Capturing still-images from a DVD
First I want to say that I'm not very good at writing these kind of guides. I'm sure you will have a lot of questions. Feel free to email me those.
In this guide, I will describe two ways to capture stills from a DVD with PowerDVD. For the second method, you'll also need the command line tool Bmpdeint + Hypersnap-DX.
The second method will produce still-images with a higher quality, but in order to be able to use it, you'll need hardware support for Mpeg-2. To see if you have hardware support for Mpeg-2 (the DVD format) or not, click on configuration and go to the video tab. If the box under Hardware Acceleration is grayed out, you have no hardware support for Mpeg-2.
First put the disc in the DVD-rom. The movie should start automatically (either directly in PowerDVD or by choosing PowerDVD from a list). If it's not, start PowerDVD manually and click on play.
The fast way:
Click on "configuration" (the button with what I believe is a hammer on it) and go to the general tab and click on advanced. Go to the capture tab and choose "capture to file" and then choose the directory where you want your captured files to be saved (do this by clicking on "browse"). When everything is done, click on "ok" twice. To capture a still-image, just click on pause and use the "step forward" or "step backward" buttons to find a nice looking frame. Then click on "capture frame" (the button with a camera on it). When you've captured all the frames you were interested in, you'll have to convert the files from bmp to jpg. This can be done in pretty much any image editing software. Finally, attach the jpg files to an email and send it to me.
The slow way:
This is the method I'm using. Click on "configuration" and check the box under Hardware Acceleration. If you look at the "capture frame" button, you'll see that it's grayed out now. PowerDVD can only play a DVD with hardware acceleration turned on, it can't capture anything from it. This is where Hypersnap-DX comes into play. First though I want to explain why this method produces still-images with a higher quality than the first method. There are mainly two reasons..
1: With hardware acceleration turned on, your graphics card will improve the image quality by helping PowerDVD to decode the DVD movie. Without this hardware support, you will have a slightly less sharp image, because PowerDVD has no help in decoding the movie "on the fly", a process which is pretty demanding.
2: When you capture a frame with hardware acceleration turned on, the still-image will look exactly like it does on the disc. There's no post-processing involved whatsoever. The post-processing which does the most "harm" is deinterlacing. I won't go into the detail to describe deinterlacing, but when done "on the fly", it will make the image look blurry. It's always better to deinterlace afterwards.
Ok, so now open Hypersnap-DX. Click on "Capture" and make sure "Special Capture" is enabled. This will allow you to capture still-images from the DirectX overlay surface (which is what we have in PowerDVD when you have hardware acceleration turned on). As said before, PowerDVD itself can't capture still-images from the overlay surface. Now click on Capture Settings (still under "Capture"). Go to the "Quick Save" tab. There make sure "Automatically save each capture to a file" is checked. Also choose where you want them to be saved on your HDD (click on "change"). There you must also choose Windows Bitmap as file format.
Without shutting down Hypersnap-DX, now go back to PowerDVD and find a nice looking frame. To capture it, just press "Scroll Lock" on your keyboard. You'll hear a clicking sound each time you capture a frame. You can find your captured files in the directory you chose in Hypersnap-DX.
Now we need to deinterlace the images. In Windows, click on Start and then on Run. Type cmd and press enter. With DOS commands, we must now go to the directory where the images are saved. You should also make sure you have the file bmpdeint.exe in that same directory.
Let's say you have bmpdeint.exe + the saved images in the folder c:\caps\bound. In order to get there type "cd caps\bound" (without the quotation marks) and then hit Enter. Once you're there, just type "bmpdeint -b -d" (without the quotation marks) and hit Enter. This will process all images in the directory and place the deinterlaced images in a new subdirectory named deint.
Finally, you must convert the deinterlaced files from bmp to jpeg. As you will notice, the image aspect ratio is wrong, but I can fix this here. You can send them as they are, but if you really want to know why the aspect ratio is wrong and how to resize them correctly and with preserved quality, send me an email.
PowerDVD can be found at www.gocyberlink.com. There you can download a 30 day free trial of the program.
Hypersnap-DX can be downloaded from www.hyperionics.com. The free trial is not fully functional though. I believe it places a watermark on all captured images. You'll need to buy a license in order to remove the watermark. Maybe someone can find a freeware screen-capture program which is capable of capturing the overlay surface? Please let me know.
I've uploaded bmpdeint.exe to a server. You can download it from hem.passagen.se