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VIDEO CAPTURE TECHNIQUES

The information below is designed to help the average home user be able to grab stills, audio, and video from the home video products that they legally own. It is not intended to aid in the piracy of home video releases. The "pirates" already know how to do things way more advanced than what is listed here, and certainly don't need my help in going about their business. I will not provide any support for the information on this page. All e-mails asking for help will be ignored. Since this is a Ghostbusters website, I have compiled some lists detailing where the content on the various digital releases of the various Ghostbusters productions can be found: GB1, GB2, Other, GB2016. Here's a list of the software referenced in the sections below.

[note: programs without links are no longer being produced, so you'll have to search for old copies]
Freeware Software: VirtualDub, K-Lite Mega Codec Pack, DVD43, XnView, UDF2.5 File System Driver, Audacity.
Shareware Software: AnyDVD HD, Nero Showtime, PowerDVD, Total Media Theatre Platinum, Cinematize Pro, Total Recorder Pro, DVDFab.

In order to capture from an analog source, such as a VCR, you will need to have a video capture card/device installed in your computer. The information below is written for the one I have: Voyetra Turtle Beach Video Advantage PCI Video Capture Card & Front Panel (TB120-1500-02/TBS-1500-01). The item is no longer being manufactured, but you may occassionally be able to find used and aftermarket copies on Amazon. Of course, you can use any capture device you like.

Before I proceed, I will assume that you have the necessary audio/video cables of sufficient length to reach from your source to your computer. At the very least you will need a Composite cable (yellow video plug with red and white audio plugs). If you want slightly higher video quality, you might want to also get a S-Video cable (you'll still need the Composite cable for the audio). For more information on the different cables, check out Lyberty.com's excellent article about the subject.

Although the information listed on this page is written up in reference to capture from videotapes, it can also be used to capture from a PlayStation 2 or any other video source with Composite outputs.

IMAGE & VIDEO
* Hardware: Video Advantage PCI.
* Software: VirtualDub.
The Video Advantage PCI comes with a program called "AD FullCap", which is what I'll be using to capture the video to my hard drive. Even though the program has a Snapshot button (the button with the camera icon to the immediate right of the big "REC" record button), I will not be using it for capture still frames. You do not want to capture still frames "on the fly", and for VHS tape, you'll want to be able to deinterlace the video later. So with that in mind, I'll capture a small piece of video to my hard drive, in AVI format, that contains the frame(s) I want, then I'll open that file up in VirtualDub to pull out the frames.

Since a VCR can only store its video in a 4:3 aspect ratio, for STILL IMAGES & WEB VIDEOS it is best to capture at 640x480 so everything will stay in 4:3. If you intend to burn your captured video onto DVD, then capture at 720x480, which is the DVD's native dimensions. Once you have the video on your hard drive, you'll want to open it up in VirtualDub for further processing. Videos opened in VirtualDub will display two preview windows - input and output (kinda like "before and after"). You can right-click on either to reduce the size of each window, or even disable one of them using F9 (input) or F10 (output). Now you can start processing your videos. In the case of still image extraction, that means deinterlacing the video, cropping any unwanted parts, and then selecting and extracting the frames.

* Deinterlace: CTRL+F (or Video - Filters), Add, Deinterlace, use "Blend fields together (best)".
* Cropping: CTRL+F (or Video - Filters), Cropping, move the edges of the preview images to where you want them to be. The cropping fearture is only available after you add a filter, such as Deinterlace or Null Transform (if you only want to crop with no filters applied).
* Selecting Frames: At the bottom of the main interface, the two half arrows on the right are what you use to select the start and end position of the area you wish to extract. You can extract as few as one frame, or as many as all of them.
* Extracting Frames: File - Export - Image Sequence. Save in either BMP or PNG, depending on how much hard drive space you have. Both are lossless formats, but BMP is uncompressed, so it'll take up more hard drive space. On the other hand, PNG will take longer to extract since the program has to spend extra time compressing the images. Also make sure that you have selected a minimum number of digits equal to the number of digits in the number of frames in the video. If a video contains 186275 frames, you'll want to select 6 digits.

NOTE: In VirtualDub you can either select a portion of frames to extract, or select portions that you DON'T want, delete them, and then extract everything else that remains. If you choose to only extract the frames you select, after you do the extraction, be sure to then move the images somewhere else, or do each extraction to a different directory, because new extracted images WILL overwrite the old ones without warning.

After all of the frames are extracted as individual images on your hard drive, go through them and find the ones you want to keep. Delete the rest, and you're done.

Although it should be quite obvious, I'm sure that I'll probably need to state it anyway... You will need a DVD-ROM drive (installed in your computer or external) in order to read DVDs. You can't read a DVD in a CD-ROM drive.

Most DVD player software will allow you to do frame/screen grabs. I'm not going to tell you which player gives the best grabs because I can't possibly test out every single player out there. However, as I have three players on my system, I can give you some quick down and dirty notes about these three specific players, which may be of use to you. The quick notes is followed by some notes on how to grab video, and past that is some tips and tricks (which will explain some of the shorthand used in my notes), including a full tutorial on how to properly reqize and edit your captures.

