The world of high-definition video offers new opportunities for nature photographers
By Rob Sheppard
I discovered another way of getting an even better image from video from David Leeson II, a video editor at The Dallas Morning News. His father, David Leeson, is known as an innovator in bringing video to photojournalism, and also is at The Dallas Morning News (look for an article about him in the first issue of HDVideoPro). Here’s Leeson’s approach; it will seem a little odd, but it works. You must have a large, high-resolution monitor (at least 1600 x 1200):
1 Find the spot in the video that you want to capture as before, moving the scene back and forth, a frame at a time, to find the best spot to capture from.
2 Increase the window size of the scene in your software as large as possible, filling up the monitor. (Leeson finds Final Cut Pro with a 99% view gives the best results in his workflow.)
3 Do a screen capture of what you see with your computer (in Windows use the Print Scrn key; in Mac, use Shift Command 3 or go to the Grab program in Utilities).
4 Open your image-processing software (such as Photoshop) and paste the screen capture onto a blank document (when you open a new, blank document, it should be at the size of your screen capture or you can make one big enough to handle it using a resolution larger than your screen resolution). Flatten the file and crop to the image itself.
5 Make a huge, outrageous enlargement of the image to about 30 inches wide at 600 ppi (use Bicubic Smoother in Photoshop or try a plug-in like Alien Skin Blow-Up or onOne Genuine Fractals).
6 Resize the image back down to a normal size at 203 ppi (that’s what they use at The Dallas Morning News and it works for printing on an inkjet printer). This fills in some of the damage to the scene that comes from interlacing.
7 Process to get the best image as you’d normally work a photo.
Some believe that HD video is the wave of the future, that photographers at some point may just carry an HD camcorder for both video and still images. I’m not sure I buy that (there are issues, such as different shutter speed needs), but HD video definitely has interesting possibilities for nature photographers.