Misha's Blog

Here is some free time-lapse software

Posted in Miscellaneous by Misha on September 24, 2011

In this post I describe how I evaluated two different software time-lapse grabbing solutions, and finally wrote my own one using Max/MSP Jitter. It can be run using the free Max/MSP Runtime.

My friend needs to create a time-lapse of his laboratory setup. I already know that stiching image sequences together into a movie is straight-forward (using Quicktime Player 7 for example). But how to grab the stills at a certain time interval?

Using a new digital still camera with built-in time-lapse features is one way. Hooking up an intervalometer to a still camera is another method. But if you would like to use a software solution, you might be tempted to evaluate two programs: one called Boinx iStopMotion (priced at $50) and EvoCam (priced at $30).

Both of those programs have free trials available. I tested them out and found that both lacked the ability to record at the needed resolution: 2592×1944. My friend needs full resolution images of the setup to string into a compressed movie later. Boinx didn’t seem to want to grab images over 900 pixels in width. Evocam had a buggy preview mode, and didn’t want to grab anything taller than 1600 pixels in height.

Overall, EvoCam seemed liked it had more advanced features (grab an image when hearing a sound, upload an image to a server, etc) and was priced lower. I almost recommended it, but alas it couldn’t grab at the resolution wanted and I decided to write a Jitter patch. Here is the patch. It has a way to set the resolution and to adjust the frequency of image grabs. It dumps png images named with the timestamp right in the folder that the patch is in. If you don’t have Max/MSP/Jitter, you can run it using the free Max MSP Runtime from Cycling 74.

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  1. Steve Belovarich said, on September 24, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Great work Misha! I remember making something similar back in 2005. Who needs an intervelometer when you can just use Max?

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