Friday, October 13, 2006

HVX200 Tip: How To Extract Pics From Widescreen

Another layer of work was added in the office to extracting still images (jpegs) from high definition video, and I can't figure how that happened. Somewhere, someone must have changed some preferences, because the monitor sizes are all widescreen, and I had extracted wide images from HD clips a few weeks ago.

When I learned about jpeg extraction, the file was 1920x1080, and I could double the size of the movie in order to double the size to 3840x2160. Now, two things happen when extracting a jpeg at original HD size: The width becomes something like 1260, while the depth stays at 1080. Somewhere along the chain, the movie file is recognized as NTSC (television format, 4x3) instead of widescreen 16x9. So the image compresses from the sizes, making everything look like they've been squished against a concrete wall by a Mack truck. As I write this entry from my laptop, my PowerBook still is conformed to recognizing the HVX200 clips as widescreen. I'll try to recall what I did to stretch the NTSC image back to its intended size.

I asked Guru Dave what was going on, but he was clueless. It also didn't help that his mind was on getting out of work to start his 2-week New England vacation. But anyway, I had almost decided to shelve the camera until I could get this cured. But I'll keep using it. You won't learn anything if you've given up.

So, here's the recipe for extracting jpegs from HD movies.

Final Cut Pro (untested with Final Cut Express)
Adobe Photoshop (mine is PS8, Adobe CS)
Quicktime Pro
A video-capable computer (mine's a Macintosh G5)
A little patience.

1) Turn whatever HD movie clips you have into Quicktime.
2) Open the file to its original size.
3) Play your file until you find the optimum frame that you'd like to extract as a still image.
3a *Opt*) Double the size of the movie clip by hitting "Apple-2"
4) "Apple-C" (which is a key shortcut for copying). The frame is then copied.
5) Open Photoshop (or, something like TextEdit, which you can paste).
6) "Apple-N" (a keypad shortcut for opening a new file).
7) The file can be custom-created.

But what Photoshop does is recognize the copying you've done and makes a size that conforms exactly to what your image size is.
*HINT* at the top of the prompt, the document is named "Untitled-1." I like to rename the image as the same name of the movie file I'm using. Sometimes I extract more than one image, so I then add letters from A to Z. This is invaluable if you need to revisit the movie clip later.
8) Go to "Layer" in Photoshop and flatten the image (at the bottom).

Do what toning and resizing you want, and save your clip.

For those suffering the NTSC/Widescreen squeeze, read further.
If your computer is spitting out anamorphed images (another term for squeezed), uncheck the "constrain proportions" box after opening "Image Size." You MUST have the file's original pixel size handy in order to return your morphed image back to its unsqueezed proportions. Here are some as a cheat for you:

Double HD Squeezed: 2880x2160
1080 HD Squeezed: 1440x1080
Double 720 HD Squeezed: 1540x1152
720 HD Squeezed: 960x720

You want to return to the "Image Size" function to uncheck that "Constrained Proportions" box so you can return the file size to its original proportions. Replace the top number (which corresponds with the first set of numbers as shown above) with the first number of the widescreen size, listed below.

Double HD Wide: 3840x2160
1080 HD Wide: 1920x1080
Double 720 HD Wide: 2048x1152
720 HD Wide: 1280x720

So, if you've shot in 720p and have a file that's now 960x720, uncheck that box in Image Size, then replace 960 with a pixel size of 1280. Hit "Okay" and your wide format has returned.

For the 1920x1080 image of the beach, here's a Flickr post of the finished image. In the meantime, I'm gonna take my PowerBook into work and figure why my laptop recognizes the widescreen size when the G5 desktops don't.

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