IMAGE - NERO SHOWTIME (RECOMMENDED)

  • Version tested: 3.2.3.1 (included in the Nero 7 bundle, came with my DVD burner drive).
  • Hotkeys: C = Capture Frame, T = Step Forward, [none] = Step Backward.
  • Captures from DVD only.
  • Pulls straight from the video source, interlacing included, at 720x480 in lossless BMP. (In the options, be sure to set the captured aspect ratio to "original video source size" so you get exactly what's on the disc, and have it save the images directly to files on your hard drive.)
  • Because it pulls straight from the video source, menu caps don't include navigation highlights, and subtitles can't be captured. For menus, this is generally a good thing as you don't have the highlighter ruining the image.
  • Captures a frame or two ahead of what's shown on screen.
  • FINAL ANALYSIS: Excellent for still menus and galleries, good for any progressive videos (like movies), horrible for any interlaced videos (like television shows and anything recorded on video). If you do the "repeating frame advance then capture" technique, it will skip over some frames and even jump back to get some.

IMAGE - POWERDVD
  • Version tested: 8.0.2606a.50 (came with my Blu-ray drive).
  • Hotkeys: C = Capture Frame, T = Step Forward, E = Step Backward.
  • Captures from DVD only.
  • In the Configuration window, click on the "Advanced" button on the Player tab. The Capture tab there holds all of the image capture settings.
  • Modifies images, but if kept at Original video settings, it's only slightly modified.
  • Deinterlaces video, saves as lossless BMP. You can also save as lossless PNG, but stay away from JPG or GIF.
  • If using the Aspect Ratio setting of "original video source size", 16:9 DVDs are saved as 853x480 and 4:3 DVDs are saved as 640x480. As the maximum resolution for a 4:3 DVD image is 720x540, the best option is to use a custom size of 720x480 (same as DVD source) with "maintain aspect ratio" unchecked, and then resample into the correct 16:9 or 4:3 aspect ratio later.
  • Image file names will NOT start after the last numbered file (like Nero does), but will start at 000 or the first available number, though it won't overwrite any files already present. So if I cap and delete some, it'll fill in the ones I deleted instead of starting after the last remaining image. This is not good, as it will put the images out of order if you opt to sort the images while you're in the capturing phase.
  • The image filename numbering uses three digits from 000 - 999, but will then use no leading zeroes for aything numbered 1000 and higher. So, when sorted by filename, captures 1000 and up will be placed within capture 100 and the such.
  • FINAL ANALYSIS: Great for capturing from interlaced video. In a comparison between Nero and PowerDVD using some frames from Ghostbusters, the PowerDVD images were very slightly darker, but it was only noticable when swapping back and forth with the images layed over each other. Using the "repeating frame advance then capture" technique, it appeared to grab every frame. Confusingly, on some frames from Ghostbusters, there appeared to be some slight interlacing that wasn't present in Nero's caps. When comparing PowerDVD to Media Player Classic with the interlaced WWE Trish Stratus: 100% Stratusfaction Guaranteed DVD, PowerDVD either skips over frames or just doesn't bother deinterlacing all of the frames. However, PowerDVD gives slightly better quality. The shots are virtually identical, except for some artifacting in the WWE logo in the corner of the Media Player Classic shots that isn't there in the PowerDVD shots. And the red line underneath is a tad redder in PowerDVD.

IMAGE - TOTAL MEDIA THEATRE PLATINUM
  • Version tested: 3.0.1.120.
  • Hotkeys: P = Capture Frame, [none] = Step Forward, [none] = Step Backward.
  • Captures from unprotected DVD & Blu-Ray only, for protected discs DVD43 (for DVD) or AnyDVDHD (for DVD or Blu-Ray) needs to be running in the background. This is the only player I've seen that won't grab frames from protected DVDs!
  • Modifies images, but if kept at Original video settings, it's not really noticable. However, Blu-Ray caps are noticable lighter, especially when compared to the other methods described in the Blu-Ray section.
  • Deinterlaces video, saves as high-quality JPG.
  • 16:9 DVDs are saved as 853x480 and 4:3 DVDs are saved as 720x540. Blu-Ray is saved at the native resolution (usually 1920x1080), but SD content on Blu-Ray is incorrectly saved at the wrong size (it should be 720x480, but it's MUCH larger).
  • No frame advance!
  • Pausing Blu-Rays usually puts up a timeline graphic on the screen, which will be included in the captured image. So Blu-Ray caps have to be done "on the fly" while the video is playing - and that's NOT good.
  • Captures are not sequentially numbered!
  • FINAL ANALYSIS: Assuming that AnyDVDHD is in the background, it's good for Blu-Ray menus and overlays (picture-in-picture and subtitles) - as there's nothing else that can get that job done, but it's pretty useless for anything else - especially DVDs. DVD captures are blurry, noticable by themselves, but moreso when compared to Nero and PowerDVD's output.

