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Freeze Frame

February 14th, 2005

Ever since I bought a computer with a DVD drive, I’ve wanted to use it to capture still frames from movies and TV shows. (For strictly legitimate reasons having nothing to do with creating wallpapers of Elizabeth Hurley.) However, some arcane quirk known only to tech heads and leprechauns prevents the “print screen” button from grabbing anything other than total blackness. Granted, I could pretend I’m looking at a photo of Elizabeth Hurley at the center of the Earth, but then it really wouldn’t be serving its purpose.

Now, I know that a number of software products work around this restriction, but they share one annoying problem: they all cost money, and I’ve grown very accustomed to freeware. (I’m not at all averse to spending money–my wife can vouch for that–but it’s just that I’d rather put it where it’ll do the most good.)

Yesterday, I finally found a temporary solution: a DVD player called PowerDVD which comes in a fully functional trial version. I happily frittered away the evening grabbing nifty screen shots (none of which, as it happens, featured a certain Ms. Hurley).

I wanted to share a couple I derived from a large stack of Star Trek (the original, accept no substitute) DVDs. While I mostly went after pictures of starships, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to capture one of my favorite Trek characters: Caffeinated Spock.

What casual Trek viewers may not know is that the character of Mr. Spock was not always the stoic, look-at-me-I’m-so-logical dude that Dr. McCoy wanted to bludgeon to death. In the show’s pilot episode, “The Cage,” he was quite excitable, something I attribute to a caffeine addiction. He spent his time on Talos IV shouting, smiling and generally overacting.

Here’s an example: Spock grooves to the weird sound made by an alien plant. Seriously, he’s really into the foliage.

And here’s one of my favorite moments from “The Cage.” Spock is about to beam down with a landing party to search for Captain Pike, who has been kidnapped by the telepathic Talosians in hopes of breeding humans for their mental amusement. However, the Talosians have manipulated things so that only the female members transport to the surface, causing Spock to shout…

“The Women!”

I’ll bet that the other Vulcans kidded him about that for years. “Hey, Spock-O, remember that time when you were hopped up on cappuccino, and you got all freaky because the aliens grabbed your ladies?”

Spock would say “Fascinating,” but under his breath, he’d be muttering Vulcan obscenities regarding a sehlat and someone’s mother. That Spock, he just can’t take a joke.

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