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Getting Screengrabs / Screenshots from video

Posted on 2012-03-10
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Last Modified: 2012-03-25
I am attempting to make a photomosaic as a gift for my brother, which will be a photo of him, make up of many pics from a favorite movie of his.  In order to accomplish this, I have attempted to get screengrabs/screenshots while playing the movie using VLC.  This is easy enough to do.

However, the resulting pictures look like this:

 what I am getting
The black bars at the top and bottom of the pics (widescreen, aspect ratio issues), would make them unsuitable for a photomosaic.  What I need is a way to get the screengrabs, but so that they look like this:

what I need
I am hoping this can be accomplished, either through an options adjustment in VLC, or through some other software.  Thanks for any help you can provide.
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Question by:Duchenne
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Expert Comment

by:leoahmad
ID: 37705176
KMPlayer have more capturing options
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Expert Comment

by:Tymetwister
ID: 37713149
Are you just using the print screen key to copy it to the clipboard?  And I suppose you could always crop the image afterward to take the black bars out, which it looks like you've done in the 2nd pic, by means of a small tool like Snipping Tool.
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Accepted Solution

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BillDL earned 500 total points
ID: 37732183
Hi Duchenne

Presumably you are just using the "Snapshot" button on the VLC Player Toolbar (or assigned keyboard shortcut/menu option):
.and have set your options for this function in VLC Player's Tools > Preferences > Video section so that it just creates images in a chosen folder each time you click the snapshot button:
.http://wiki.videolan.org/Documentation:Play_HowTo/Basic_Use/Snapshots

You will obviously then be aware that you don't have many options.  You can control one other option if you flip over to the advanced view of the preferences and select "Video":
.Here you can specify the width and height of the snapshots.

There may well be a much better or easier way to do what you are trying to achieve (for example leoahmad has suggested that KMPlayer has additional "capturing options").

In order to suggest the most appropriate solution for your needs it would be useful to know a few things about the video file.

1. What is the file extension of the video eg. flv, mp4, wmv, avi)?
2. Is it a "slideshow" type video originally created from still images, or is it a video as captured by digital camera.
3. If it is a "slideshow" video, do you know if ALL the original still images are the same pixel size, aspect ratio, etc, or were they from various sources, of different sizes, some cropped, some landscape and some portrait mode, etc.?
4. If it's a "proper" video, is it a composite of separate video files?
5. If it is a composite, were all the separate videos captured on the same device and at the same size?

What I'm trying to establish is whether those top and bottom black lines are consistent in ALL the screen grabs created by VLC Player, or if they are going to be wider, narrower, or non-existent, or at top/bottom in some and right/left in others.

If the black borders are consistent and as shown in your attached image, then it will be very easy to use a simple freeware program to crop them all in exactly the same way to eliminate the black borders in one go using "batch mode" either from the program user interface or from the command line.  If the borders are different in your screen grab images, then "batch cropping" won't be a viable proposition.

I generally use the free IrfanView for this type of thing, but let's wait and see what you can tell us about the screenshots before making full recommendations.

Bill
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Author Comment

by:Duchenne
ID: 37755963
Bill

Sorry for the delay in answering your questions...I hope you are still available to help.

The screen grabs are from a commercial DVD, and so I suppose the file type is .VOB.  The black borders would be identical on each imaged captured.  

Not a composite of separate video files.

I am assuming with each image captured from the same source (DVD), using your recommended settings on VLC would result in exactly what I am looking for.  

I will review your post above, and keep this open for a couple more days in case you have any additional help given this information, and then I will accept your solution as the answer.  

Again, sorry for the delay and so any additional information you think is necessary is DOUBLE appreciated.

Gregg
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 37756979
Hi again Gregg.

It's good to know that the black borders at the top and bottom of the screenshots you have are all exactly the same, because that would make it pretty easy crop the images in batch mode with Irfanview (window or command line mode), XnView, XnView's command line partner nConvert, or other free application.

If you find that the VLC Player settings don't work for you, then just say and I will provide you with the required steps to do what you need with the existing images.

Bill
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Author Closing Comment

by:Duchenne
ID: 37763469
Over and above...one of the best and most complete answers i have received since joining Experts Exchange.  Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 37764548
Thank you Duchenne :-)
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