Can you take a screenshot of Wong Kar Wai's Days of Being Wild for my book cover?
September 4, 2009 11:12 AM   Subscribe

Wong Kar-Wai Screenshot Poetry Emergency! Can you make a high-resolution screenshot today or tmw from Wong Kar-Wai's Days of Being Wild so I can use it for the cover of my debut poetry book? (Or got any tricks for increasing the print resolution of a low-resolution image, which I know is impossible?)

My poetry collection Juvenilia is coming out from Yale University Press next year. I've gotten permission from KINO, the US distributor of Wong Kar Wai's 1990 film Days of Being Wild for the cover of my book. I specifically want this image at the end, where Leslie Cheung is walking away from the house of his estranged mother and wandering off on this forest road into the future; it seemed like a very fitting image, and doesn't imply a specific narrative separate from my book since his back is to the camera, for a book called Juvenilia.

I took a screenshot, a Tiff file that you can see here, but it's too low resolution: the press says that if they print it out, it ends up being only about two-inches by two-inches. Because they're sending out their catalog soon, they need me to send them a higher resolution version of the same image ASAP--and I just flew to California, where I don't have my mac or any of my DVDs.

This may be a long shot, but: do any of you own this DVD and would it be possible for you to somehow take a higher resolution screenshot and send it to me? Is it even the case that a new screenshot would be better than the one I already have?

Alternately, is there a way to take what I already have and somehow up the resolution? I know there are scaling softwares that fake higher resolution (like this), but do these actually work? I've also thought about other ways to solve this program, such as using a filter or vectorizing the art to make the resolution issue moot (but how to do it w/o it looking cheesy?) or by actually recreating the shot myself (not enough time; not a good enough photographer). In case you're wondering, the Press and Kino can't really offer much more help on this.
posted by johnasdf to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
Given that DVD resolution is 720×480 (NTSC) or 720×576 (PAL), you're never going to get a truly high resolution image from a DVD. All you can do is upsample, but, as you're aware, that doesn't actually add any resolution to the image. The TIFF you linked is 4.7 inches by 2.7 inches at 300 dpi. While that is not large enough to constitute the entire cover image, it is certainly large enough to be incorporated into a larger jacket design. Surely YUP has jacket designers (either in-house or freelance) who can make use of the image in that way.
posted by ocherdraco at 11:39 AM on September 4, 2009

If you're not married to that particular image, I bet it wouldn't be too difficult to find something similarly evocative. Try Flickr. Many of those images are available at higher resolutions, and it would just take a quick message to the photographer to determine whether they're open to sharing their work.
posted by Fifi Firefox at 11:46 AM on September 4, 2009

If KINO gave you permission, why don't they send you the file you need? Ask them. It's good publicity for them -- poetry is a tiny, niche market but KINO's film are pretty niche too.
posted by matteo at 11:51 AM on September 4, 2009

Either get yourself access to Kino's press site and see if it's there or buy rights (or have Yale buy rights) to the image from a film stills archive like the Everett Collection.

I can't imagine why YUP is having you handle this. Don't they have designers who know how to negotiate these things?
posted by otio at 12:44 PM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I can't imagine why YUP is having you handle this. Don't they have designers who know how to negotiate these things?

No. If authors want stuff like this from small presses, they are generally responsible for getting print-ready files to the art department. It's not like Yale is going to be making any money on a poetry collection, so the choices they're giving are likely "If you want this image, get it yourself" and "If you can't get this image, we're going to go with the {favorite abstract swirly bit of art they already own}."
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:53 PM on September 4, 2009

FWIW, the title is on Blu-ray so you should be able to get a 1080p-ish shot (depending on aspect ratio). Still that great for print but much better than DVD.
posted by wongcorgi at 5:30 PM on September 4, 2009

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