IMAGE - MEDIA PLAYER CLASSIC (RECOMMENDED)
Media Player Classic HomeCinema comes bundled with the K-Lite Mega Codec Pack (it's also available separately, but the codec pack also includes other stuff used by these guides). This program is capable of playing DVDs by selecting Open DVD from the File menu (or press CTRL+D) and navigating to your DVD drive. Right click on the display and go into the Navigate menu for the usual DVD player options. Instead of saving captures directly to a file in the background, it'll pop up a dialog box with a suggested file name every time. The suggested name is actually the date and time ("snapshot20100311020314.bmp" is 2010/03/11 at 02:03:14 [AM]). As long as you do no more than one capture per second, every time the box pops up, there'll be a different and successive file name suggested to you. As such, you can just press Enter to quickly dismiss it and save your image.
  • Version tested: 1.2.1008.0 (Homecinema).
  • Hotkeys: ALT+I = Capture Frame, Right Arrow = Step Forward, [none] = Step Backward.
  • Before you do the captures, be sure to go into the player options (press "O"), and on the Player: Output screen, set DirectShow Video to "Haali Renderer", and set both RealMedia Video and QuickTime Video to "DirectX 7". These settings will get you the best captures possible.
  • Deinterlaces video (blends fields together), saves at 720x480 in lossless BMP.
  • Captures the EXACT frame shown on screen.
  • Frame advance goes through every frame and doesn't skip any.
  • Menus are captured WITH the navigational highlight. Subtitles are captured as well.
  • FINAL ANALYSIS: Excellent for all around capturing, but Nero is still recommended for still menus and galleries as I noticed a very extremely slight quality loss in comparison to Nero's caps (the red text on Peter's Crunch bar was redder in Nero than in MPC) - but you wouldn't notice a difference unless you did a very close examination between the two with them layed over each other. It did an excellent job with interlaced video from the WWE Trish Stratus: 100% Stratusfaction Guaranteed DVD (it appears to have used the "blend fields together" deinterlacing technique).

IMAGE - CINEMATIZE PRO & VIRTUALDUB
One final option would be to extract the video off of the DVD using Cinematize (see the Video item below), and then open those MPEG2 files up in VirtualDub using the techniques described in the VHS section. Besides deinterlacing and cropping where necessary, you can even using VirtualDub's built-in Resize filter to resample the 720x480 video into either 720x540 (4:3) or 852x480 (16:9), depending on the source video, BEFORE you extract the frames. Going through these extra steps will ensure that you get every frame in the exact quality as on the DVD. Of course, if you just need a quick capture, this is completely overkill.


VIDEO - CINEMATIZE PRO
There are lots of programs that will rip an entire DVD to your hard drive, but what if you only want one video from a disc? Or even just one part of one video? The only program I've found that will let you individually extract anything off of a DVD is Cinematize Pro. First and foremost, it will not extract copy-protected DVDs. To get around that you will need to have either DVD43 or AnyDVDHD running in the background. So once you have that running, start up Cinematize. You should be on a big empty screen that says "DVD File Groups" at the top. Click on the Add button in the lower left corner, navigate to your DVD drive, and go to the VIDEO_TS folder on your DVD. Select all of the files in it (press CTRL+A) then click on the Open button (or press Enter). This will add all of the video files on the disc to the list in Cinematize. Each one of those items can contain videos, menus, or both. You will have to do some searching around to find what you want, though if you're looking for the movie, it will almost always be in the Video Title Set with the largest file size (usually the only one listed in GB [gigabytes] instead of MB [megabytes]).

To give you an idea as to what you could find in each one, let's look at an example from the Ghostbusters 1999 DVD that contains a little bit of everything. Assuming you have this same disc and have the file list imported in Cinematize, click on Video Title Set 10 (381.8 MB). The program will take a few seconds to read the DVD data and then show you a screen with some pull down lists on the upper left, a large preview window on the upper right (with controls below it), and a Segment Extraction List at the bottom. The Mode box lets you choose between Title and Menu. They both pretty much work the same, but since Title is the default, we'll use that as an example. There are three titles in this video title set, and each one has two angles (usually a video will just have one angle). Select the title and angle that you want and press the big Play button under the preview window to preview it. There is NO SOUND IN THE PREVIEW, so please keep that in mind if you're looking for a video with a specific piece of audio in it (the audio will be extracted with the video, you just can't preview it). In the Start Point area, select the chapter that contains the area you want to start extracting from. For best results, especially when extracting a segment from a movie, click on the time pulldown box and select Title Relative. That will keep the timecode relative to the entire title (the whole movie) and not just that one chapter. You can use the slider under the preview window to locate where you want your extraction to begin. Once you have that done, click on the radio box next to End Point. By default, the end of the current chapter will be selected for you. If you want a clip that spans across multiple chapters, select the ending chapter from the dropdown, and then after it loads, move the slider to where you want the ending to be. Once you have it set, click on the Add button in the lower left corner to add that segment to the list at the bottom. Find more segments if you want them - you can extract more than one segment at a time, but you can only extract from one Video Title Set at a time. Keep the Add Chapters/Menus box set to "Together" for best results.

When you have all of your segments in the Segment Extraction List and are ready to extract them, click on the Video tab (the tabs are near the top left of the window). Although you can convert the video and/or audio to a few other formats, it's best to keep everything in the MPEG2 format, as that's how it's encoded on the DVD. So on both the Video and Audio tabs, set Decoding to "MPEG-2 Program Stream" and everything else will grey out. (You can select to have no video and/or no audio, which is useful if you just want to extract the audio from a DVD and not the video - or vice versa.) On the Subtitle tab, select "No Subtitle Stream" (unless you want one, where available). Finally, on the Output tab set Synchronization to "Offset and Trim" and Output Format to "MPEG-2 Program Stream File". Click the Extract Data button in the lower right corner to begin. You'll be asked for a file name and a location where your files will be saved. All files will be successively numbered using the name you type in. When you're done, click the Return To Files button in the lower right corner to go back to the DVD File Groups screen.


