I've added this page to answer some of the questions people often
send me about this site. If there's something you'd like to know,
please look through the questions here before writing to me; you may
be able to get your answer more quickly here than through email.
May I use some of your pictures on my own website?
Yes, you are welcome to do so, as long as they are not being used
commercially. I make no ownership claim to these images, because
they're not mine to begin with -- I'm just capturing them from the
DVDs and videotapes. By the same token, I can't grant any kind of
legal right to them, so be aware of that if you do use them.
If you plan to use some of the images, please copy
them to your own site; do not link directly
to them on my site. Doing so is called "bandwidth theft", it increases
my already not-inconsiderable costs, and I don't need it. Again, you're
welcome to use the images -- but copy them to your own site
and link to them there.
What kind of equipment and software do you use to create the frame captures?
Some of my captures are still coming from videotape, for those shows
which haven't yet been released on DVD. I am now using DVDs whenever
they're available, since they are easier to work with and yield much
All you need to do frame captures from videotape is some kind of video
capture device and a good graphics program -- plus a fair amount of
time and patience. Currently, I'm using an InVideo PCI
capture board. They aren't making that model any longer, having
switched to an external device with a USB connection last time I
checked, but you'll get pretty much the same result from any video
capture device, as they're all doing essentially the same thing. The
differences are mostly a matter of how fast they can operate;
I use the InVideo because it's really intended for full-motion video
capture, and hence is very fast on individual frames. (Also, it handles
both PAL and NTSC formats, essential for me since I'm working with both.)
I use CompuPic (www.photodex.com)
for all my image cataloguing, resizing, format changes, and for most
of the image processing work I do on the captures. It's a useful
program which, among other things, has a good batch capability allowing
the user to perform the same operation on a whole set of images.
The key to getting good results from video frame capture isn't so much
in what hardware you use as in the quality of the input material and
the post-processing you do on the captures. I generally use commercially
released videotapes, since my off-the-air tapes are of poorer quality,
and I do quite a bit of post-processing.
For DVDs, I have a PC-resident DVD player and use the PowerDVD software
to operate it and make the captures. PowerDVD is available from
How can I make my own frame captures look better?
Raw frame captures from videotape take a fair amount of work to look
good; they usually need to have contrast and saturation adjusted, and can often
benefit from a little filtering to remove scan lines. You won't be
able to get still-photo quality, because videotape simply isn't a
very high-resolution medium, but with enough practice and tweaking,
you can often get frame captures to look pretty good. Much of it
is a matter of practice; I've been maintaining my frame capture
site for four years now, and I'm still refining my image-processing
techniques. Play around with your graphics software and see what
gives the best results.
Some things to try:
Adjust the contrast. Depending on what software you're using, there
are varying ways to tinker with this. You may use a simple contrast
adjustment, controls which allow you to adjust the black and white
points separately, or assorted fancy histogram control functions.
Adjust the saturation. Video frame captures often have fairly
low saturation, giving them a washed-out look. Alternately, I find that
after adjusting the contrast, the images may be too saturated,
making the colors too strong. (Skin tones may turn orange, for example.)
In either case, the saturation control in your graphics program can
give the image a more realistic look.
Use a filter to reduce scan lines. These are the horizontal
lines you can sometimes see in your captures; they're especially
obvious in areas of sharp contrast. A bit of filtering can often
reduce or eliminate scan lines without appreciably diminishing the
appearance of the capture otherwise. Try a very small amount of blur,
followed by an equally small amount of sharpening, for instance. Or,
if your software includes a function to reduce graininess in photos,
try playing with that a bit. (This may also be helpful if the video
you're capturing from has a grainy look, which sometimes happens.)
Will you add pictures from my favorite show to the site?
I'm not planning to add any more shows to the site right away, as
the ones I'm working on now are enough to keep me busy for
some time to come. It's possible that I may
add another show eventually, but it would have
to be one that I am particularly fond of and one for which
I have high-quality tapes or DVDs. Making the captures
requires watching the episodes in excruciating detail to pick out the
frames, and I'm simply not willing to do that unless I really like the
show to begin with. That narrows the field down quite a bit.
So, if you're especially anxious to get frame captures from your own
favorite show, my suggestion would be to try doing your own. Capture
devices are fairly inexpensive these days, and it's not a particularly
difficult process, though it can be tedious.
Will you be doing captures from my favorite episode?
For shows already on the site, whether I do a specific episode depends
on whether I have, or can get, a high-quality tape or a DVD of it.
This limits the possibilities quite a bit for some shows, where not all
episodes are commercially available. For the other
shows in the library, I do have tapes of the entire series and hope
to cover them all eventually. It'll take a while, however; this is
slow work at the best of times.
Why don't you have more information about the shows and actors on your site?
For shows like the ones I'm covering, which have a substantial fan
following, there are invariably quite a few sites devoted to information
on the shows themselves, the actors, etc. I see no need to duplicate
what is already available on these other sites, especially since the
effort involved in doing so would take time away from my real objective,
which is building up the library of frame captures. This site is not
intended to be a central reference for the shows; it's very specifically
a library of frame capture images.
Can you add new episodes more often?
Don't hold your breath. I'm doing the best I can; my goal is to complete
one new episode of frame captures per week. However, that's not going to
be an invariable rule;
real life has a way of interfering with my hobbies from time to time,
and if I have a very demanding week at work, or have too much going
on at home, or I'm sick, or there are any of a number of other complications,
I won't be able to finish an episode that week. I have a full-time job, a
run, and I also maintain another fannish website, so while I
do plan to keep adding to the frame capture library as quickly as
is practical, it isn't likely to get much faster than the current rate.
Are you selling photographs, T-shirts, etc.?
No. This site is purely a hobby, and is not in any way a commercial
enterprise, nor am I connected with any such business. I'm not selling
anything, and I have nothing to offer besides what you see here on
Can you get my favorite actor's autograph or address for me?
No. I am not in touch with any of the actors on these shows, have
never met them, and do not have their addresses or any means of contact.
Will you do frame captures from other sources for pay?
No, I don't do this commercially at all. I already have a full-time
job, which takes up more than enough of my time, and I'm not interested
in taking on additional part-time work that would cut into my leisure
hours (which are what this website comes out of.) There are probably
commercial firms which would do this kind of work (though I don't
know anything about them), or you could look into doing your own.