Timelapse

As a Christmas present I got a very nice tool for my Canon 20D from my parents. Its the "Meike Battery Grip for Canon 20D" and besides holding two batteries or 9 AA batteries, it has a set off really nice additional features. It comes with a build-in clock and a IR receiver so you can take images with a remote control. It is really well built and feels nice when connected to the camera, as if its a natural part of the camera!

But the most interesting feature is the possibility to take a series of photos over a certain period of time. All that's needed for timelapse videos! As a first test I took 180 photos with 10 s between each photo in our garden, with the camera in manual mode (ISO: 200, exposure:1/150s, aperture: 10). In a second step I converted the images to have the size of 1920x1280px using a simple bash script. This was needed because the video had some quality loss when scaling it with mencoder.

The script I used for scaling a series of images from within a working directory:

for file in `ls ../IMG_0*.JPG`; do
  convert $file -resize 1920x1280 `basename $file`;
done

After this step I created a video with a frame-rate of 20FPS with the following command:

mencoder mf://*.JPG -mf fps=20:type=JPG -o output.mp4 -ovc x264 -x264encopts bitrate=10000

update:
An alternative to the command above is utilizing avconc the successor of ffmpeg:

avconv -i Image_%09d.bmp -vcodec libx264 -b 12000k -threads 0 -refs 3 -y output.mp4 

Note that the %09d is a c++ style placeholder for an integer.
Et voilà, a very nice HD video of a rather boring scene. But the result is not bad for an initial test 🙂

I found the following websites to be really useful to configure mencoder:

http://www.mplayerhq.hu/DOCS/HTML/en/menc-feat-enc-libavcodec.html
http://www.mplayerhq.hu/DOCS/HTML/en/menc-feat-enc-images.html
http://www.mplayerhq.hu/DOCS/HTML/en/menc-feat-rescale.html
http://www.mplayerhq.hu/DOCS/HTML/en/menc-feat-quicktime-7.html

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