Google just made it easier to grab high-quality still images from videos — and it works in a bunch of browsers. In a post on Google’s Keyword blog aimed at students, the company announced a new feature built into Chrome that lets you capture a high-quality, non-overlayed frame from the source video. Just right-click on the video when paused and select “Copy Video Frame.” It might not work on all videos — actually, as far as I can tell, it mostly just works on YouTube — but it does work in a bunch of Chromium-based browsers, not just Chrome.
Google’s pitching this as a tool for students to grab notes from lecture videos, which, sure! After messing around with the new feature for a few minutes, I can confirm that it does offer much higher quality screenshots than my two previous techniques: taking a screen capture or the Enhancer for YouTube “screenshot” button.
Here’s the most interesting stuff I’ve found about the new feature:
- It works on YouTube — and Google Photos videos, which use the YouTube player — but you have to right-click twice to get to the browser right-click menu instead of the YouTube one.
- Frames copied from YouTube are in the video’s streaming resolution, not the resolution it’s actually showing on the screen. When I used the screen capture tool on a YouTube video that was streaming in 4K but playing in a roughly 2560 x 1440 window, it captured at roughly 2560 x 1440, with the controls and captions intact and oddly dull colors. The Copy Video Frame feature got the full 4K resolution frame and warmer colors.
- In my cursory testing, it worked in the latest versions of Arc and Microsoft Edge, which are both Chromium-based. I don’t have every Chromium-based browser on my work laptop, but it probably works in a bunch of others, too, if they’re up to date.
- It really is copy, not save, so it’s great for pasting screenshots into notes — as Google explicitly calls out in its blog post — but saving the images requires an extra step.
- It doesn’t work on Instagram, TikTok, Vimeo, JW Player, or anywhere the browser’s right-click menu is suppressed.
Actually, aside from YouTube, I’m not sure where else it does work. I haven’t tested every video player on the web, so if you find somewhere else it works, please let us know in the comments.