HOW TO... get still images from 4K video

Freeze water splashes, pets and action by shooting in 4K video mode

How to get still images from 4K video

What you'll learn

  • Why use 4K video mode to capture stills
  • How to set-up your camera
  • How to extract a still from a video clip

What you'll need

  • A 4K-enabled camera
  • Adobe Lightroom

Video technology enables some exciting opportunities for photographers because you’re effectively shooting a series of images at high frame rates. With most cameras, you can shoot 4K video at 30fps (frames per second), but some go even higher, which gives you scope to freeze fast movement,

In the video below, Angela speaks to professional portrait and commercial photographer (and Panasonic Lumix Ambassador) Ross Grieve about how he used 4K video to capture sharp images of a puppy running towards him. He’s also used it for capturing images of his kids throwing water over each other and freezing the splash of water as a lime drops into a glass of water.

Ross used a Panasonic Lumix GH4 in 4K Photo mode to shoot his image of the puppy, but he explains how you can do it with any 4K-enabled camera. Scroll down for a step-by-step guide.

01 Set-up the lighting

You can shoot the video in natural light, but if you need additional light it has to be provided by a constant source. You could use an LED panel or lights such as the Rotolight Neo II or Rotolight Aeos.

Position the lights so that they illuminate where the subject will be.

02 Set-up the camera

Put the camera on a tripod or rest it on a support and frame the shot. Set it to 4K video mode with the fastest framerate available.

03 Set the exposure

Although you’re going to be shooting video, you need to set a shutter speed that will freeze the subject movement. That means you can forget the 180-degree shutter rule that you’d normally observe for video.

Ross shot the puppy at 1/1250sec

Read more about the 180-degree shutter rule for video

04 Focus the lens

Some cameras can keep track of fast-moving subjects in video mode, but if your’s struggles, pre-focus on the point where the subject will be. If you’re going to drop an object into water, you can focus on the glass, but if you shooting something running towards you, put an object like a bag or tripod in the ideal subject positon and focus on that. Then switch your camera/lens to manual focus so the focus won’t change when you start shooting.

05 Start shooting

Set the camera rolling and call the dog or drop your subject into the water. After the action is finished, stop the video recording.

06 Download the video and open Lightroom

Once you’ve downloaded the video from your camera’s memory card to your computer or hard drive, open Adobe Lightroom and import the video files.

07 Find the Frame

In Lightroom, select the video clip that you’re interested in and double click on it to open it in the preview pane. Click on the cog icon at the bottom of the preview to see more of the video and drag the playhead left or right (or click on the frame advance controls) to find the best image.

Once you’ve found the image you want, click on the rectangle next to the cog icon and select ‘Capture Frame’. This saves the frame as Jpeg next to your video.

Visit Ross Grieve’s website
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1 year ago

Hi is this Lightroom Classic or does it work on Mobile lightroom too?

6 months ago

Dang. Lightroom won’t open my .mov file.