade ammunition. The still cameras that where set did not covered one critical view angle that is much needed right now.

    This is the info on the video...if it helps any:

    Format: DV, 720 x 480 (640 x 480), Millions
    DV, Stereo, 32.000 kHz

    Playing FPS: (Available while playing)

    Data size: 987.63 MB

    Data Rate: 57.52 mbits/second

    Duration: 0:00:02:24.01

    Normal size: 640 x 480 pixels
  6. skimaxpower Guest

    Jan 13, 2006
    Since you're grabbing from high-motion Video, you may have problems with interlacing in your images. Experiment with the De-interlace filters in both QT Pro and in Photoshop.

    Yes, they'll blur the image a bit, but it might be better than having all those horizontal lines through your image.
  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Unfortunately the best you can do is pick a spot w/the least amount of motion in it (this will help reduce image loss due to interlacing) and massage it in Photoshop. You are basically working with two 720*240 images that were taken 1/60th of a second apart and run thru a compression wringer. Not a lot to work with...

  8. Halcyon thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 21, 2006
    Thanks guys. You have all been very helpful. I have now a much better understanding of the issues concerned with converting video to still images thanks to your pointers.

    I'm a power PS user, but to be honest had never dealt or used at all the interlaced filter...which came in very handy this time.

    Thanks again.
  9. ozlady macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2010
    Using iMovie

    IMovie allows you to capture stills.

    From this forum:
    once you find the place you want to convert to a still frame you right click on it (or control click) and choose "add still frame to project" (or something very similar to that. then right click (CTRL click) on that still frame and choose "reveal in finder", the bottom most option. it is placed as a jpeg in a folder for ya.​

    For me it said "add freeze frame", but after the freeze frame had been added, Ctrol-Clicked, and selected "reveal in finder" and there it was.


  10. grapejucy macrumors newbie

    Nov 4, 2009
  11. sschwar4 macrumors member

    Apr 25, 2008
    Chandler, AZ
    This feature no longer works in iMovie '11. If you rely on it, don't upgrade!

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