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>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)?

What you get from a DVD (or videotape) is a video grab.  A still is actually a still photograph made by a photographer during production and is often only a rough reflection of what's actually in the film.  Another option is a frame enlargement which as the name says is a photograph made from an actual frame of the film; the quality is usually a bit rough because they're nearly always made from a positive print rather than a negative.

The most common or at least most famous source for stills has been the MOMA library which was recently shut down by museum management.  Stills for current films can be obtained from the studio publicity departments though my experience has always been as a journalist so I don't know how much they'll help with academic requests.  Use of frame enlargements or video grabs is a murky copyright area that's been discussed here off and on for a few years.

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