Communication between radiologists and clinicians could be improved if a secondary image (copy of the original image) accompanied the radiologic report. In addition, the number of lost original radiographs could be decreased, since clinicians would have less need to borrow films. The secondary image should be simple and inexpensive to produce, while providing sufficient image quality for verification of the diagnosis. We are investigating the potential usefulness of a video printer for producing copies of radiographs, i.e. images printed on thermal paper. The video printer we examined (Seikosha model VP-3500) can provide 64 shades of gray. It is capable of recording images up to 1,280 pixels by 1,240 lines and can accept any raster-type video signal. The video printer was characterized in terms of its linearity, contrast, latitude, resolution, and noise properties. The quality of video-printer images was also evaluated in an observer study using portable chest radiographs. We found that observers could confirm up to 90 of the reported findings in the thorax using video- printer images, when the original radiographs were of high quality. The number of verified findings was diminished when high spatial resolution was required (e.g. detection of a subtle pneumothorax) or when a low-contrast finding was located in the mediastinal area or below the diaphragm (e.g. nasogastric tubes).