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This tutorial may not be reproduced for commercial purposes. However, educational and other non-commercial uses are permitted, if proper attribution is given. Please see the Creative Commons License for details.
The complete tutorial is available in an easy-to-print format.
As we contend in our Frame Grab Tutorial, an analysis of a television program cries out for illustration via still images and motion video. Still frames, however, are inherently limited. They're fine for discussions of lighting and composition, but they fail miserably when it comes to camera movement, blocking, sound design and the like.
Fortunately, students, teachers and television scholars can now use relatively modest computer resources to capture sample clips to use for analysis and illustration--as we have done with Nothing Sacred (left). (To view it, use the user ID "guest" and the password "tvcrit"--without the quotation marks.) Moreover, in 2006 the U.S. Copyright Office granted permission for film/TV professors to break copy protection on DVDs in order to make compilations to use in class. (Read more here.)
Video capture is more complicated than frame grabbing, but the following tutorial will take you through the process step-by-step. Originally, this tutorial worked toward a final output of the video as a QuickTime file, but, especially in light of the Copyright Office's ruling, we're working on instructions for creating new, compilation DVDs, too.
However, this tutorial is currently being developed and is incomplete. Some sections are out-of-date and do not account for current changes in hardware/software! (Watch especially for comments in [brackets], which indicate parts that need changing/updating.) We've left it online as we work on it because there are sections with useful information, but there may be errors or misleading information!
Moreover, if you've already done our Frame Grab Tutorial, you will find some overlap here. Feel free to skip ahead!