### DVD IMAGE CAPTURING TIPS & TRICKS ###
Whenever you capture images from a DVD, you should always pause the video so you get a good, clean image and then press the capture button. Doing captures while the video is playing is the worst way to do them. In most cases, your images will be in the DVD base size of 720x480. This is the size of the image as it resides on the DVD. I know that it looks distorted. Your DVD player takes this image and stretches it to the correctly displayed aspect ratio. Some players, like PowerDVD and Total Media Theatre, will take the image and put it into the correct aspect ratio before saving it to a file. This saves you the extra work of doing it yourself. Although you can resize your images to any size you want, for the best quality, I suggest going with the maximum resoluton possible:

NAME         ASPECT RATIO     RESIZE
----------   --------------   -------
Fullscreen   4:3 (1.333:1)    720x540
Widescreen   16:9 (1.777:1)   852x480
* BEFORE RESIZING: Because you will have to process the Fullscreen and the Widescreen images separately, it would be a good idea if you created folders (somewhere on your hard drive where you can access them easily) named "Fullscreen" and "Widescreen". Then use XnView to go through the images and move them to those folders based upon whether the image came from a fullscreen video/menu or a widescreen video/menu. Since all of the images will be the same size (720x480), you'll have to remember whether the video/menu was fullscreen or widescreen when you watched it in the player.

* BLACK BARS INFORMATION: A video with black bars at the top and bottom is not necessarily widescreen as that video could be inside a 4:3 window, which is a technique called Letterboxing. See the next section for the easiest and most accurate way to tell fullscreen from widescreen. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you do NOT crop out the black bars from your screen captures until AFTER you resize them. The reason I say to do this, is so the resize dimensions listed in the table above, and the resizing techniques listed below, will work on ALL widescreen DVD screen captures.

* HOW TO TELL IF A VIDEO/MENU IS FULLSCREEN OR WIDESCREEN IN WINDVD: If the player's regular sized window is square-ish, then it's fullscreen. If the window is wide, then it's widescreen. Please note that some DVDs have widescreen videos and fullscreen menus, some have fullscreen video and a widescreen menus, while others have widescreen videos AND widescreen menus.

Now that you have your fullscreen and widescreen images separated, you can go about batch resizing them to their proper aspect ratios. You'll use the aforementioned XnView, which is not only capable of batch resizing, but lots of other modifications as well. Here is the quickest way to use XnView to do the job.

1. Use XnView's Batch Conversion component by opening up the program and either pressing CTRL+U or using the menu to go to Tools - Batch Conversion. Before you select your input and output settings, let's set up the resize options. There are two ways that you can do this.

A. AUTOMATIC - I made two XnView batch conversion scripts that you can load into the program and use with very little additional effort. The easiest way to use them is to first copy them to the XnView folder. If you're really lazy, and assuming you installed the program to the default folder (C:\Program Files\XnView\), you can just run the copy_xnview_scripts.bat batch file I wrote up. Double-click on it and it will copy those four files to the XnView folder.

Now you have to load the file you want into the program. At the bottom of the Batch Conversion main window (the General tab) is a set of buttons named Load, Save, and Export. Click on Load and you should see the four files in the window (by default the window starts in the program's folder). Depending on whether you want to process Fullscreen or Widescreen captures, and what size you want to make them, load the file that suits your desires. The file name appears in the drop-down box to the left of the Load button. Check the box to the left of the drop-down box to enable the script. HINT: Load each of the files one by one and they will all be added to the drop-down box. Then you can just select between them by using the drop-down box. (I don't know if the program has a limit to how many recently-opened files can be added to the drop-down box before the old ones are removed.)

B. MANUAL - Although it's not entirely more difficult, changing the settings manually requires a little more work. Start by switching over to the Transformation tab. The Image folder tree is already expanded for you (if not, double-click on it to expand it). Double-click on the Resize item, which will add it to the command list on the right. Now single-click on the newly-added Resize item in the right pane. The settings will now be displayed in the area below.

Select the first Width and Height column (the second one with the % symbol is for Percentage not Pixels), and type in your desired dimensions into the fields. Use the table above to choose the fullscreen or widescreen resize dimensions (listed as width-x-height) that you desire. For example, for widescreen images you could type in 830 for Width and 480 for Height.

Now UNCHECK all of the boxes in the area below. It's MOST IMPORTANT that you uncheck "Keep Ratio", though you should definitely uncheck the other boxes as well. Leave the Resample setting set to Lanczos, which is the default.

2. Go to the top part of the General tab (aka the Batch Conversion main window). Click on Add or Add Folder and navigate to and select the folder containing your Fullscreen or Widescreen images (depending on which you are going to process first).

3. The Output Directory field is the place where you want to put your new images. Use the three dot (...) button to the right to find a folder on your hard drive to put the images in (you can even create a new folder in the window that pops up).

