How I Made “Portrait of Dion” from Video Grab

Today’s Post by Mark Toal


If you think that grabbing frames from 4K video is going to make taking a good photograph too easy for the masses then stop reading this post right now.

For this photo of Dion I set up two Westcott LED Skylux lights and a Westcott black X-Drop pop-up background at Glazer’s Camera in Seattle, where I was demonstrating the Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 camera. While this image was made with a superzoom camera, the steps involved would be the same for any mirrorless camera that can shoot 4K video.

I asked Dion to move as I took his Portrait so I could demonstrate how to pull a singe frame of 4K video to make a still image. Dion amazed me by acting like he was boxing with the camera.

I shot about 15 seconds of 4K video, plugged the camera into a 21-inch computer monitor via the HDMI cable and moved frame by frame until I saw this image and captured it as a JPEG in the camera. I did the black and white conversion in Nik silver Efex.

Tip: when shooting 4K video for still images you need to use a higher shutter speed than you normally would for video. In the custom video mode I set the shutter speed to 1/320 second so each frame would be sharp.