HD Cam Frame-Grabs Now Used By Some Papers

A small but growing number of newspapers like the San Jose Mercury News and the Dallas Morning News are starting to use HD camcorder frame-grabs as another resource for still photos in their publications because frame quality has achieved publishable worthiness.

While many still photographers (news and otherwise) believe it's blasphemous to even consider running a video frame-grab as a bona fide photograph, the Web site pdnonline.com reports HD cam grabs provide more than enough quality to fulfill a second role as a newspaper photo. It's also a lot more reliable to capture a possible split-second news event using video and then choose the best frame for publication (although not nearly as adventurous) then to try to capture an instantaneous event in a still-photo shoot.

HD cams serve two purposes for some papers these days: it records raw video-audio to enhance a paper's Web site, and it gathers a series of potential frame-grabs, as well, for the newsprint edition.

The Dallas Morning News won the Pulitzer Prize this year for its Hurricane Katrina photography and routinely uses HD video stills to round out its camera coverage.

Most photos at both papers are still shot on digital SLR cameras, but a growing number of photojournalists have made Sony HD camcorders their primary cameras for stills, according to pdnonline.com, the online service of Photo District News.