I have been asked a few times about how I get frame grabs out of GoPro footage, here are my tips on how to get it done easily on the go.
I use a cheap Acer Aspire One netbook when I’m not at home, it’s pretty low powered so viewing any HD video is hard work, I’ve learnt that Quicktime or VLC are both good options for playing back the GoPro files but neither will manage full speed playback and the tiny screen doesn’t do it justice in any case.
Using Quicktime has the adantage of being able to frame advance with the arrow keys, this is ideal for picking out the best frame, if you’re shooting in 60fps mode there’s bound to be one or two good frames worth picking out.
Getting a GoPro frame grab can be a bit of a pain, especially on a low powered system like the acer, to simplify things I use Google Picasa, besides being a simple to use, free image organiser it has a nice feature when you hit print screen, it automatically saves the image and it pops up a little tab at the side of the screen which you click on to get to an editing screen.
You can then do some simple editing like cropping, colour adjustments etc. then export it as a jpg so you can upload to facebook or flickr.
Alternatively you can export from Quicktime as a pdf (why not jpg?) by going to file>print and selecting adobe pdf, it takes ages but you can then open it in photoshop or whatever and export as a jpg, it does give you a full res’ image which is a bonus that you wont get with my picasa print screen option.
VLC makes it pretty simple to export a frame grab at full res’ as a bmp file, but you can’t frame advance like with Quicktime so getting the perfect frame is tricky when you’re jumping between play and pause.
There’s a few other simple things which I do to get the footage sorted before it’s ready to be edited which I will elaborate on in part 2.
GoPro Frame Grab UPDATE:
VLC 2.0 has been released and I discovered that you can frame advance, here’s my new workflow for frame grabbing using just VLC.
For the simplest way to take a GoPro Frame Grab here’s what to do:
First set up VLC
The VLC preferences dialog box
- Go into the tools menu and select preferences
- Click on the video settings button on the left (it’s a traffic cone wearing glasses with a bucket of popcorn)
- The bottom section is the snapshot settings, change the directory to something more memorable
- Change the prefix if you like, I’m pretty sure I’ll be using this for GoPro grabs only so I’ll make it “GoProFrame-“
- Finally change the format from png to jpg, this makes it much easier to upload to any photo sharing sites or e-mail it to someone, if you want to get a less compressed image or you’ll be editing your images in photoshop, leave it on png
- Make the frame advance button visible by going into the view menu and checking the Advanced Controls option, as shown below:
Advanced Controls enabled – frame advance is the button with a red arrow on a filmstrip icon
That’s set up VLC, now to actually grab the image:
- Open your file with VLC
- Watch through the clip and navigate to just before the best looking moment
- Use the frame by frame button at the bottom (it’s the one which looks like a film strip with a red arrow overlayed on top) to advance until you get the perfect frame
- Go to the video menu and click on the bottom option – “Take Snapshot”
That’s it. no need for any other software now, your GoPro frame grab is ready for upload to flickr, facebook, or transfer to your phone.