Entries in timelapse (5)


Windows Binaries for QT Canon

A while back I compiled some Windows binaries for my QT Canon application.  I did a couple of videos with it, but I sold my DSLR before I got to play too much with it.  Until I get a new camera SLR, the QT Canon project is on hold (mainly because I don't have a camera to test with).  At any rate, I figured I'd put the binaries so that others could play around with it.  There are bugs in the app, and this is beta at best, but feel free to download and make some cool time lapse videos.  All you have to do is download the zip file and then extract it some where.  Then plug your camera in, turn it on, and then fire up the application.  On Linux, the app will find your camera even if you start the app before you plug the camera in.  This is not the case on Windows though.  You must plug in your camera, turn it on, and then start the app.  From there you just set up a few things and start shooting.  Have fun!

Download for Windows (XP/Vista/7): QT Canon

I recommend turning off the auto focus when shooting time lapse.  Otherwise the camera has a tendency to "hunt for focus" between shots, and this can produce a jerky video when stitched back together.  Kind of like this one I made with my Canon Rebel:


I'm basically famous

You may (or probably don't) remember a post I did about creating time lapse with your GoPro camera.  I didn't talk about it, but I also did a little hack where I used a kitchen timer to create panning time lapse.  I didn't blog about it, but I did post my pictures in the Make Flickr pool.  This led a Make and Gizmodo to blog about it, and since then my humble little hack has become pretty popular.  Anyway, here is the original clip (and only panning time lapse I've done so far...doh):

This whole thing gets better though.  A few months ago I was contacted by a woman asking if she could use my video in an "upcoming feature film by Ridley Scott".  Naturally, I didn't believe she was working with Ridley Scott, but I told her she was free to use it however she likes (I usually license my stuff with Creative Commons licenses anyway).  Fast forward a few months, and I go to the home page of YouTube, and I see none other than Life in a Day featured with 400k views.  This was the name the lady mentioned to me, so I clicked through, and sure enough my clip is in the freaking intro!  Check it out:


I guess they are going to debut the feature at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011.  I'm thinking about trying to create another panning time lapse to submit to the feature.  We shall see....


-- Rob



Happy Mother's Day

Lunch at Kim's mom's house:

I love you mom, and I think about you every day.  Thanks for everything you did for me.

- - Rob


iPhone time lapse

Because I have this ongoing obsession with time lapse, I'm always looking for more obscure ways to create time lapse video. This weeks challenge includes a little stitching (which I outlined in an earlier post), a home made iPhone stand, and an incense candle that my girlfriend likes to burn.

First I'd like to start with a quick review of the application that I used on the iPhone to capture the images appropriately named "TimeLapse". It has a standard, and fair price of .99 cents and works as advertised. It's made up of two pages that allow you to set the speed at which pictures are taken, frame your shot, and shoot your pictures. Below is a picture of the first screen you see after launching the app:

On this screen you can set the rate at which your pictures are taken, how many pictures you want to take, and what quality you want to shoot at.

I really liked everything about this app, and can really only say the one thing I didn't like was that, although you have the choice to try and take pictures every second, you can actually take pictures at about 10 second intervals. This is something the developer states upfront however, so it's hard to knock the app on that. I'm sure this is a hardware limitation anyway, so what can you do?

Now, before we get into the quick rundown on how to make the video, here is what I came up with. It's short and sweet and was really just a proof of concept.



Ok, here's what you need to do to make time lapse videos with your iPhone:


  1. Install the TimeLapse application on your iPhone
  2. Buy/create a tripod for your phone. I had an arm laying around from an old satellite radio, and here is what I came up with:


    Doing some timelapse with my iPhone

  3. After securing your iPhone to the tripod (I did this in portrait mode, but I'd do it in landscape next time), put your phone in airplane mode so you don't get a call that messes up your shot.
  4. Get plenty of lighting in place, set your timing to something reasonable (you may have to try a few times to get it just right), and then start the app
  5. After letting the app run for the desired amount of time, stop and take the phone off the tripod and head to the computer
  6. All you need to do now is plug the phone into the computer, and then access the pictures like any digital camera. On Windows, you can go to my computer, and you'll see the iPhone listed under cameras. On the Mac, you should be prompted to download them, and on Ubuntu, you'll be prompted as well.
  7. Now all you need to do is stitch the pictures together using some software like ffmpeg. You can learn how to do that here


Anyway, if you're ever out and about and want to make a quick time lapse, fire up your iPhone and let it run...


Cheap time lapse with a webcam, VLC, and ffmpeg

I've always been fascinated with time lapse videos of all sorts. Recently I've had the urge to do a little time lapse myself. My ultimate goal is to do something with my DSLR, but I guess you have to crawl before you walk right?



1. Get a webcam

2. Get VLC from Videolan.org (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

      * if using Ubuntu type the following: sudo apt-get install vlc

3. Get ffmpeg from ffmpeg.mplayerhq.hu

      * if using Ubuntu type the following: sudo apt-get install ffmpeg

      * You can find Windows binaries for ffmpeg from Google

4. Capture your stills using VLC

      * cvlc v4l2:// :v4l2-dev="/dev/video0" -V "image" --image-out-prefix img --image-out-format jpg --image-out-ratio 10 --v4l-fps 30

This means you'll save every 10th image from /dev/video0. You'll want to replace that with where ever your webcam is. It'll most likely be under /dev/video, but you can use dmesg to find your cam.

5. Let your video run as long as you'd like (or until your hard drive fills up)

6. Stitch your images back together using ffmpeg

      * ffmpeg -b 1800 -i img%06d.jpg video.mpg

After that you'll have a video named video.mpg that looks similar to the one above. You'll want to play with the number of images you grab with the image-out-ratio and you may want to explore varying the play back speed by taking a look at the options ffmpeg has to offer.

Although I had to figure out the VLC command by reading and just trying stuff, I found the ffmpeg command from: Catswhocode.com

It's also worth mentioning that I found a good article about extracting time lapse from a video. This sounds good for shooting video with my camcorder and then getting different types of time lapse from the video. You can find that article at: wp.pr0gr4gr4mm3r.com