Achieving a Time Lapse with a Photo Slideshow

Individual photographs can be turned into a time lapse DVD with a photo slideshow program. One such program is Linux's DVD-slideshow, which converts either photos from a directory or an online photo album into a DVD-style show. This program also allows users to add transitions, effects and titles.

Step 1: Taking the Photos

Time-lapse photo slideshows look best when created with time-lapse photographs. They will better match the progress of the movement and give it a more realistic look. Once you have finished creating your photos, you need to create a directory for your photos, and finish off the directory with dvd-slideshow's dir2slideshow utility: dir2slideshow -n "Time Lapse" /path/to/photos. The name of your directory can be anything that you want it to be.

This will output the control file that you will need to use to create your slideshow. Once the program finishes running, you will see a text file in your directory. Within this text will be lines that include fade effects and titles. You can remove these and add them later if you would like. Some other effects commands will also be listed at the bottom. You can remove these as well.

Step 2: Changing the Time Length of Images

Once done, the images should all have the following extensions: ./IMG_***.JPG:5. This gives the extension and how long the image will run for. You will probably want to manipulate this based on how long or short you want your video to run.

If you have 30 videos, and you want to video to run for 60 seconds, the images will all have to be 2 seconds long. To figure this out, simply divide the number of seconds by the number of images. This will give you the length that each photo needs to be.

Step 3: Change the Default Value

Once you have figured out how long that you want your video to be, you need to go into the control file and change the default value for each photo. This is done via the small sed command.

For example, if you want your video to run for 60 seconds, your command will look like this: sed 's/:5/:\0.02/g' Time_Lapse_Video.txt > New_Time_Lapse.txt. The New_Time_Lapse is the information that dvd-slideshow put out when you ran the control file output.

Step 4: Create the Video

Now, it is time to create the video. You will do this by inputting the following: dvd-slideshow -f New_Time_Lapse.txt. If you have a lot of photos, this will take some time. Just let the program run, and try not to run too many other programs while doing this. It will slow everything down.

Once done, it will output a video with the .vob extension, which is a MPEG video. You can now view the program using most video players. If you wish to further edit the video, turn it into a RAW digital video using the ffmpeg tool. Then, the video can be edited in any video editing program, including Kino or Adobe After Effects. In After Effects, you can further manipulate the time lapse effect using the Composition settings.