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Synonyms: screenshot, screencapture, cap
See also: Icon, Picspam
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Screencap (n.) Abbreviated form of screencapture. A screencap is an image created by a computer that is taken from a TV show, movie, or other visual media displaying on that computer. Some video player programs (notably VLC Media Player) come with the ability to take screencaps of video files, including copy-protected DVDs that cannot be screencapped with a printscreen command in some commercial programs (such as Windows Media Player). Smartphones can also take screencaps.

Screencap (v.) The act of creating a screencap.

Screencaps may be used in the production of icons, manips, or other fanworks that rely heavily on visual sources. The raw images themselves, once captured, are often also uploaded to communities or websites to share with other fans. A single post or webpage of many screencaps is called a picspam.

See also List of Screencapping Communities and Websites.


In 1969, a fan readies her tripod to photograph her 10 inch TV screen. Source: "Have TV...Will Photograph, Star Ledger, July 1969)

Before computers, fans used analog methods to capture stills or images from the aired TV shows. In the 1960s fans would set up cameras on tripods in front of their TV screens (often only 10 inch sized and in black and white) and snap photos of the actors. Even after the introduction of color TVs and VCRs, creating 'telepictures' or 'telepicks' required the something to display the image (a TV show being aired or being played back on a VCR) and something to record the screen (a camera).

"I remember doing that back in my early X-Files days. Many many photographs of Krycek taken from the TV screen. I had whole photo albums full. We called 'em telepics. I had friends who did Blake's 7 telepics and we'd trade with each other. Fun times!"[1]


  1. Cody Nelson's comment in morgandawn's Fandom and Tech: Always On the Cutting Edge post dated Feb 5, 2013; WebCite.
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