The idea behind Canon’s HD Movie Print is to allow customers to film important events (or day to day life) in HD with any of Canon’s compatible cameras and then print out stills pulled from the video.
So we’ve joined forces with our sister site, DigitalCameraReview, to test out the brand new HD Movie Print. We will be using the Canon PowerShot S95 digital camera with 720p capabilities and the Canon Rebel T1i DSLR with 1080p capabilities to shoot the HD video and the Canon Pixma MG8120 Wireless Photo All-in-One printer and software to pull stills from our video and print 4×6 images.
Ease of use
First things first, let’s take a brief look of how the technology works. In order to use HD Movie Print with any of the new Pixmas, users will need to download the Canon Solution Menu software (where the Movie Print software resides) as well as the software that comes with the Canon camera you’ll be using to take the HD movies (in our case the PowerShot S95 and the Rebel T1i).
You’ll also need to make sure you are filming in HD because the Movie Print software does not recognize any other video.
After that, take as much video as you want and then upload it to the PC you set the Pixma printer up with (in our case the Pixma MG8120).
Once the video is uploaded to the computer, open the Canon Solution Menu EX and select Photo Print; this menu option will bring up six shortcuts including the Movie Print icon.
Selecting Movie Print will open the editing software and allow you to search for compatible media on your hard drive. Once you select the video – you can only open one at a time – the entire clip will show up on the screen ready for capture.
There are several options for grabbing still shots from the video. Hit play to begin playback and the periodically hit the capture button, a small gray button with a camera and photo icon located next to the play, stop, forward and reverse buttons. Each captured still will then pop up in the bottom with the exact time stop time displayed below.
Users can also use the Auto Frame Capture settings found on the left hand side of the screen. Choose between capturing all frames or 10 frames. Both of these options will pull from the length of the entire video unless users cut it using the second scroll bar.
Once you’ve captured stills, double click on them to edit or hit the edit option (a small paintbrush). Editing is fairly generic, just allows for noise reduction.
After you’ve got the perfect stills, make sure the box is checked for each still you want to print and hit the print button in the top left hand corner of the screen. The default print setting is Canon’s Photo Paper Plus Glossy II at the 4×6 size but the settings can be adjusted.
Can’t get the perfect stills? Hit the select video icon in the lower left hand corner of the screen to select a different HD video.
HD Movie Print performance
The Movie Print software is basic and easy to use but how did the photos come out? Well, it was a mixed bag. I can never profess to being a great videographer (or photographer for that matter), but I was impressed with the video I shot with the PowerShot S95 and the video DigitalCameraReview Editor Allison Johnson shot with the Rebel T1i (read both the reviews at DigitalCameraReview).
First up the video I shot with the PowerShot S95. Other than when I zoomed (and the video quality got grainy), all the video I took came out clear and on the mark. So obviously I expected the same from my photos and I was disappointed.
The first set of video I took was of my puppy and my friend’s dog during a hike we took a week ago. The video turned out good and I got a ton of action on camera but when it came time to print out the stills I noticed they were all blurry. Not terrible, I can’t make out what that is blurry, but just not that sharp. After considering that some shots were better than others, I thought maybe this issue could be solved by tweaking my video style. When I was filming the dogs I was following them running (aka moving the camera around) and zooming in on their faces so I figured that had something to do with the less than crisp photo stills.
So the second time around I took video of a night out at a local sporting event, resisting the urge to zoom or move the camera in any way and I was rewarded with better photo stills. The shots of the fireworks set off after the game and of my friends cheering were much better than of the dogs from the previous videos.
However, I still noticed sharpness issues even with the second batch. Although much better overall quality, the details just weren’t there, especially compared to shots I printed out with the Pixma MG8120 during our actual review. Those prints were crisp, lab quality photos, and the shots I pulled from the PowerShot S95 video just didn’t measure up on the whole.
But the PowerShot S95 only films in 720p whereas the Canon Rebel T1i films in 1080p. So Allison took out the Rebel T1i to get video so we could see if the photo quality using the HD Movie Print would improve with better quality video. We got some great video of beautiful scenery in our local neighborhood and I was excited to test it out. As you can see below, the photos did in fact turn out better then both the dog and fireworks shots.
The details were much crisper, the colors accurate and the prints just seemed more focused in general. Here, finally, were the quality photos I had seen the Pixma MG8120 print during our review.
Since we added the T1i video and prints to the review, my conclusion has obviously changed slightly. I still think that the Canon HP Movie Print is a really cool feature and I’m still definitely not a professional photographer/videographer but, in all honestly, many of the people that use HD Movie Print will be about as skilled as I am at taking videos and photos. They’ll want to move the camera around following the subject, they’ll want to zoom in close on faces and objects; when employing those methods using any of the cameras with only 720p capabilities, users are just better off trying to capture the moment by taking an actual photo.
But if using a Canon DSLR with 1080p capabilities, the HD Movie Print feature can actually help users pull quality photos from their video. I would still caution against moving the camera to follow the subject (probably a good rule of thumb anyways) but rather keep the camera steady and zoom out farther to capture the entire field.
So if you happen to have the Canon combo, definitely test out the HD Movie Print feature because it’s a unique one that no other manufacturer is offering.