Framing Time Lapse

So this almost turned out to be another great fiasco. Let me break it down. First off all, as usual, I was totally whipped out from the night before and woke up after the sun came up. Awesome planning on my part. I guess today was the day for joggers. I think there must have been some sort of run-a-thon or something going on because after watching several hundred joggers bounce by my car window I decided to turn the camera on them. Then as I was recording I realized that I had the camera set to capture video at 320 X 480 which is ‘unsatisfactory’ as far as I’m concerned. So, half way trough the movie the resolution of the video get’s better. Better late than never I guess.

I’ve also been playing around with different compression tools to try to get videos that are higher quality with smaller file sizes. I thought I’d take a moment to tell you what kind of hardware / software I am using to make these videos.

My ‘mobile time lapse kit’ includes a Dell Inspiron 710m – Totally pimped out with all of its features upgraded to the max. The camera is, believe it or not, a Sony Playstation Eye Toy cam plugged into the Dell. Yep..I’m using an Eye Toy to make my videos. And the capture software I am using is WebCamXP 2006 which is set to take photos every few seconds depending on the topic I am recording.

Post production tools include the following. I use a free tool called img2avi for generating an uncompressed avi from the thousands of jpg’s created by WebCamXP 2006. Then I take the uncompressed avi into VirtualDub and add some filters to it to try to get some of the colors to come back to life that were lost because of the low quality camera that I am using. Once I get the video all chopped down and tweaked, I get the final video time code play length and start searching for a song with a nice melody that reflects the mood of the video. Selecting music can take quite a bit of time actually.

After I have selected the music I use a free tool called LameDropXP which converts MP3 to WAV (mp32wav). Next step is to chop the audio and do a nice fade out at the end so that the song matches the length of the video. I use Sound Editor Deluxe for doing the quick edits on the audio. I’m sure there is a nice free tool available for doing audio editing. I just haven’t looked around yet for one. Then I add the audio track to VirtualDub and export a new compressed avi with sound! We’re almost at the final product!

Now at this point I can go any which way with my final avi video. Latley I’ve been converting to Flash Video using Adobe Flash CS3 Video Encoder. I have messed around with several flash encoders but they all generate files that are way larger then the one that the CS3 encoder outputs. Once I’m done exporting the avi video to a flv video, I’m done!

And that’s the short and dirty description of what I do to make these movies.

What does the future bring? Well, without a doubt I will be upgrading the camera and try to bring some way higher quality videos to you. But I also need to find a source of power that will keep my laptop powered up for more than 5 or 6 hours.

Thanks for lettin’ me bend yer ear.


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