As Don Larsson has already pointed out, Kristin Thompson has discussed her
techniques for "Making Slides from Film and Video Images" in the (now
online) instructor's manual for FILM ART.
Personally, I used to capture still images from 16mm film in the 1970s
using an incredibly primitive device (I can't even recall its name) that
was essentially a pinhole camera. One placed the 16mm film in a holder in
one end of it and 2 1/4" negative film in the other. Then you pointed the
whole thing toward a light source. There was no lens involved!
The result was a fairly high resolution negative of the 16mm positive, but
operating it just about drove me crazy.
Video versions of films and the advent of digital, nonlinear video editing
have presented new ways to do frame grabs. Kristin's essay explains how to
point a still camera at a video monitor and shoot the screen (sort of a
stills version of a kinescope), which results in a slide of the video
image. This process is pretty dicey, however, and, unless you needs slides
for a lecture or other presentation, I'd recommend against it.
Today one can do frame grabs by importing the video into a computer. There
are two components to this: (1) a hardware device that gets the video into
the computer and (2) software that allows you to select one frame from the
video and save it (typically as a JPEG or BMP file).
The hardware for this is either a video graphics card (the one that runs
your computer monitor) with video inputs (e.g., the ATI All-In-Wonder
cards), a Firewire connection (Apple's trademarked name for the IEEE-1394
standard), or a standalone device that plugs into one of your computer's
ports (e.g., Dazzle's Digital Video Creator plugs into the USB port).
The software ranges from fairly high-end nonlinear editing packages (Final
Cut Pro, Premiere, etc.) to inexpensive editing software bundled with video
cards. Even the $29 commercial version of Apple QuickTime will let you do
One note about DVD players: They do make frame grabs easier in one sense
because you can indefinitely pause the video, but most DVDs are encoded
with Macrovision, which creates a distorted image when you try to copy them
or do a frame grab from one. Further, DVD drives in computers themselves
are configured so that one cannot save images from them (something to do
with a video overlay?)--although there may be software to get around this
Hope that's some help,
>Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2002 12:10:43 -0600
>From: Lou A Thompson <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: Film stills
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
>John's query about copyright raises a very basic question for me (a
>newbie)--how to you obtain or produce film stills? I'm thinking DVD
>makes this easier, but what have people been doing BDVD (Before DVD)?
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