William writes, “I have a HP PAVILION 783c Desktop. I would like to make still photos from home video on a DVD+R disc. I contacted HP and they said to contact you.”
The process of capturing a still image from a DVD is essentially the same, regardless of whether the DVD is one you purchased or one you made from a home movie. The model of computer you have should not matter either. As long as your computer has a DVD drive the process of extracting a still photo from a DVD is relatively painless. There are a number of ways to grab still images from a DVD, but my favorite method uses one software application to do all the work.
The first thing you need to do is download VLC Player.
VLC Player is a free app that supports playback of almost any media file and format you can imagine, including DVDs. It also includes a feature to grab a still image from a video and save it to your hard drive.
After installing VLC Player, launch the application, choose File > Open Disc from the menu and choose your DVD drive from the menu (of course, you need to have the DVD in the drive). In my case, my DVD drive is I:
The video will start playing automatically. Scroll through the movie to the point where you want to capture a still image and pause the movie. From the Video menu, choose Snapshot.
The app saves out the image as a 640×480 resolution .png file in your My Pictures folder, using a file name starting with vlcsnap-
If you’re planning to print the captured image, keep in mind 640×480 is not really a print quality resolution, so don’t expect outstanding results in print.
Correcting Interlaced Video Captures
De-interlacing your image might be necessary if the source file isn’t already de-interlaced. You’ll know if the file is interlaced because you’ll see a series of lines in parts of the image where there should be a smooth edge, particularly if the shot was taken in motion. On DVD this generally only comes into play when working with one of the DVD camcorders that record video directly to DVD.
The solution for this is to process the image after capture using a photo editor with De-interlace Filtering. Here’s an example of a video still with interlacing (yes, it has other problems due to low light, but that’s a different tutorial):
After applying the default settings in Photoshop Elements from Filter > Video De-interlace, the hand on the guitar looks more like a hand.
The tutorial on extracting still images from video files, if you need to grab a still from video that isn’t on a DVD.