Creating “Print-Worthy” Frame Grabs from a Video File

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One of the most common requests I hear is the desire to take frame grabs from video and format them for use in print. Unfortunately, the mediums just don’t mix very well. Remember, in order to capture between 24 –30 frames per second, a small image is grabbed. Depending on your format, you end up with around 640 X 480 square pixels of information for standard definition. If you condense these pixels to a print resolution of say 300 ppi, you get a print size of about 2 X 1.5 inches. Slightly larger than a postage stamp, but not very useful for most printing jobs. For HD, things are a little better as you have up to 1920 X 1080 which means about 6.5 X 3.5 inches.

In Photoshop, we can “up-rez” an image through the Image Size command (Image > Image Size). Since this information does not currently exist, the computer will attempt to interpolate the information. I recommend that you switch pixel dimensions to percent, and then up-rez exactly 200% using the nearest neighbor interpolation method. Are the results great? No. But they are acceptable for some uses. An excellent Photoshop plug-in called Genuine Fractals uses advanced processing to generate high-quality files from low quality sources. You can find out more information at

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