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Frozen in Time – How to Take Video Snapshots with DV Kitchen

Filed under: Uncategorized — emitaliablog
Posted on April 20, 2010 @ 1:20 pm
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When editing video destined for the web, you’ll often want to capture and publish video snapshots to be used as thumbnails or poster frames at the begining of the clip.

But if you’ve ever exported stills from an editing program, you know what a headache it can be. That’s why the developers of DV Kitchen, the premier video encoder for mac osx, have built a tool called TimeFreezer into their compression suite.

Put simply, TimeFreezer is an environment for snapping still pictures of a video stream. It is designed to make this process as easy as possible, with higher quality than editors are accustomed to.

You can watch a walk-thru at this video snapshot mac demo.

The first thing you’ll notice when you start TimeFreezer is the purpose dedicated user interface . . . something you won’t find with a regular editing program. On the left side of the screen is a video player, while on the right is space reserved for a gallery of your snapshots.

The scrubbing options are plentiful and intuitive. Firstly, you can click anywhere on the video to jump to that point on the timeline. Alternatively, you can use your J, K, and L keys. Press L to go forward, press it repeatedly to speed up, K stops, and J goes backwards.

You can also use your arrow keys. Left arrow is backwards, down arrow is stop, right arrow goes forwards. The arrow keys make it really easy to find just the frame that we want and freeze the picture right at that point.

Before you start snapping, you simply choose the format to use when your images are saved and the witdth. If they’re destined for the web, JPEG at 90 to 100 quality would be the normal choice, however you can also export in PNG or PICT if you prefer.

The width will depend on the context in which you will display the image. It could be anything from a thumbnal size 100 all the way up to 500 or 800. If you intend use the screen capture to showcase the quality of your clip, you may want to display it at the original dimensions.

When you are ready to take your video snapshot, just use the keyboard shortcut ‘E’ or click the large blue button marked ‘Export this Frame’.

With TimeFreezer, you have unprecedented control over your subjects and the very flow of time itself. You can freeze someone in motion – even in midair – while you assess the picture and you can even go back in time . . . something which is difficult to do with a digital still camera when you’re shooting a moving subject.

You can even get your video stills on the run . . . just use one of the two capture methods to snap multiple images while the video plays. Either way, your screenshots are arranged in a gallery to the right of the timeline for easy access and comparison. Double click the gallery images to increase the image size for easier comparison and assessment.

Note that if you want super razor sharp still pictures without any motion blur out of the video camera, you need to shoot it at a really high shutter speed. If you can see motion blur on your still frames it’s probably because they were shot at 1/48th of a second.

Fast action footage can also present another challenge when shooting in interlaced mode for TV . . . combing artifacts. TimeFreezer offers two ways to deal with these, blend deinterlace (which smoothes the combing effect) and perfect deinterlace. As the name suggests, perfect deinterlace results in a perfect still with no artifacts, but since it uses only every other field in the original frame, the final image is exactly half the size of the original.

Finally, TimeFreezer also includes the ability to FTP your video snapshot directly to a folder on your web site. You can then browse the uploaded stills on the web from within the interface. It even supplies you with the html code required to embed the captured image on a web page, blog or forum.

To learn more about TimeFreezer, watch the official video snapshot mac demo.

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