Extracting images from movies?

If I have a quicktime movie on my computer, how can I extract a single frame from it? I’m guessing there is some shareware utility to do so, but I’ve googled my rump off and I can’t find one. Anyone have something like this?

The screen capture utility in Windows is very limited. You can get a better quality screen capture program like SnagIt and it will handle a paused video capture.

Good luck!

Can’t you just pause the quicktime at that frame, take a snapshot of your screen (apple-shift-3 on a Mac … PC people? is there something similar?), and then crop out everything else on the screen in a standard image editing program (Photoshop, etc.)?

::smacks forehead::

I can’t believe that never occured to me. Thanks, folks.

Not necessarily. Most video players access the monitor in a different way than do most programs. As far as the operating system is concerned, the contents of the player window are just blank; the player is sending the movie to the screen more directly. So if you try to just take a screenshot, you’ll get a black rectangle there instead of the movie.

Or, just hit a paase button in the controller, chose copy from the edit menu, and paste the image into a graphics program (I just tried paint)

Does this problem occur with SnagIt?

Are you using a PC or a Mac?

I’m using a PC and use a media player that can play QuickTime files as long as QuickTime is also installed on the computer. It can also take a screen shot of whatever it is currently playing. The basic version is also free.

I won’t post the link because I’m not sure what the rules are for posting links to products. Let me know if you want it.

As Chronos said, most players (Quicktime, RealPlayer, Media Player) will far more often than not just have a blank screen if you try to use printscreen. Most of the demos for players that allow capture only work sporatically too, which makes it a good idea to try a demo before you buy the product.

However, there is one program that allows you to take perfect screencaps every time: PowerDVD 5 by cyberlink. The funny thing is the program is marketed as a DVD player for your computer, and the screencap feature is merely secondary (so far as the sellers seem to be concerned). When you install it, look for the camera icon on the lower left of the control panel - clicking it will take sceencaps and store them in a folder for you. Of all the people I know who make their own screencaps, every one of them has settled on this product… You can get a trial version at the Cyberlink Page http://www.gocyberlink.com/multi/download/download.jsp and it’s reasonably priced on ebay too.

I reiterate my response - there is NO NEED for a 3rd party program (unless you want to copy a video clip and not just a frame), The quicktime player that one gets when downloading quicktime has a “copy” function.

(Windows media player on the other hand does not)


In Windows XP, you can use the Moviemaker application included in the standard installation. Import the movie and it automatically splits the movie into clips. Play the clip you want, pause at the scene you want, click the far right icon under the clip display window, and supply an image name/location.

One trick that was shown to me to get around the black screen problem is to have two different movie players open, like say Windows Media and DivX player. Have the first one playing the movie you want to capture from, and the second just some random other movie. For some reason, if you have the other movie file open, the “PrintScrn” button will successfully copy with the frame, then you can simply paste it into an image program like Paint.

This isn’t surprising since there could probably be only one program directly painting to the video buffers at a time, so Windows Media Player defaults to using GDI to draw the video.

This must be a Windows thing. I just captured frames using Windows Media Player and Quicktime on my Mac:



Photoshop Elements 2 will also allow you to grab frames from video.

Download the video to a folder, then in Elements go to File > Import > Frame from Video.

A dialog box opens, click on ‘Browse’ to select your file. The video will play in the window, and you can grab as many frames as you like.

Be aware that PowerDVD won’t take screenshots from a DVD if you have hardware acceleration on though… other than that and some volume issues it’s a great program.