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VLC Tutorial - Frame Grabbing
VLC Media Player is an outstanding piece of freeware that offers a lot of extra features among which we can find the possibility to use it to capture frames from any video or DVD. In this tutorial I'm going to explain to you how to do it and not die trying. For those who haven't installed VLC Media player yet, you can do so by downloading it from the download button on top of this page, it's totally for free, not even a registration is needed and the InstallIQ install manager will guide you through the setup process. VLC has been thoroughly tested to be virus free.
If you have already installed and run this amazing free multimedia player for the first time, VLC will show a really simple and easy to use interface as you can see in the screenshot above.
So, hands on! First of all you must make some adjustments for the Frame Grab function to work. Go to Tools → Preferences, it will open the Preferences window where the default option is ''Interface'' switch to ''Video'' and scroll down till you see the Video snapshots options. It should look as follows:
On ''Directory'' enter the path where you want your snapshots to be saved to, next, ''Prefix'' is the first part of the snapshots' name so, you can enter any name you like according to the Show/Movie you are capturing frames from, here you can also select the Sequential numbering of the snapshots, which is very useful if you plan to take a lot of them (if not selected VLC adds a number to the file name that is based on what time it is when snapshot is captured). And last but not list you can select the file format by unfolding the list, there are two options: png takes more disk space but it's better quality and jpg is lighter and poorer quality but, on the other hand, jpg format is selected by most users because its compatible with more programs like word processors.
To apply all these changes you must click on the Save button.
Now you must open the video/DVD you want to capture frames from. To do so, go to Media → Open File... or any of the other options that fits your needs. For this example I opened a .avi movie I have in my HDD so I selected Open File... (i.e. in case you need to open a DVD select the ''Open Disc...'' option) see below the complete list of options:
Once you opened and the movie/show is playing you can either take a snapshot on the fly by going to Video menu and clicking on Snapshot or pausing the video at any given time and do the same. There is also a keyboard shortcut to take a snapshot and is by pressing Shift+s. The result in both cases is that you see the frame snapshot on the top left corner of the main window along with the path where the file is saved to for a couple of seconds.
In the next screenshot you can see a sequence of snapshots I took both on the fly and pausing the movie.
And finally, the next screenshot depicts one of those snapshots used as a desktop background, cool huh?.
Now you can capture the frames from your favorite movies and DVDs and use them for many purposes like turning them into a cool desktop wallpaper or any other application you can think of. Remember that VLC Media Player is free and that you can always download it from the link below without even having to register anywhere, zero cost, zero hassle but fully-featured, couldn't ask for more!!