I’m trying new technology for viewing and reviewing anime. My latest idea is to record the anime using a screen capture program called Snagit. This occupies the computer while you are doing the snagging. When using it to capture video, you can’t just open up another window and let it record in the background. Not a problem since I watch an anime once for pure enjoyment and then do my screen grabs on a second go-round. I save the video clip as an MP4 file on my desk.
Snagit can also be used to grab a frame directly but there is a noticeable delay in pressing the button and getting the snag. If I try pausing the stream, that often brings up a big play button in the middle of the picture or does something else to ruin the image quality. If I want to go back or ahead to a specific spot to grab an image and drag the cursor to a different point in the stream, I usually end up twiddling my thumbs while the stream buffers. Images that are quick flashes – or getting the very last frame in a sequence – can take forever that way.
A bug in the program is that the audio can become desynched with the video over time. By the end of a long movie, it may be many seconds off. (I have seen one second per five minutes quoted on their boards.) It was driving me nuts in “Liz and the Blue Bird” because I tried snagging the entire movie. Techsmith, who makes Snagit, has been no help whatsoever.
Sometimes it works for a longer video, sometimes it doesn’t. It may be intentional on the part of the streaming service. It is not an issue for a short clip though.
I then open the MP4 in VLC Media player. This allows me to grab screenshots instantly with one click. I can edit out a segment to save as a short video clip for review purposes. I can advance thru the video at whatever speed I want, put it in a loop between two points and even advance it frame by frame. That’s really great for the screen grab in a cut that only lasts a few frames or for grabbing the most dynamic frame in fast action.
VLC could be used to record directly from the stream but the resulting video – at least on my computer – often has no audio at all. Videolan.org has not been helpful in the slightest about this. The few suggestions I have found on their boards aren’t relevant.
If I happen to find the video I need on YouTube/Vimeo/etc., there are a dozen different downloader programs that will save it directly to my computer as an MP4 or an AVI file. WinX HD Video Converter Deluxe is my software of choice because of all the other things it lets me do to with video files. Then I get to slice and dice with VLC at my leisure. If I want to link to the entire video rather than a sample, I just copy and paste the URL in the WP editor.
Cropping can be done within Snagit, using the native WP editor, or a third party program. If I am trying to enlarge a small portion of the screen or clarify an easily
missed detail, I use Corel Paintshop Pro. I’ve been using this software on screengrabs and my own photos for decades, ever since it was just Paintshop. It is a lot cheaper than Adobe Photoshop. (Every couple years I break down and do an update.)
It gives me good control over contrast, color balance, overall brightness/darkness, and sharpness control. It has good algorithms for enlarging and shrinking images while retaining fine detail and not exaggerating the blurriness or getting the “jaggies”. Paintshop is a good application to have if you ever post photos and want them to look their best.
Corel has a video editing solution I keep getting nag screens to purchase. What I have works for me. If I decide to get deeper into the weeds on video editing, I may go for it.
Please! Share your solutions for grabbing stills off the animes you review.