How can I capture a high quality image from a movie?
January 9, 2011 2:17 PM   Subscribe

How can I get a high quality image of this still from the movie "The Graduate" to use for a wall poster?

I have a website I use for printing the posters, but I need a good quality version of the image. Should I just torrent the movie and capture a still of it? or is there a better way I could do it?
posted by grimace636 to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't have permission to access /screenshots/images/1967/graduate-title-still-small.jpg on that server.

Regardless, a screen capture of a DVD (torrented or otherwise) is not going to look acceptable blown up to poster size.
posted by contraption at 2:22 PM on January 9, 2011

If you're using a screenshot, use a Blu-Ray (1080p) one. Don't bother with a torrent; DivX/XviD is worse than DVD quality.
posted by griphus at 2:25 PM on January 9, 2011

Even Blu-ray, at 1920x1080, won't look good above 10x5" or so. Maybe double that if you stretch it. Of course, if you use the Rasterbator or something fun like that, your possibilities increase.
posted by supercres at 2:26 PM on January 9, 2011

Response by poster: Here's another link to the image:
posted by grimace636 at 2:27 PM on January 9, 2011

Here are some screenshots from the Blu-Ray version. They don't have the still you're looking for, but that's the quality you want for printing.
posted by griphus at 2:27 PM on January 9, 2011

There's a semi-high quality version here:

You should still get a blu ray still. That's the best you're going to get.
posted by The Lamplighter at 3:00 PM on January 9, 2011

Best answer: Actually, blu-ray isn't going to be high-enough resolution. If The Graduate had been shot at 1.85:1, the still would be 1920x1080. That's only 6.4"x3.6" at 300dpi, which isn't poster-size, obviously. Even at 150 dpi, that's still only 12.8"x7.2". Additionally, since the film is shot at 2.35:1, the functional resolution on a blu-ray screen is even a bit lower (owing to the black space at the top and bottom of the image).

This might sound a little weird, but I think the way to get the highest-quality digital image would be to find a 35mm print of the Graduate, find the frame you want, and scan it with a high-end film scanner. This could get you a long axis of over 4000px, which would be almost 15" at 300dpi, and 30" at 150dpi. I'm fairly confident that something like a Fuji Frontier could handle a reel of film without having to cut it, but I'm not sure. Also, this is likely to be prohibitively expensive, as 35mm prints generally aren't cheap.

Is the scene you want in one of the trailers? They're a lot easier to locate as a film medium, and it would be much less painful to cut a classic film trailer than to cut a classic film. There's even the possibility that someone has recently reprinted trailers for The Graduate, if it's being shown as a midnight movie, or something like that.

In short, be prepared to either:

1. Be disappointed in the quality of the poster
2. Spend a lot of time and money looking for a 35mm version of the film.
posted by god hates math at 3:26 PM on January 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

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