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Video still frames; program; editing, shooting

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Video still frames; program; editing, shooting
on Jan 2, 2007 at 2:42:39 pm

Hi all,

I really need you help.

I have a lot of video footage that I want to convert to still images. I have both iMovie and FCP and the process of making the still frames are quite easy, but which deliver best result in terms of quality? Is there any other program that makes it better?

I am also wondering if there are any tips or tutorials on how to edit these still frames in Photoshop.

Finally if I know in ahead that I will use frames from my videos for still images, what should I bear in mind in terms of camera settings, light and MiniDV cassettes? I shooot on Canon XM2.

Thanx for help


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Re: Video still frames; program; editing, shooting
on Jan 12, 2007 at 5:14:52 pm

Dear Sammet,

I don't know whether FCP or iMovie deinterlace the frames they export, but if you have the choice: do it yourself. It's a bit more work, but in a lot the cases it's worth it.

If there's movement in the shot, you'll see jagged edges on all (near) vertical lines. That is caused by the interlacing process of video. Under filters>Video> there's a filter called deinterlace. It basically throws away every other horizontal line and tries to make up what was there, either by duplicating the lines that are left over, or by interpolating between those lines (the second one is the best option, by the way). It does the job, but you tend to loose a lot of detail. And the resolution of video already isn't much to speak of.

I like to duplicate the layer with the still, so I have two identical layers. Then I run the deinterlace filter on one of them (usually the lower layer, and I'll assume so for the rest of the description).
Then I choose the upper layer and add a layer mask to it (Layer > Layer Mask > reveal all). In the layers-palette you'll see a white square next to the thumbnail of the upper layer. Now, make sure the white square is selected instead of the thumbnail (just click on it if you're not sure). Then take the brush tool and make sure your foreground color is set to BLACK. Then start painting over the areas that are most affected by the jagged-interlacing-edges. What happens is that in the places where you've painted the upper layer disappears and reveals the lower layer, which has been deinterlaced. If you make a mistake, paint white over that area and the upper layer will be shown again.
TIP: press D to set your colors to black and white, and press X to switch between the two.

If you turn the visibility of the upper layer on and off, you can see the difference between this method and normal deinterlacing. Your image will appear quite a bit sharper.
This method works especially well if the video-footage was a stationary shot with only one or two moving objects. You only have to deinterlace those objects and leave the rest nice and sharp.

Having said that: there's your first tip for shooting the material! Try to make stationary shots when you know that shot will also be used as a still. Preferably on a tripod.

Another thing: if you need portraits of people from stills, make sure you have footage of them not talking and not moving (at least not walking). I once had to pull stills from footage where someone was walking while he/she was telling a story. I had dozens of takes to choose from, but almost every frame looked silly either because of posture of facial expression. Same thing goes for people eating, by the way.

Well, my two cents. I hope it helps!


Rotterdam, the Netherlands

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