How to Export a Great Photo from a Video Freeze

by Barrett

Why do video editing platforms offer the option to save a frame of video? Well, if you’re the family videographer who captured the video but missed the photo moment, a little video editing can generate the photo of your dreams. Here’s how…

Have you ever realized that you’ve recorded a great family moment on video, but you didn’t snap a single photo? Well, don’t despair! If you’re living in the world of 4K video, you can steal a frame from your video file to create a high-res image that you can frame!

Here’s how you do it on a Mac…

If you’re watching your video in QuickTime, there’s the quick-and-dirty way:

  • Simply find your desired frame and pause the video
  • Copy the specific section of your screen that contains the video window by pressing Apple/Shift/4 and then drag the crosshair pointer to create the appropriate box
  • That screenshot will pop onto your desktop as a PNG file
  • From there you can easily convert it to a JPEG or TIFF

JPEG creation is really easy to do in iMovie:

  • In your timeline, simply scrub your playhead to a specific moment
  • Click on the ‘Share’ icon in the upper right corner
  • Click on ‘Image’
  • Then, select where you want to save your new JPEG

Final Cut Pro X
Note: ‘Save Current Frame’ isn’t a default option in FCPX. You’ve got to add it if you’re doing this for the first time:

  • In your timeline, scrub your playhead to your magic moment
  • Click on the ‘Share’ icon in the upper right corner
  • Click on ‘Add Destination’
  • Drag ‘Save Current Frame’ over to the left column to create this choice if necessary
  • Then, click out of Destinations and start your process again
  • The next time… choose ‘Save Current Frame’
  • Click Settings and choose your file format
    (There are more options here than what iMovie offers.)
  • Then, select where you want to save your new photo file

A Video Frame Can Create a Great Portrait
Surprisingly, this technique can also be quite useful when you’re trying to capture a more natural portrait of someone who has a difficult time posing for the camera.

Sure, it’s hard to choose a good freeze when someone’s talking, but the trick is to grab a frame immediately after a sentence. If it’s also at the end of a complete thought, there’s usually a second of a pause to select from.

Find Your Favorite Photo in Your Next Video
Other video editing platforms like Adobe Premiere Pro also have the same freeze frame capture capabilities. So, essentially you’re totally covered to create the photo of your dreams… as long as you can mine a good video clip.
(Yes, those pesky details)

Good luck!