|I have experimented with timelapse
creation through Irfanview. It is easy, it's fun, it's free.
You need Irfanview. Go to www.irfanview.com
and download and install the latest version. Free for home use. It's a
great image viewer, on steroids, it does much more than showing you the
images. Lots more, trust me on this one. Download.com has it, millions
of downloads. The most popular multimedia viewer. And you say you never
heard of it? tsk tsk... what planet were you vacationing on?
We'll use it to capture the screenshots at regular intervals,
along with the cursor, into an image sequence.
Capture with Irfanview
You will need to create a folder into which to capture the image
sequences, or use an existing one (don't save to
the desktop, it will be littered with too many icons in no time)......
recommend creating a folder in 'My Documents' or at top level of the
(create that folder first).
Back in Irfanview you can hit 'c' for Capture. Or use
Options > Capture
This will show you the window to configure Captures:
Here's what to look for and set:
Keep this in mind: your large screen images will later be
reduced to smaller sizes for
the movie, especially if you upload it to Kyte, YouTube or similar infrastructures. For example,
your screen resolution might initially be 1280x1024, but on youtube
you'll see it around 320x240, 400x300, or thereabouts,
although you can upload high def movies too, for HQ mode. Your call.
One of the best uses of Irfanview for post-processing after the capture
will also be to do some batch conversion and resizing/resampling, to
better match the target output format. With that in mind, you could
certainly capture in formats or qualities that are lossless or larger
file sizes, as long as you do the math to verify that you won't run out
of disk space. For example, Tiff format with LZW compression would be
lossless and reasonably small files in many cases. It's a good idea to
experiment wih various formats also because other factors can come to
play: the speed of your hard drive and processor, which might slightly
hinder or affect your painting experience going on at the same time,
especially if you capture more frequently, such as once every second,
or even at 0.2 second intervals (5 times per second), for example.
- Capture the full
- switch to Automatic
mode, and set the delay to 10
seconds or whatever you prefer. If you're going to be painting
for 5 hours, 10 seconds intervals means 6 frames captured per minute,
or 360 per hour, or 1800 frame in all over 5 hours. If the average
image file size is about 50 KB, you will need around 90 MB of
available disk space to record this sequence. Your mileage may vary.
- check the box to include the mouse cursor if you want
- Set the saving method to save captured image as file:
the default filename is fine, it will contain the timestamp of when it
was captured. Set the Destination
directory to the folder in which you
want the captured screenshot images to end up. I recommend something
easily accessible in a short path, such as C:\Capture, just in case you
want to work on the content with command line tools like ffmpeg to convert the sequence into
other movie formats.
- For 'Save As:',
select Png or Jpeg or similar
with decent compression to avoid running out of disk space after a few
hours of recording, and use
the Options button to set specific options that help reduce file size
of the captured images. For Jpeg use 75 or less. It depends.
recording: Click "Start" button. The Irfanview window will be minimized
and thus disappear. You can use ALT-Tab to switch back to it. Or find
it on the taskbar. At some point you'll need this to abort the
You will hear a 'beep' every 10 seconds whenever it snaps a screenshot.
turn down the volume if it's distracting.
Then use your
favorite painting program and start painting, for minutes, or
even for hours. If you let the capture run for hours, watch the
disk space that's left available ;-) Stop and restart another capture later
if you take a break.
the image captures
After a few
minutes or hours of painting, stop the Irfanview program.
Use Alt-Tab to switch to it or find it on the task bar at the bottom of
the screen after closing Dogwaffle or
whatever programs you used to paint.
Then go to your
capture folder, for example C:\capture
where you will see hundreds of image files. They are named with the
timestamp of when they were recorded.
Converting Image Sequence
to AVI movie file
done now, although you could use Irfanview also to collect all captured
images into a slideshow which plays at 0.05 second intervals, i.e. 20
frames per second, and if your disk is fast enough, that would play
smoothly. Perhaps we'll do another tutorial on that method.
For now, let's use another program. You may have Quicktime Pro, use
that. You may have Premiere or Vegas Video, use that.... many tools out
there can load an image sequence and turn it into a movie file such as
AVI or MPEG for easy playback. You could even load the sequence after
proper renaming into a 3D program such as for an animated texture.
We're going to use PD Pro to load
the image sequence you want (try shorter sequences first, no need to
select them all until you know you have enough memory and all that
menu: Animation > Load Sequence...
Select the capture folder, select the file type aka 'Pattern'
(*.Jpg), select the desired images, and click the button in lower left
to load these selected images.
(resize) to make smaller.
menu> Image > Resample
You can select from many preset sizes or enter your own. Just make sure
if you use your own that the dimensions are not in conflict with the
compression codec you'll use. Some codecs must have particular
dimensions or the width and/or height must be multiples of 2, 4 or 8.
Avoid odd dimensions.
You can preview (play) the movie in PD Pro, and change the speed with
the FPS button (Frames per Second) on the animation toolbar:
You can also use
pre-existing codecs with lesser compression, save as AVI, and use the
free ffmpeg later to convert the
AVI to other formats like quicktime, Flash video (flv), Mpeg,....
(watch the requirements in frame rates!), MP4, WMV and others. ffmpeg
offers various controls to set the compression, such as:
-sameq ......... try
to keep the same quality, whatever it takes
-b ....................... set the bitrate
(example: -b 600k )
-qscale ............... set the quality from a scale
of 1 to 32, ex: -qscale 4
1 is best quality, same as '-sameq'. 4 is decent. 32 is very very
blocky, but very small files in return.
open a command window:
Menu > Run > cmd (type 'cmd' and hit
go to the capture folder:
verify that the movie clip is here:
use ffmpeg to convert it and change the frame rate to 25 fps, keep the
same detail quality (sameq) and set the dimensions to 640x480 as well
as convert to Mpeg1:
ffmpeg -i movie.avi -r 25 -sameq -s 640x480 -f mpeg