Often I'll need to grab a still frame from a video to use as a thumbnail on a website, or to use as the preview frame on a video service like Vimeo, or just to send a still frame to a client. However, for some reason this task is not as easy as it seems like it should be, and while I feel like I've searched around a decent amount, I've never been able to find an easily workable solution. I knew that within QuickTime 7 Pro I could do file:export and then choose "Movie to Still Image" from the drop-down menu, but for some reason the only option they give you is to export it as a PICT file, which no websites I've come across will accept. Also, Photoshop can't open it to convert it to anything, and Preview can only convert it to a PDF, which is pretty useless. But FINALLY I found a way to do this fairly painlessly, so I'm posting it here in hopes that anyone who's searching the Internet frantically for a solution to this problem will come across this page. I wish it could be one simple step, but this is still, by far, the easiest solution that I've found. Surprisingly, it uses QuickTime X. (Side note: I really wish that Apple would get it together and make a Pro version of QuickTime X so that I wouldn't always be wondering if I should be using QuickTime 7 Pro or X for a given task.) Anway, here it is:
- Open the video in QuickTime X
- Move the playhead to the frame that you want to capture
- Edit:Copy (⌘C)
- Open Preview
- File:New from Clipboard (⌘N)
- File:Save (⌘S) - here you can choose from a number of much more useful formats like TIFF, JPEG, and PNG
And that's it! Obviously, this is intended for a Mac, but for anyone on a Windows machine there's probably a similar program that you can paste the image in. Hope this saves someone out there a headache! If you know of a better way, let me know!