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Tag: video freeze frame

How to Create a Great Photo from a Video Freeze Frame

This image is from a timelapse video I recorded of the Mount Greylock Veterans War Memorial Tower. Here’s how I extracted the frame on my Mac.

Picture this: You’ve missed out on capturing a great photo moment. But don’t despair. Sometimes, that image could still exist, buried in a freeze frame of a video clip that you shot instead. And you wouldn’t know it till later when you review your clip.

If you recorded your video at 4K, the visual quality of any frame will likely be excellent. That said, the one variable that could prevent your video freeze from doubling as a photo is motion blur in the shot. But if you shot your video at a high enough frame rate (60 fps), the action should be sharply frozen.

Vacation Memories
Have you just returned from vacation and reviewed your photos? I recommend that you also take a look through the videos you shot with the goal of extracting a few frames. It’s a best practice that should help to fill in any gaps in your vacation photo collection.

Here are a couple video frames from my family’s recent vacation to the Berkshires:

Biking on the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail

Ziplining at Berkshire East Mountain Resort

How to Take a Screenshot of a QuickTime Frame
There are any number of ways to extract a video frame. If you’re on a Mac, an especially easy solution is to take a screenshot of the frame in QuickTime Player.

Here’s the keyboard shortcut to do that:

  • Press Command+Shift+4 and then press the Space bar to change the pointer to a camera icon.
  • Click on your video freeze in the QuickTime window to record the screenshot.
    (Hold the Option key while you click on the window to exclude the window’s shadow.)
  • This will create a PNG file, which you can easily convert to a JPEG, TIFF or PDF.

You can also simply press Command+Shift+4 to generate a cross hair to drag over the video frame, but that takes more work to get the entire image. This capture technique is better used If you’re looking to extract only a portion of your video frame.

The Joy of Pulling Out Video Freeze Frames
It can be fun to mine your videos for freeze frames that double as photos. The process can generate some unexpected gems.

One last note: If you add your video frames to an existing collection of photos from an event, and you organize your pictures chronologically, don’t forget to adjust the capture times for your newly created images.

That will restore order to the visual storytelling of your photo collection.

And for me, order = joy.

How to Export a Great Photo from a Video Freeze

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!

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