How to Turn a Video into a Picture

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Extracting frames from digital camera videos to produce printable photographs is fast and easy.

Sometimes you accidentally set your digital camera to video mode when you meant to be taking a picture. Later on, when you review your pictures, you realize that you really like the way that video turned out, and you wish you could capture a frame from it to print as a digital photo. This article explains how to take any video file and extract a frame from it to create a digital photograph.


Step 1

To begin, make sure you have correct codec files to play your video file. (If you can play the video without any problem already, you already have the necessary codecs.)

Video of the Day

Step 2

If you NEED codec files, one simple solution is to download and install a codec pack. My preferred pack is called the K-Lite Codec Pack. It is free and the Standard, Full, and Mega versions of the pack include the media player which will be used in this guide's later steps. (A link to download the K-Lite Codec Pack is located below, in the "Resources" section. Download the file and follow its instructions to install the pack. The default install options should include everything you need.)


Step 3

If you already have your codecs, just download and install the Media Player Classic program which will be used later in this guide.

Step 4

Once you have installed Media Player Classic, run the program. You'll be presented with an interface similar to the one in this image.


Step 5

Access "View" in the top menu bar, and select "Options..."

Step 6

The Options window will appear. In the left-hand pane, click on the word "Output." Then, in the right-hand pane, under the heading "DirectShow Video," make sure that the "System Default" item is selected. (A brand-new installation of Media Player Classic will normally have the "Overlay Mixer" option selected here.)


Step 7

Click "OK" to close the Options window.

Step 8

Now, use Media Player Classic to open the video file from which you want to extract a frame. (Go to "File" in the top menu bar, then select "Open File..." You will be presented with a window like in the image here. Click the "Browse..." button next to the Open dialog, and find the video file you want to open.)


Step 9

Your video file will begin playing. Click the pause button on the bottom of the player, and use the scroll bar to navigate to the scene you want to capture.

Step 10

When you've found the frame you'd like to capture as a digital image, select "File" from the top menu bar, and choose "Save Image..." You'll be able to select the location and format you'd like to use to save your new image. If you use the default ".jpg" format setting, you'll be able to copy this image to a flash drive or CD and print it out at a local photo center.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer

  • Windows Media Player Classic software (free)

  • Appropriate codecs to play your video file