Pros: Very easy to use; multiple-frame analysis function; supports many video formats
Cons: Only BMP and JPEG output; output quality may be inadequate for some
Bottomline: A good job by Topaz, giving hope to photographers seeking sharper definition from extracted stills
Manufacturer: Topaz Labs
Precious moments can can be fleeting and, sometimes, with a regular camera, it’s easy to miss the vital moment; your finger is just about ready, and then the scene has gone.
Videography offers more real-time potential, but with lousy resolution, clarity and sharpness. Many modern camcorders have a high-resolution stills-capture mode that can be used while shooting video, but it’s easy to forget to fire and extracting a frame later from video is often unrewarding.
Topaz Labs has developed still-capture software that can extract a photographic image from a video sequence. Moment 3.4 promises to extrapolate a sharp photo print from a plethora of video formats (including AVI, MPEG, Quicktime and more) by the simple expedient of analysing a neighbouring sequence of seven frames and then turning them into a relatively super-sharp still.
Results are impressive. In no way do they approach the definition of a modern digital SLR, but you can certainly haul the low-resolution output of a consumer-type 4:3 digital camcorder into something printable at 6x4in.
Disappointingly, while working with the output of an inexpensive, standard-definition Panasonic camcorder, the capture appeared squashed due to Moment messing with aspect ratio. It’s easy to work it up in Photoshop, but that’s another editing process and leads to further image-noise. Also, output choices are limited to BMP and JPEG – there’s no TIFF option.
Nevertheless, this video frame-grabber handles many video codecs, has a wealth of image-enhancing tools and could well supplant the capture software of whatever was bundled with your camcorder, such is its ease of use. Moment 3.4 is elegant, lives up to its promise and is great value.