4. Since you may want to do further editing on you images later, especially if you want to remove those black bars, it would be best to select "BMP - Windows Bitmap" in the Format drop-down box. This is the same format that the originals are in, and as a lossless format, you won't lose any image quality using it and resaving to it as often as you want. NOTE: Since BMP is uncompressed, the size of the files are a tad large - usually 1MB per image for DVD captures. If you have a lot of hard drive space, then this should not be an issue for you. If your hard drive space is limited, you can either go ahead with the BMP operation (assuming you have enough room) and then once you've confirmed that the output is resized correctly, delete the original images. Or you can use "PNG - Portable Network Graphics" instead of BMP. It's also lossless, but unlike BMP, the files are compressed, and thus significantly smaller in file size.

4. There isn't much left to do with the remaining settings on the screen. Overwrite has four options: Replace, Ask, Skip, and Rename. If you're saving your images to a completely empty folder, then it doesn't matter which option you choose. Since you have to select one of them, I'd go with Rename just to be on the safe side.

I don't suggest that you check the "Delete Original" box, as you don't want to lose your originals until you're absolutely sure that the new files are sized correctly and are to your satisfaction.

Since you already chose a folder to put the new images in, you shouldn't check the "Use original path (as output)" unless you want the new images to be in the same folder as the originals.

The rest of the checkboxes are irrelevant to the task at hand.

5. Now that everything has been set, press the GO button in the lower left corner of the screen to start the job!

--- AFTER THE RESIZE ---

* CROPPING OUT BLACK BARS: Now if you want to crop out the black bars from the widescreen images, or even do some cropping from the fullscreen images, you can do it. XnView has a crop feature that you can either use on each image one at a time or on a whole bunch at once using the Batch Conversion component. Since the black bars are not the same size on all widescreen videos, I'm not going to give you any set-in-stone settings that you can use. Just copy some images to a test folder and play around on those until you find the settings that works for you. XnView's crop feature has fields labelled "X", "Y", "Width", and "Height". I'm guessing this means where on the X axis and Y axis to start cropping, and how many pixels over to the right from there should it crop to. This makes this a lot more complicated than it needs to be. Cropping is a much simplier task in an old Shareware program I use called Jasc Image Robot (alt url), which is no longer being produced. If you, by chance, also have this program (or Paint Shop Pro), here are some crop settings for the various Ghostbusters discs. This tells you how many pixels to crop off from each side. You can also download the Image Robot scripts for these crops.

GB1 1999 DVD
* Movie: Top=65, Bottom=66, Left=5, Right=9.

GB2 1999 DVD
* Movie: Top=60, Bottom=63, Left=7, Right=8.

GB2 2005 DVD
* Movie: Top=55, Bottom=59, Left=9, Right=7.

GB1 2009 BLU-RAY
* Movie: Top=140, Bottom=140, Left=0, Right=0.
* Slimer Mode (capped in Total Media Theater): Top=2, Bottom=1, Left=1, Right=0.
* Car Featurette (interlaced): Top=5, Bottom=5, Left=0, Right=0.
* Game Featurette (interlaced): Top=1, Bottom=2, Left=0, Right=6.
* Car Gallery - Landscape Stills: Top=123, Bottom=121, Left=400, Right=400.
* Car Gallery - Portrait Stills (only 2 images): Top=125, Bottom=124, Left=653, Right=654.
* Car Gallery - Video: Top=120, Bottom=216, Left=275, Right=288.


## ADDITIONAL CROPS NOT INCLUDED IN THE IMAGE ROBOTS SCRIPTS ZIP FILE ##

THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS: COMPLETE COLLECTION (TIMELIFE)
* Image Galleries: Top=0, Bottom=112, Left=0, Right=0.

* SMALLER OR LARGER IMAGES: If the 852x480 images are too large for your intended use, you can use XnView to individually or batch resize them again. This time you MUST use the manual settings and you MUST make sure that "Keep Ratio" is CHECKED (otherwise your image will be distorted).

* FINAL SAVE: If you're planning on putting the images online or sending them via e-mail, then you'll want to use a file format that is smaller than BMP or PNG. The best choice is JPG because it offers a smaller file size while retaining a fairly high level of quality for photographic images (for simple solid color or line art, GIF or PNG is best). However, JPG is a lossy format, which means that some quality will be lost when you convert from BMP to JPG (and even more is lost if you resave your images to JPG later on). How much of a loss depends upon the JPG settings you use.

Using XnView's Batch Conversion component to convert from BMP to JPG is very simple. First go to the Transformations tab and make sure that you clear out anything listed on the right side. Now add your files (you can do the resized Fullscreen and Widescreen images together now) using the Add or Add Folder buttons. Select the Output Directory where you want the new files to be placed. In the Format box select "JPG - JPEG / JFIF". Click on the Options button right next to it to select your JPG settings. In XnView the three settings that actually have an effect on file size and image quality are Progressive, Quality, and SubSampling Factor.

- Progressive: Check the box to turn this on, which will make your JPGs a tad smaller than with it off, but has no effect at all on image quality.

- Quality: You can set the JPG quality from 1 (worst quality, smallest file size) to 100 (best quality, largest file size).

- SubSampling Factor: There are three options:

     2x2,1x1,1x1 - Low Quality (smallest file size)
     2x1,1x1,1x1 - Medium Quality
     1x1,1x1,1x1 - High Quality (largest file size)

The low and medium quality subsampling factors would actually be good for most images. However, if you have photographic images with lots of very bright colors, especially brightly colored text (DVD subtitles over photographic images, for example), then the high quality subsampling factor is your only choice. With the other two, bright colors, such as reds and blues, bleed badly and dull considerably.

