Print Quality Digital Video Stills

Lauren writes, “I was reading your site about still image capture from video…is there a video format available that is able to generate an image at 300 dpi? Is there special video (professional stuff I would guess) that would truly give you a good quality image for printing in a magazine?”
While Hollywood film productions shot with 70mm film (and even 35mm) can be converted to printed stills without too much deterioration in image quality; video looks best on screens. Video results in a dramatic deterioration in image quality when you try to print it. Some editing tricks in Photoshop can beef up the effective DPI of a still video frame, but it still won’t look as good as an equivalent shot taken with a still camera. Standard definition video is almost never print worthy. If you truly need to shoot video that can be printed in a magazine, either HD video at 1080p or 4k Ultra HD is your best bet. The equivalent of a 4×6 still image can be cropped from a 1080p frame to achieve approximately 300 dots per inch. A 720p image will get you a 4×6 print image with approximately 200 dpi equivalent print resolution. 4k gets you an image that is closer to print quality, but you will also pay considerably more for the video camera.