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Grab a Movie Frame

Posted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:23 am
by Stephen Hart
One of the commonest things I do with movies is to make a still image from somewhere in the movie.
There are even cases where I want to make a screenshot on my Mac, and can't do it with a still screenshot. I can use SnapzProX (with movie) to capture a whole sequence, then extract a single frame from the resulting movie.
Sometimes there's a frame from a movie that would make an OK still. In fact, I did exactly this for a wedding book printed from iPhoto. There was one trip some of the wedding party took where I forgot my camera. I took short movies using an iPod nano (the older version with a movie camera). I was able to extract several stills, and by keeping their size small on the page, they printed pretty well (see image).

• In QuickTime Player 7 Pro (which still works in Snow Leopard), you can use the File > Export menu to export a still. Unfortunately it's a PICT image. I use Graphic Converter to change that to the format I want for use in Photoshop. That's kind of a lot of hassle.

• In QuickTime Player X, you will need to do a screenshot of the frame you want. Command-click the movie to remove the titlebar, cursor and controller. Hit Cmd-Shift-4 and the spacebar to turn the cursor into a window-capture camera. The result will be in the graphic format you have chosen. Unfortunately, this produces an image with an ugly black, round-cornered border.

* This can also be done in iMovie, but I understand the procedure differs with different versions.

Here's a Macworld UK article on this topic: ... id=3266768

This article mentions one iPhone app that will do single-frame extractions on the iPhone itself. Here's another one that got better ratings: ... 50641?mt=8
It also nicely explains the resolution difference between stills and movie frames.