I've noticed that when using the high quality subsampling factor, coupled with a quality setting from 95 to 100, there are no noticeable compression artifacts in the image. However, at a quality setting of 90, artifacts were very noticeable.

So, choose the Quality and SubSampling Factor settings that work best for you in terms of the compromise between quality and file size. There is no one-size-fits-all setting that you can use.

Once you've decided upon the settings you plan to use, click OK to save them.

Again, there isn't much left to do with the remaining settings on the screen. Leave the Overwrite box on Rename, as you did before. Don't check the "Delete Original" box, as you don't want to lose your originals until you're absolutely sure that the new files are to your satisfaction. Since you already chose a folder to put the new images in, you shouldn't check the "Use original path (as output)" unless you want the new images to be in the same folder as the originals. The rest of the checkboxes are irrelevant to the task at hand.

Now that everything has been set, press the GO button in the lower left corner of the screen to start the job!

Although it should be quite obvious, I'm sure that I'll probably need to state it anyway... You will need a BD-ROM drive (installed in your computer or external) in order to read Blu-Ray discs. You can't read a Blu-Ray disc in a DVD-ROM or CD-ROM drive. Also, in order to read the files on a Blu-Ray disc, you will need to install the UDF2.5 File System Driver. Without it, Windows will not be able to even see that you have a disc in your drive.

Although most DVD player software will allow you to do frame/screen grabs, this isn't the case with Blu-Ray player software. From what I understand, those players that used to allow screen grabs no longer do, as the authors of the programs removed the feature in deference to the wishes of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), which is the industry consortium that develops and licenses Blu-ray Disc technology. The way I hear it, the BDA, which is comprised of the leading motion picture studios and technology manufucturers, was fearful that pirates would screen capture every frame of a movie in high definition and then reassemble those images back into a video file, and thus pirate the HD copy of the film. Never mind the fact that the pirates have much easier, quicker, and higher quality methods of ripping a Blu-Ray disc. So the BDA's move doesn't do squat to combat piracy, it just simply hurts the consumer's rights and abilities to grab frames from their favorites films for their own personal use (like as computer wallpaper). It's rather ironic, then, that the only methods to grab frames from Blu-Rays involves using a program to defeat the copy-protection.

IMAGE - EASIEST AND NEAR-BEST METHOD
* Software: AnyDVD HD, K-Lite Mega Codec Pack (for codecs and Media Player Classic).
Install the K-Lite Mega Codec Pack using the default settings, which will install the necessary codec you need to read the files on the disc. (I don't know which codec specifically you need as I always install with the defaults and that gets the job done.) It will also install Media Player Classic Homecinema, which you'll need as well.
Launch AnyDVD HD and keep it running in the background to remove the copy-protection from the disc (otherwise Media Player Classic will say that it "can't render file"). Now launch Media Player Classic and before you proceed any further, go into the player options (press "O"), and on the Player: Output screen, set DirectShow Video to "Haali Renderer", and set both RealMedia Video and QuickTime Video to "DirectX 7". These settings will get you the best captures possible. Once you have those settings set and are back on the main screen, press CTRL+Q (or File - Quick Open File) and navigate to the \BDMV\STREAM directory on the disc, where you'll find a whole bunch of .m2ts files. These are all of the video files. You'll have to figure out which file is the video that you want, but generally speaking, the file with the largest file size is the movie. Play the file and use the slider to navigate to where in the video you want to do captures from.

  • Hotkeys: ALT+I = Capture Frame, Right Arrow = Step Forward, [none] = Step Backward.
  • Captures the EXACT frame shown on screen.
  • Frame advance goes through every frame and doesn't skip any.
  • Instead of saving captures directly to a file in the background, it'll pop up a dialog box with a suggested file name every time. The suggested name is actually the date and time ("snapshot20100311020314.bmp" is 2010/03/11 at 02:03:14 [AM]). As long as you do no more than one capture per second, every time the box pops up, there'll be a different and successive file name suggested to you. As such, you can just press Enter to quickly dismiss it and save your image.
  • FINAL ANALYSIS: In a comparison to images grabbed using the VirtualDub method listed below, some colors appeared slightly off, as seen in the example below. In this example, the red in the logo is brighter and the grass is darker in VirtualDub, which (to me) looks more accurate in comparison. The other areas of the image are virtually identical. However, if I didn't compare the images to each other, I wouldn't know that there was anything off about the images that Media Player Classic outputs.


