Explanation of the Freeze Frame Flutter

Q. Freeze-Frame Flutter

Ever freeze a fast-action frame of video for use as a still frame in a movie? I have discovered that my "frozen frames" often aren’t so frozen. That fast-action "still shot" is fine if you print it out as a portrait, but it flutters on the screen when you play it back as video. Seems like I remember reading in your magazine about two images making up each frame of video. Is that why my fast-action "frozen frames" flutter? What can a person do to really freeze a frame without blurring?

Duane Whitlow


A. Your memory serves you well, Duane. 60 fields (actually 59.94) make up each second of full-motion video (two fields make up one frame). The flicker that you see is the screen trying to display two fields of video that are slightly different. There are a couple ways to do away with the flicker.

Some systems allow you to freeze fields, others just frames. Those that allow you to capture fields provide sharper stills.

There are a few tricks that can be used to improve a flickering still in Premiere 5.1. Highlight your still clip and select Clip/Video/Field options/Flicker Removal. If that doesn’t work, you can export the frame into Adobe PhotoShop and de-interlace it . Then import it back into Premiere.

You can improve your results by shooting with a high-speed shutter. If you shoot high-speed subjects with a slow shutter setting, you’ll get motion blur in each frame of video. A higher shutter speed will give you crisper, clearer freeze frames.

Q. Capture This

I have a Sony Hi8 camcorder, Adobe Premiere editing software and a Pentium III computer with 128MB RAM and 23GB of hard disk space. I want to edit analog video of my kids (add music, special effects and so forth) on my computer using Premiere. How do I get the video of my kids in and out of my computer?

Wilfrid Alvarez


A. You have a few options to choose from, depending on what you may already have and how technically proficient you are. All you really need is a digitizer card. Plug the card into your computer and connect your camcorder to the card with an S-video or RCA cable and digitize away. Once you’ve edited your project, you can record out to your camcorder or to a VCR. This sounds easy enough, but be careful! Installing a digitizer/capture card and getting it to work right continues to be a challenge for even die-hard computer geeks. Conflicts and system errors are common. We don’t recommend doing this yourself. Hire a pro to install and configure your computer for you to minimize the frustrations associated with installation or investigate other options. Anyone starting from scratch should look into a pre-configured computer or editing appliance.

If your computer already has an IEEE 1394 (FireWire, i.LINK) port, you can get video into your PC through a media converter (Sony and Wired, Inc. offer converters for around $500). You simply connect your camcorder to the converter and connect the output of the converter to your computer’s IEEE 1394 port. Another option if you have a FireWire port is a camcorder upgrade. You can buy a Digital8 camcorder (from Sony or Hitachi). Sony assures us that you can plop your Hi8 tape into a Digital8 camcorder and it will automatically convert the analog signal to a digital signal and send it down the IEEE 1394 cable to your computer.

Q. Inches to Pounds?

Mini DV manufacturers often advertise that their cameras have 400 or 500 lines of resolution. How does this translate into the 720X480-pixel size used by DV in computer editing programs?

Richard Rife


A. Horizontal lines of resolution don’t have anything to do with the number of pixels on a computer screen. The 400 or 500 lines of resolution on a Mini DV camcorder refer to the horizontal lines that the camcorder produces. Similar to an NTSC signal, video is made up of horizontal lines with video information on each line. The more lines the higher the image quality. The 720×480-screen size refers to the dimensions at which a computer screen displays the video. A pixel is like a dot of graphic information. The more pixels the higher the resolution of the image. Pixel size and horizontal lines of resolution both measure the relative quality of the image, but they are not interchangeable terms and they do not convert easily to one another.

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