Capture A Screenshot From A Streamed Video

Ever wanted to take a screen shot of something you’ve seen in a streaming video? Sure you have!

You set up the stream, advance to the right time counter, and snap! But.. oh no! The frame of the media player is black. What happened? Well, the problem is likely due to video card acceleration and overlays. Basically, to produce higher quality video, your computer asks your video card to display the accelerated video in an overlay, which “overlays” the rest of the screen. From the user’s perspective, the video and the other windows are all on the same plane.

However, from the software’s point of view, the only things on the screen are the windows, since the actual video is in the overlay. This is why the streaming media player’s window appears black. How to fix this? Well, I will demonstrate with RealPlayer v 10.5 for Windows as an example, but the general idea should hold for any media player. Go to the menu bar, and select “Tools.” Scroll down and select “Preferences…” The preferences window should appear. Within the window, select “Hardware” from the side menu. In the bottom panel, select “Most Reliable” which will show “Disable optimized video and overlays.” Then, restart RealPlayer and try capturing the image again. Voila!