If you’ve ever agonized over the decision between shooting video and shooting still photos, you’re not alone. Do you want nice, flowy video of that whole trick from start to finish, or do you just want that perfect photo right at the key moment? For years, you had to choose one or the other. Well, we’re pleased to inform you that that’s no longer the case.

With HERO10 Black’s high resolution video modes, you can now take frame grabs from your videos that come in at up to 19.6 megapixels (MP). That’s a larger image than a lot of smartphones shoot in their dedicated still modes! Today we’re going to walk you through the whole frame grab process, from shooting to exporting, and you’ll be a master of both photo and video in no time.

As a rule of thumb, a higher video resolution will deliver a higher resolution frame grab. But there are a few additional factors, like aspect ratio, that we’ll cover in the following. For now, know that HERO10 will deliver 19.6MP frame grabs from a 5K 4:3 video and 15.8MP from a 5.3K 16:9 video.

PRO TIP: The information in this article also applies to HERO9 Black, HERO8 Black and MAX. However, the video resolutions cap off at 5K, 4K and 6K in 360 Mode, respectively.

Step One: Selecting Aspect Ratios + Resolutions

The first thing you’re going to want to do is decide what you want your resolution to be, but before we do that, let’s talk aspect ratios real quick.

Your GoPro can shoot in a horizontal 16:9 format or a squarer 4:3 format.

  • 16:9 is what you might think of as your “movie ratio.” Almost all modern, flatscreen TVs are 16:9, and this ratio gives you wide, “letterbox,” cinematic-looking footage.
  • 4:3 is what you might associate with an older, tube TV. It’s more squared, in other words.

Generally speaking, we recommend shooting in 16:9 because it will look better on most screens and video-sharing platforms like YouTube, but there are some good reasons to shoot in 4:3, too (Instagram being one of them).

The image sensor on your GoPro (and basically all cameras) has a 4:3 ratio, so when shooting in 16:9 the top and bottom of what the sensor sees gets cropped to create the horizontal aspect ratio. When you want to capture something from first-person POV, like mountain biking, it’s better to shoot in a 4:3 aspect ratio to get more the road, your body/bike and the sky all in the shot. So, 4:3 video contains more pixels than a 16:9 video of the same width. And therefore, 4:3 will deliver the largest resolution frame grabs at 19.6MP from a 5K 4:3 video.

PRO TIP: GoPro offers the best of both 16:9 and 4:3 worlds in one with the SuperView lens. SuperView basically takes a 4:3 frame (the whole sensor) and delivers it in a 16:9 video.

HERO10 Black video-to-frame-grab conversion table

And if you’re worried about burning through your storage too quickly (or you want to be able to shoot at higher speeds), then 4K still gives you nice, big frame grabs.

If you need a quick refresher on how to change your resolution, here’s the step-by-step.

  1. At the bottom-center of the back LCD screen, tap the setting pill (make sure you’re in video mode already).
  2. Click the Edit pencil icon on the preset of your choosing.
  3. In the top left corner you’ll see “RES|FPS” (that’s resolution and frames per second). Click it.
  4. On this screen, you’ll find all the aspect ratio, resolution and frame rate combination options. On the top row you’ll see the three 4:3 options, and just below it you’ll see the four 16:9 options. If you know you’re going to shoot video and want frame grabs, we recommend shooting in at least 4K.

The frame rate won’t matter too much for screen grabs because even 30fps is the equivalent of a 30-shot burst per second, so you’ll almost certainly have a clean shot of the exact moment you want (though 60fps will double your options and 120fps will quadruple them). Even high-end sports photography cameras typically top out at about 20fps bursts, so 30fps should be more than enough.

PRO TIP: If the aspect ratio, resolution, frame rate combo you’re trying to use is not supported, the option will be grayed out and unable to be selected.

Step Two: Shoot Your Video

For the sharpest stills you’ll want to make sure you’re shooting in an environment with plenty of light. When there’s lots of light your GoPro will increase its shutter speed, so even fast-paced action shots should come out clean and clear.

From there, just hit record and let your GoPro capture the magive in video format. Rest assured, there will be some still photo keeper moments in there now that you have your resolution and aspect ratio settings dialed.

Step Three: Grab Your Frames

The easiest way to pull frame grabs from video is by pairing your camera to the GoPro Quik app and using the frame grab tool.

Here's the step-by-step:

  1. Once you've transferred your video to the app, open Quik and click the View Media button in the bottom right of the screen. Review your footage and select the video that has the moment you want to frame grab. Tap on it.
  2. On the bottom tool bar, select the icon second from the left that looks like a photo with an arrow pointing upward just above it. That’s the Grab Photo button. 
  3. Now, beneath the clip, you’ll see a timeline that lets you scrub through the video, frame-by-frame, and select the exact moment you want. There are also forward and backward arrows that let you move one frame at a time so you can dial it in perfectly.
  4. Once you have the moment you want, click Save on the top right of your screen. You’ll get a message that says the photo has been shared to the GoPro Quik app’s Media folder. 
    1. You can click Share directly from there to send it someone via your favorite messaging app, or you share it to directly to social media.
    2. Or if you want to further edit the image, navigate back to the Media Gallery and select your image. You can edit the photo right in the Quik app by clicking the pencil icon, which will give you options for adding filters, cropping, or granularly tweaking parameters like exposure, contrast, vibrance and shadows. In the top right of the screen you’ll see an arrow that points right. Click it, and you’ll see options to share it or “Save to phone” which copies the photo into your phone’s main image library.

The Quik app also supports frame grabs from non-GoPro content. Learn more here. And you can learn more about HERO10 Black here.