Making the Time-lapse film
should have a sequence of images on a memory card, download
these to your computer making sure they are numbered sequentially.
Check a few random images and make a note of their jpeg size,
picture left is a before and after screenshot of a time-lapse
sequence of a tulip opening. The images out of camera were 768
x 1024 and 179kb and were reduced to 170 x 200 and 2.43kb. You
can see the
Tulip time lapse here...
You need to work out how big the total number of images you
have, for example if there are 400 images and each one is 500kb's
you are looking at a file size of about 200mb which can mean
older computers will find it slow to process.
Resizing and compressing the images
up an application such as Adobe Photoshop, Elements or Paint
Shop Pro and select one of the final images. The reason for
selecting the last image is it will be the one where you can
make a final crop allowing the time-lapse to be centered.
As you are dealing with a large number of images it would be
very time consuming to alter each one at a time, you need to
make an action script. In Photoshop on the right in Actions,
click on "create new action" you will get a box saying
name which you can enter, then press record. From now on whatever
you do will be recorded, crop if necessary and resize the image
and go to "file" "Save for Web", select
a compression level and make a note of the size and work out
if it is enough to reduce the file to a workable size. Once
you are happy with the image save as in a new folder, do not
overwrite the original pictures in case needed again.
To run the action script in Photoshop go to "File"
"Automate" "Batch" set the action name,
source and destination folders making sure you do not overwrite
the original images. Click Ok and the batch process should begin,
it will take time depending on the size of the images.
From still image to movie
All the time lapse on this website are done using Flash, however
not everybody has the software and it needs some knowledge to
use. As more people are now using Windows XP, below is a guide
on how to create the movie using Windows Movie Maker. I have also
included a brief summary of how to do in Flash and also using
an animation package such as JASC Animation Shop 3.
Windows Movie Maker
on Start, go to All Programs, click on "Windows Movie Maker"
to open it.
You need to adjust the picture duration, by default it is set
to 5 seconds which is far too slow. Go to "Tools" and
click on "Options". Click on the "Advanced tab"
and under "Default durations" adjust the picture duration
from 5 seconds to 0.125 seconds, click "Ok".
Next step is to import the images. Go to "File" and
click on "Import into Collections", locate where your
folder is, click on an image, and using your keyboard press
"Ctrl A" this highlights all your images, click on
"Import". Windows Movie Maker will import the images
into Collections, check that they are all there and are in sequence.
Click on one of the images, on your keyboard press "Ctrl
A" to highlight all your images. Left click with mouse
button and drag and drop the images on the timeline at the bottom.
all your images have imported to the timeline and are numbered
sequentially. You can now test your movie, press "Play"
on storyboard. If your movie is playing how you want it to, next
step is to export.
Go to "File" and click on "Save Movie File".
In the wizard select where you are saving the movie, enter the
file name and click "Next". On "Movie Settings"
by default the file size is selected, you can alter this if
is too large. Click "Next" and your movie is saved,
tick the tab "Play movie when I click Finish"
and click "Finish", your movie should play in your
default movie player.
Flash, go to "Modify" "Document" and check
the "Document Properties". Make the dimensions slightly
bigger than your image, e.g if it is 400px wide make this 420px.
Check frame rate, it is probably 24fps, set at 10fps. Click "Make
Default". Flash can have an annoying habit of off centering
the stage when making adjustments so I would now shut Flash down
and reopen it.
Reopen Flash, go to "File" "Import" and
point at the folder that has your images, click on just one
image and click "Open" flash will prompt This
file appears to be part of a sequence of images. Do you want
to import all of the images in the sequence?
yes. It will only import if the numbers are sequenced, any gap
and it will stop at that point. Now save, go to "File"
and "Save As".
You should now see the timeline has grown and is called layer
1, you can now grab the tab on the timeline and manually move
to see how the sequence works or you can go to "Control"
"Play" to see the movie play from start to finish.
The first thing you did in Flash was to change the "Document
Properties" and changed the frame rate to 10fps
you can change that if so wished, a lower number will slow it
down, bigger speed it up. If there are any frames you want removing
then just click on layer 1 timeline to highlight, R.Click and
click "Remove Frames".
When the movie is finished go to "File" "Export
Movie" and "Save As", note by default you can
save as swf, there are other formats such as avi quick time
your GIF animator, shown here is JASC Animation Shop 3. Go to
"File" "Animation Wizard", go through the
wizard click "Next", when you get to the frame rate
adjust to 10fps. Next add the images, click on an image and on
your keyboard press "Ctrl A" this highlights all your
images, click on "Open". Check they are in sequence,
if not use the Move Up/Down, click "Next", click "Finish".
You should now see a timeline with the images, click "View
Animation" to test. If you need to adjust the frame rate,
click on the timeline on your keyboard press "Ctrl A"
to highlight the images, right click, click on "Frame Properties"
To save, go to "File" click on "Save As",
select file name and where to save to, now adjust the "Animation
Quality Versus Output Size", as it is a Gif this is limited
and the file size will be bigger than other formats. Click "Next",
check optomisation and click "Finish" checking the