IMAGE & VIDEO - BEST METHOD, REQUIRES MORE EFFORT & TIME
* Software: DVDFab or AnyDVD HD, VirtualDub.
This method requires copying/ripping the video files from the disc onto your hard drive, changing the extension from .m2ts to .mp4, and then opening them up and extracting the frames from them. Once you have the video files opened in VirtualDub, you can also do other modifications to them, convert them to AVI, and use them as video files. I know of two easy methods for getting the video files onto your hard drive.
--- COPYING / RIPPING ---
1. With AnyDVD HD running in the background to remove copy protection, copy them over in Windows Explorer. Using the 28 gigabyte Ghostbusters movie file (00262.m2ts) as a test, it took exactly 34 minutes to copy to the hard drive. Depending on the speed of your computer components, your time may be quicker or slower. This method worked with the movie, but I couldn't get it to work with some of the other video files. For example, with the "E.P.A." deleted scene, VirtualDub says that there is no video stream in the file, but I could play that copied file just fine in Media Player Classic.
2. Use DVDFab to rip video files individually to the hard drive. It estimated 8 hours to copy the 28 gigabyte Ghostbusters movie file (00262.m2ts), so I tested it out on the smaller featurette files instead (Video Game, Ecto-1, Ecto-1 Gallery). To start off, go into the DVDFab settings (the little green checkmark in the upper right corner of the main screen), and on the DVD/Blu-ray: Read page, add a checkmark in the "Do not eject source disc when finished copying" box. Press OK and restart the program to apply the setting. Now you'll be using the Blu-ray To Blu-ray: Main Movie copy feature to extract each video one by one. Save each one to a new directory so they they don't overwrite each other. When done, go to each extracted directory and find the file \MainMovie\GHOSTBUSTERS\BDMV\STREAM\00001.m2ts. Rename it to .mp4 (change the file name to whatever you want) and feel free to move it to a different directory. You can delete the rest of the files, as this is the only one you need.
--- EXTRACTING FRAMES ---
Open up one of your newly-renamed .mp4 files in VirtualDub. Since the two 1920x1080 preview windows side-by-side will probably be too large for your monitor, right-click on each one and select "25%" to shrink each window down. Since you don't need the input preview window (the one on the left), you can disable it by pressing F9. The window will still be there, but it will only show a blue screen inside it. Just having one window active will probably be taxing on your computer, you certainly don't need both active. Now you can start processing your videos. In the case of still image extraction, that means deinterlacing the video, cropping any unwanted parts, and then selecting and extracting the frames. Most high-definition content is encoded in progressive format, meaning that it's not interlaced. So more often than not, you won't need to bother with deinterlacing. However, in the case of the Ghostbusters disc, the Ecto-1 featurette, video game featurette, and video game trailer are all interlaced, so you will need to use VirtualDub's deinterlacing filter on them.
For more information on using VirtualDub's filters and doing the frame extraction, please refer to the VHS section.


IMAGE - VIDEO WITH OVERLAYS (MENUS, PICTURE-IN-PICTURE, SUBTITLES)
* Software: AnyDVD HD, Total Media Theatre Platinum.
Refer to the Total Media Theatre Platinum notes in the DVD section.


VIDEO - EASIEST METHOD, STANDARD DEFINITION ANALOG CAPTURES, BEST FOR VIDEO WITH OVERLAYS (MENUS, PICTURE-IN-PICTURE, SUBTITLES)
* Hardware: Insignia NS-BRDVD3 Blu-Ray Player, Video Advantage PCI (video capture card).
* Software: VirtualDub.
For a better method, refer to the "Image & Video - Best Method, Requires More Effort & Time" notes above. However, that won't work with video with overlays (menus, picture-in-picture, subtitles), so this method is still the only way I know to capture those types of videos.
This method involves connecting a stand-alone Blu-Ray player via analog Composite (yellow video plug with red and white audio plugs) or S-Video (you'll still need the Composite cable for the audio) connection to a video capture card. This is by no means the best method of extracting video off of a Blu-Ray disc. In fact, it's one of the worst, and may not even work with a different player or capture card than the ones I have (which are listed above). The only need I have to extract video off of a Blu-Ray is for use as low-quality video files on my website. As such, this analog copying and capture method gets the job done quite nicely.
The method for capturing the video is the same as listed in the VHS section, only I will be capturing at 720x480 instead of 640x480. Then I'll open up the video file in VirtualDub and use it's internal resize filter to squeeze the picture back into the correct 16:9 aspect ratio of 852x480. Once it's in 16:9, if I need it smaller, I would then resize it even further down for use on the web. I use 424x240 files on my website - a very significant downsampling from the original 1920x1080.

I will not cover CD audio extraction on this page as there are many freeware CD ripping tools available that can get the job done very easily.

