Jeremy Butler wrote, >What I should have said is that *digitally* captured images from >*video-originating* material are superior to analog >photographs-of-the-monitor images of the same. What Chuck Derry and I have >been trying to figure out is a good way to get video images (not film >images) into print. Ah, finally something I know something about. I was going to come into the thread and castigate Jerry for misleading the group about video images but he has redeemed himself through his clarification. However, I think the list would benefit from a little tech talk about this in case you're preparing to take the plunge into the muddy waters of video capture for printing. Let's start with video itself. I often describe video in my seminars as looking at life through a screen door. It's fuzzy. Really clean, original video is fuzzy. Even NHK's 1125 HDTV is fuzzy (in a manner of speaking) closer than 3 feet. If you were to have a TV screen in a book in your lap you'd be able to see the lines and the fuzzy edges. We normally watch TV screens from about 6 feet away and the specs for NTSC, with respect to clarity, are interpreted for a minimum of 6 feet viewing distance. The second barrier to scramble over is the player machinery. A paused video image is not the whole signal. An image running at play speed has about twice the signal information as a paused image. A captured frame ought to be running at full speed when it arrives in the computer then it can be selected from the "stream" as a single interval. The third barrier to haul yourself through is the quality of the capture encoding hardware. The highest quality capture systems cost plenty. They capture excellent images and convert to digital without adding any artifacts to the signal. Capture systems for non-linear computer editing are top notch and top priced. They capture each frame individually, which is necessary for editing as you can well imagine. Some capture "streams", are not frame-based, and need to have more than a single frame's information to reproduce a still. But that's another essay. The next obstacle on the course is the compression of the captured file. If you have the real estate on your hard drive (or server system) you can capture the image stream without any compression and save it to a disk directly. We're talking big big big files here. I have a one gigabyte file which represents a 720 pixel by 480 pixel image size capture of a Betacam original tape segment lasting only about 5 minutes. It's beautiful and clear, but it's trapped on my AV speed drive because I can barely squeeze it onto a JAZ removable cartridge. Most software which operates capture systems offers you a pallette of compression schemes. If you compress the file when saving, you're going to lose image. Fuzzy originals become worse when compressed. Getting that one frame from the stream (the uncompressed one you make) means having software which will "clip" that frame and make an image file from it. Some software hasn't a clue what you need. Other stuff is helpful or will handle plug in software to help with the transitions. However, most plug in technology is developed to get graphic files into video and not video files into graphic formats. Long before you play the tape into the computer you should have had the kind of meaningful conversation with your graphics professional you would normally have with your spouse concerning family planning. This intimate exchange should include their preferred file type, their need for "screen" parameters, and a discussion of the final use of the image in the printed document. They may ask that you capture as big and deep a picture as you can afford so that they later can reduce it, enhance it, and then compress it. It's only one frame afterall. How big can it be? The final hurdle before the finish line is the graphic output. My graphics professional has found a process in which he "shrinks the image" by some magic percentage and increases the "perceived" clarity of the image, then he weaves his enhancement magic on the file and compensates for much of the contrast, colour edges, and in-frame motion artifacts using all those "curves" and spikey image charts. He shrinks the picture in order to create a more dense set of pixels. This improves the apparent sharpness of the image. He handles all the friction between himself and printer without my help. They speak that foreign tongue of screens, dots, ink bleed, and paper quality which I never learned in school. If anyone wants details on the hardware a person normally needs for this (or maybe just the stuff I use) they can mail me for it. Have a cheque book handy because these things don't come cheap. If you have an inexpensive, consumer level capture system you won't be happy with the results of video captures becoming graphic files. You can take that to the bank. I haven't found a store-front service in my area which either understands enough of the process or has the hardware or software to do an adequate job. These are rare skills. Sincerely, Dave Trautman Media Specialist for ATL University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, Canada ---- Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the University of Alabama.