Capture Stills from OS X DVD Player with a Simple Hack

My seven-year-old son enjoys taking screen shots of scenes in movie previews so he can print them out and hang them on the wall of his room. He recently decided he wanted a screen grab from a DVD he was watching, but – as many of you know – that function isn’t available when using Apple’s DVD Player.

This is one of those little things that Apple presumably does to keep movie studios happy, while they remain blissfully unaware that simple workarounds exist, such as Mac OS X Screenshot Secrets.

A number of other hits on my search list pointed me to utilities such as ScreenShot Plus and SnapNDrag, but since I only wanted fixed screen grabs, I decided to give the hack described in Mac OS X Screenshot Secrets a try.

You can add a DVD screen grab command to Apple’s script menu. In OS X, the steps are simple:

  1. Log in as owner or admin.
  2. Open the Script Editor utility in ~/Applications/AppleScript/.
  3. Type the following: do shell script "screencapture ~/Desktop/DVD-screenshot.png"
  4. Save the Script as DVD Screenshot in the following location: ~/LIbrary/Application Support/DVD Player/Scripts.

If there isn’t a folder called DVD Player in your Application Support folder, just create one. Then create a Scripts folder inside of that and save your script there.

The next time you run DVD player, a new menu item will appear in the script menu: DVD Screenshot. Pause the movie at the desired location, choose the menu item, and the entire screen (movie included) will be saved to your desktop as DVD-Screenshot.

You can open this with Preview and crop it or print it from there.

There are many other functions available using this little utility, but I’ll refer you to the O’Reilly article for them rather than just copying the article. (For Windows users and other operating systems, check out the Wikipedia entry for Screenshot.)

I don’t currently have access to an OS 9 machine that has a DVD player. If an enterprising reader could let me know if screen grabs using the usual Shift-Command-3 or 4 work in DVD movies, I’d appreciate it.

Keywords: #dvdstills #dvdscreencapture #maclabreport

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