Monday, March 25, 2013

Timelapse Videos

My friend Chetan and me used to debate if it is really worth 'wasting' shutter counts of our cameras doing time lapse videos. I was reluctant to use my camera to click 1000+ photos within a time of 30 minutes, since it would wear out the shutter prematurely.

Chetan, Mohit and me met up at Worli Sea face last evening and were brainstorming generally and thought that there has to be a better way to do this and there is! Instead of setting the timer and shooting photographs at regular intervals, we can take another approach
  • shoot a 30 minute smooth video
  • split it into jpg frames (using free software 'Video to JPG' convertor)
  • stitch it back into a video (using free software photo lapse - it can also do a reverse time lapse, very interesting one!)

Technically, it is a very simple process, and you can get some very interesting time lapse videos done without ANY special hardware requirements - just ANY camera that can do good quality videos will work. 

I did a time lapse video of a construction site from my home window this afternoon - and it looks quite interesting for the first ever time lapse I tried.

  • Camera - Nikon P500 (point and shoot)
  • Original video - 24 minutes (3GB of HD footage)
  • Split into 1050 JPG frames (selected every 10th frame)
  • Stitched back into a video at 24 fps (59 MB of final output for a 44 second video at 720p)
You can do really cool stuff with time lapse - just get your creative juices flowing for a personal project.

Comments and suggestions welcome.


  1. One question if u have shot a video why go and break it in to jpg, instead why not speed up the video. It will be so easy to do that and it takes half of the size of what you shot.

  2. That would be even more efficient - I need to figure out a way to speed up the video. Do you know of any tools that can help to do this?

  3. If you can manage a macromedia flash.. you can do both the things mentioned above in a single tool... and create your own movie at your desired pace

  4. Just speeding it up won't be helpful. That will be fast-forwarding a visual. I think the essence is "lapse" of time in a TL video... therefore you got to follow the steps you have followed.