FROM VCR/PLAYSTATION 1&2
* Hardware: Composite A/V cable (yellow video plug with red and white audio plugs), RCA Left & Right Audio Female to 3.5mm 1/8" Male Adapter -OR- Video Advantage PCI (video capture card).
* Software: Audacity.
* ADAPTER NOTE: There are a few different RCA Left & Right Audio Female to 3.5mm 1/8" Male adapters available, some are wires while some are adapters. I bought my adapter from Radio Shack, but you can get them cheaper at Amazon here (looks just like the one I bought from Radio Shack), here, here, here, here, and here.
* PLAYSTATION NOTE: Although I'm grouping PlayStation 1&2 in with VCR in these notes, you can actually digitally extract audio from some games if you have the right programs. Check out my PlayStation 2 page for programs that will extract the audio from the Grand Theft Auto PS2 games and a link to my GTA audio extraction guides on GameFaqs.
--- MAKING THE CONNECTION ---
This is a fairly simple procedure in which you'll be connecting the left (white) and right (red) audio outputs from your source (VCR, for example) to your computer.
- OPTION A: If you have the Video Advantage PCI video capture card (like I do), you can simply connect the Composite A/V cable from the VCR's output jacks to the Video Advantage PCI's inputs on the front panel. The front panel connects internally to the capture card, which connects via a small wire out the back to the audio card's Line In input. Essentially, the Video Advantage PCI acts as a patch-through to the Line In jack.
- OPTION B: If you don't have Video Advantage PCI or any video capture card that can either record audio directly or patch-through to the auidio card, you'll need the RCA-to-1/8" Adapter listed in the hardware section above. You simply use this to connect the Composite A/V cable to the audio card's Line In input.
--- SELECTING INPUT SOURCE ---
In order to get the computer to record the correct signal, you need to select which input source you want to record from. On Windows this is done by selecting the desired input source (Line In) from the Recording Control dialog, which is accessed through the standard Windows volume control (accessed by double clicking the speaker icon in the system tray, right next to the clock). Select Properties from the Options menu, and on the Properties screen, select Recording from the "Adjust volume for" menu and press OK. In the Recording Control dialog you can select input source (Line In) and adjust input volume for your recording. Check the Select checkbox for the input source you want to record from.
--- ADJUSTING INPUT VOLUME ---
Before starting to record, it is very important to check and adjust the input volume on your PC. If this is not properly set, you will either get recordings which are very low in volume, and may contain a lot of noise, or you will get distorted recordings (because input volume is too high). The best thing is to monitor the input volume visually and then adjust the PC's line in volume so you get the loudest possible signal without clipping. Clipping occurs when the input signal is louder than what the line input on the PC can handle. This will sound very bad and distorted. Most software supporting recording also presents the user with some method of monitoring the input signal.
--- ADJUSTING AUDACITY SETTINGS & RECORDING ---
First, open the Audacity preferences (press CTRL+P or go to Edit - Preferences) and on the Audio I/O tab, set both the playback and recording devices explicitly to the computer sound device your cable is plugged into. Do NOT select "Microsoft SoundMapper" on Windows machines. If you want to record in stereo, change the recording channels from "1 (mono)" to "2 (stereo)". Recording the audio is as simple as pressing the big red record button on the toolbar.
* You don't have to use Audacity, but it's the best freeware option available so it's what I recommend. Personally, I use the Goldwave audio editor, which is Shareware. You can also use the Shareware program Total Recorder Pro (see the From DVD/Blu-Ray - On The Fly notes below), and follow this tutorial.
* Info in the "Selecting Input Source" and "Adjusting Input Volume" written by Anders Sandvig and published with screen shots on the WinCUE website.


FROM STEREO (RADIO, CASSETTE, RECORD)
* Hardware: 3.5mm 1/8" Male to Male Audio Cable.
* Software: Audacity.
* AUDIO CABLE NOTE: There are a few different 3.5mm 1/8" Male to Male audio cables available at Amazon in 1 foot, 3 foot, 6 foot, 6 foot, 6 foot, 12 foot, 25 foot, 2 foot retractable, 2 foot retractable, and ? foot retractable varieties.


FROM DVD - EXTRACTION
* Software: Cinematize Pro.
Simply follow the directions in the DVD section for "Video - Cinematize Pro". When you have all of your segments in the Segment Extraction List and are ready to extract them, click on the Video tab and set the top dropdown box to "No Video Stream". On the Audio tab, you can choose which audio track you want to extract (if the video has more than one) in the Audio Stream field. To keep the audio in the same format as on the DVD and avoid any problems, set Decoding to "MPEG-2 Program Stream" (everything else below it will grey out). On the Subtitle tab, select "No Subtitle Stream". Finally, on the Output tab set Synchronization to "Offset and Trim" and Output Format to "MPEG-2 Program Stream File". Click the Extract Data button in the lower right corner to begin. You'll be asked for a file name and a location where your files will be saved. All files will be successively numbered using the name you type in. When you're done, click the Return To Files button in the lower right corner to go back to the DVD File Groups screen.
* Audio is usually encoded on DVDs at a very low volume, so you will want to open your extracted files up in Audacity or Goldwave to maximize the volume. While you're in there, you can edit out any parts you don't want, resample from 48000 Hz to 44100 Hz (if you want to put your extracted audio onto a CD), and save it as a WAV or MP3 file (or some other format you desire that the program can support).


FROM DVD/BLU-RAY - ON THE FLY
* Software: Total Recorder Pro.
You need to launch Total Recorder before you launch your DVD/Blu-Ray player software. First let's set up Total Recorder to record from software output. Press the Recording Source and Parameters button, and set audio recording source to Software. As we would like to keep the captured sound "as is", make sure the "convert using 'recording format' specified below" box is unchecked. Press OK to return to the main window. With Total Recorder running in the background, launch your DVD/Blu-Ray player software and play your disc. When you get to something you want to record, press the Record button in Total Recorder. The advantage of using Total Recorder's virtual driver is that Total Recorder will not actually record unless there is sound playing. While Total Recorder is capturing the sound you should see the sound levels changing. When you want to stop recording, press Stop. From the File menu, select Save As, and specify the file name and the folder you want to use to store the file.
* If you'd like to see some Total Recorder screen shots to illustrate these instructions, check out Method 1 of this guide on the Total Recorder website.
* NOTE: You may be able to record all sounds playing on your computer, including DVD and Blu-Ray playback, using your audio card's loop back line (assuming it has one - typically named "Stereo Mix", "What you hear", "Wave out", "Loop back", and possibly others). However, I prefer to use Total Recorder because it can save the audio exactly as it is outputted by the player.