If you owned a Snappy from Play in the mid-1990s, you'll recognize instantly the device illustrated at left. The Snappy Video Snapshot was a predecessor to the digital camera. It worked like this:
1. Attach it to the computer's parallel port.
2. Connect your analogue video camera to the Snappy's RCA connector. (A separate adapter is needed to capture from S-Video.)
3. Run the Snappy software on the computer.
4. Start playing back the tape in the video camara.
5. Watching the preview screen, click the SNAP button to grab an image.
Using multiple scans, the software could increase the resoution from 600x200 to something like 1600x1200.
A feature I requested was added later: the ability to grab an image every 10 sconds or so, automatically. This was extrememly useful, for example, for getting a collection of prints from the six hours of video I took on our family's trip to Germany in 1998.
Hooked up the video camera to record live, the Snappy became a poor man's digital camera -- back in the days when digital cameras were really expensive ($10,000) or really bad (640x480).
By 1999, however, I bought my first digital camera, and the Snappy was no longer needed. Play, Inc went out of business in 2001, and GlobalStreams took it over. It was hard to use the Snappy, because its software ran only on Windows 95; the new owners upgraded the software, but only for Windows XP (I used Windows 98 and 2000 on my computers).
Snappy Software for All
Today I found that atomicinternet.homeip.net/xtra/snappy carries all versions of the Snappy software (Release 1 - 4), as well as patches to make Snappy v4 run on Windows 98, NT 2k & XP. Total download is about 24MB.
Other Snappy Links
Snappy Video Snapshot - home.pmt.org/~drose/d2cc-06.html
Third-party software for Snappy (scroll down) - www.saao.ac.za/~wpk/snappy/software/
(Brief and Biased) History of Play - atomicinternet.homeip.net/xtra/snappy/archive/storyofplay.html
Snappy Discussion Forum - atomicinternet.homeip.net/forums/viewforum.php?f=3