Capturing stills from 1080i HDV

Here’s a quick tip on exporting still images from an HDV video sequence. There are various occasions where this might prove useful. The one I came across recently was needing stills to add to the cover of a DVD of an event. The HDV format makes this slightly less than intuitive, so read on for a quick guide. 

OK this quick guide assumes you have the following:

  • Some 1080i HDV footage (e.g. from Sony Z1U or HC1)
  • An NLE that can capture HDV
  • An image editing app like Photoshop or photoshop elements
  1. First capture your HDV footage into your NLE (I’m assuming you know how to do that bit)
  2. Move the cursor to the frame you want to export.
  3. Export that frame as a still image. Exact method depends on the NLE. In FCP 5 it’s FILE…EXPORT USING QUICKTIME CONVERSION then change the file type to ‘still image’ and select your preferred type – e.g PNG or JPG. I’m pretty sure there’s a ‘save as still image’ option in iMovieHD as well.
  4. Open your still image file in your image editing app
  5. Apply a de-interlace filter (in Pshop it’s FILTERS..VIDEO..DE-INTERLACE). This gets rid of any ‘combing’ effects caused by movement between the two interlaced fields.
  6. Resize the image from 1440×1080 to 1920×1080 pixels. This corrects the aspect ratio of the image.
  7. Adjust brightness, highlights, shadows etc. to taste.
  8. Save your image (In PShop, SAVE TO WEB will let you optimise the image for minimum size while maintaining quality).
  9. You’re done.

That’s it.

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