There have always been ways you can grab a still picture from a video clip as Apple's iMovie allows for this and several digital cameras have built a feature into their software allowing for this possibility.
Now, quite simply, there's an app for that.
Seattle-based Vhoto has announced an app for the iPhone and iPad that will automatically capture any still of your choosing from the video footage you shoot.
Using a technology dubbed computer vision, commonly used by military equipment and robots to analyze and understand images by scanning them for data, the app automatically scans the video footage and picks the best frames.
How, you ask?
As the company's CEO, Noah Heller, explains Vhoto uses the power that is already inherent in video to capture that perfect still that lies within it's many frames. The technology actually combines computer vision with what Heller calls machine learning, a tool that allows the application to understand user preferences by evaluates over 20 different dimensions with the images including blur, contrast, action/movement, faces, smiles, novelty and, perhaps most importantly, user intent to automatically pick the best from the video.
The user is then left with several stills extracted from the video from which to pick that prefect picture.
"When a new user tries Vhoto and captures an amazing moment, we know we have that user forever. But if we see a user only keeps producing traditional plain portraits with our app, we know they don't quite get it yet," Heller explains. "This app lets life happen unscripted and allows users to pick the best photos later,"
Heller's background includes time at Microsoft and later joined Atlas Ventures as an entrepreneur in residence (EIR). It was there he met Vhoto co-founder Hugh Crean, then CEO of airfare prediction site Faircast as well as Vhoto CTO Jay Bartot. To date, the trio's venture has received $2.4 million in seed funding from Atlas and Polaris Partners.
Heller is quick to add that the hope with Vhoto is go beyond today's selfie culture and truly become an important imaging app that is helping consumers capture the best moments of their lives - without having to take hundreds and hundreds of photos to accomplish that.