Photography

How To Make a Webcam Time Lapse

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Once again, I am straying from my normal mode of posting randomness to bring you a tutorial-type post. In this post, I am going to lay out my method of using a webcam, a laptop, free software, and Sony Vegas 9 (or freeware programs) to make a time lapse video.

First of all, I have a fairly good webcam, a Microsoft Studio, that is capable of shooting 1080p video and taking 8mp still shots, so the results of your time lapse will vary with the quality of camera. Various free programs exist that allow you to make time lapse videos, but most of them are either buggy or limited in function; I couldn’t use Tilaphos to shoot in HD, and Booru is pretty buggy.

The solution to my problem lay in a very simple method of image capture. The laptop is not able to be used for other functions while it is capturing the image, but that was no big deal to me. My solution is to use a software auto-clicker to press the photo button at a certain interval.

  1. Download the auto-clicker here. (This is safe software that I’ve had no trouble with; no installation is required.) Unzip the .zip file and save the folder to a location that is easy for you to find.
  2. Open your webcam software and browse to a screen that shows a capture image button. For those of us with Microsoft webcams, this is a little image of a camera.  
  3. Once you have opened the software and have your webcam pointed at your subject, open the auto-clicker. Set the point at which you want the mouse to click by clicking “Locate” and then clicking on the image capture button.
  4. Set the time interval (how often the software will capture an image) in the “Click Interval” section. The units are milliseconds, so if you want to take a picture every 5 seconds, set the first number to 5000. Ignore the second number, and leave the “To” box unchecked.
  5. Make sure that “Left Button” is selected, and set the number of clicks if you wish. (If you set the interval at 5000 ms, and you want to record for an hour, set the value to 720. Click the Start button and let take pictures for as long as you want.
  6. To turn your images into a time lapse in Sony Vegas, open the program, go to Options > Preferences > Editing, and set the “New image still length” to .050. When you insert the images into your timeline, the images will be the right length to play back at 30fps. Tweak your output settings to whatever you want; I set mine at 8mbps 1080 30fps in .wmv format.
  7. Alternate: If you do not have Sony Vegas, here is a tutorial detailing how to make a time lapse with various free programs. I recommend using Virtual Dub.

Here’s the result!

Have fun! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
~Chris

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Experiments with HDR

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I posted a week or so ago about HDR. I had a chance over the weekend on the camping trip to get some more pictures. These pictures were all taken with a cheap point-and-shoot (Fuji FinePix A610) and converted to HDR in Photomatix.

Using the method I did to take HDR photos, I needed to steady the camera for about 10-15 seconds–however long it took for me to take 3 pictures of the same scene. Unfortunately, I did not have a tripod here at school. Somebody’s trash solved my problem, though! While at the campground, I found a bolt laying on the ground that was a bolt on one side and a wood screw on the other. The bolt was the same size as a tripod mount! So I made a monopod out of my walking stick and used that for the pictures. +1 for innovation. 

I’ve created a Flickr account with my favorite pictures that I’ve taken. You can click this link to view the images in their original sizes, download, them, or scoff at my amateurishness.

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Cheers!
~XK

Ouachitalkin’ about?

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I’m back! Yay. This weekend, two of my friends from school, Craig and Michael, and I went to Ouachita (ooo-ah-chi-taw) National Park. Not too many exciting things occurred, but we did have fun. Here are some glimpses of that trip.

I learned that there are way too many snakes on Lake Ouachita. I mean, everywhere we turned, snakes were waiting for us. This guy was interesting; I think he’s a hognose snake. We came across him right before he decided to munch on a toad.

Butterflies really like to eat soot. Don’t ask me why, but these butterflies were really attracted to an old campfire pit.

 Food tip #1. When traveling into the wilderness. take some potatoes, celery, carrots, meat, and onions. Season the ingredients and wrap them in aluminum foil. Cooking the packets over a fire produces great results.

Lake Ouachita, although abounding in snakes, does have some great sunsets. We were only there for two sunsets, but both nights were great.

Finally, we headed back to campus.

These are only a few of the pictures I took. Tomorrow, I’ll be posting a follow-up post to my HDR experiments post. The sunsets provided for a good venue in which to play with HDR. (None of the pictures in this post are edited or HDR.)

Have a great day!
~ Chris