Make a Webcam Timelapse Easily

Wanted to make a timelapse of you doing something, such as putting lego blocks together or eating a cheesecake?  Now you can, and quite easily too, with the Timershot Powertoy for XP.

Requirements

  • Windows XP (I’m not sure that the Timershot powertoy works on vista – this is only tested with XP)
  • Timershot Powertoy
  • Windows Movie Maker (included with XP)
  • USB Webcam / USB Digital Camera

Steps

  1. Download the Powertoy and install it – pretty straightforward.
  2. Go to Start Menu > All Programs > Powertoys for Windows XP > Timershot and launch the application.
  3. The program will most likely start taking pictures right away.  Don’t worry about it.  Just set the capture rate as one picture every second, and set it not to just take one photo and replace that one, but to take individual photos each time, and so that way you’ll end up with the “frames” for your timelapse.
  4. Set a folder for the pictures to go into (not just your desktop – that will be messy !!! Remember , it takes 1 picture every second!!
  5. Now, point the webcam where you want it to take the timelapse , and away you go!
  6. Open up Windows Movie Maker (Start, All Programs, Windows Movie Maker)
  7. Go to the Tools menu, click Options, and click the Advanced tab.
  8. In the “Default Durations” section, decrease the Picture Duration to the lowest amount possible, and click OK.
  9. In the Capture Video section inside the “Movie Tasks” pane, click Import Pictures.
  10. Go to the folder you saved all your timelapse photos into, and import all the photos in that folder.
  11. Now, highlight all the pictures in the “Collections” pane (which is just right of the “Movie Tasks” pane) by pressing Ctrl + A, and then drag them to the timeline / storyboard below.
  12. In the Edit Movie section of the “Movie Tasks” pane, click View Video Effects (or just Effects, in Vista).
  13. Now, in the timeline / storyboard, click one of the pictures and press Ctrl + A to select all the pictures.
  14. In the “effects” window, click on “Speed Up” and hit “CTRL + D” to apply it to all the frames you have selected.If everything went correctly, each frame will now have a star at the bottom, indicating it has an effect paired with the frame. You can hit CTRL + D as many times as you want, if the video is still too slow.
  15. Now just hit Ctrl + P to save your movie, and share it with your friends or upload it to YouTube!

You can view  a couple sample timelapses I made myself:

Making Lego Structure

Cleaning up Lego Timelapse

Enjoy! Thanks to onlinephototutorials.com for the “Speed Up” enhancement to this tutorial.   Also, thanks to Microsoft for their great Windows XP Timershot PowerToy.
Jul 25th 2008
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Time lapse videos show motion over a long period of time. Set the camera on a tripod, switch it to manual focus, and you’re pretty much done. The hardest part is finding interesting things that will change over time, clearly. Many things change over time, in that you take one photo and they’re gone the next. However, things like clouds or stars are interesting as they move fluidly.

The goal of this tutorial is not taking the photos to make the timelapse, rather assembling the photos into a timelapse of high quality. Step One Before importing, set Windows Movie Maker’s “default image duration” to it’s fastest setting of 0.125 at “Tools > Options > Advanced”. First, you must import the necessary images into Windows Movie Maker. Hit “CTRL + I” and navigate to the folder where they are stored. Since Windows Movie Maker doesn’t support RAW or sizes about 1080p [1920×1080], I suggest you set your camera to the smallest JPEG size at “fine” or “high” quality. This means it won’t take as long to import all the images to your computer, it’ll take less space, and Windows Movie Maker will be faster. Import the JPEGs Step Two Under the “imported media” window, click on an image and hit CTRL + A to select all. Hold and drag the images into the timeline or storyboard at the bottom of the screen. Drag to Storyboard Step Three At the left hand pane, select the “effects” option under the “edit” category. Select "Effects" Now, at the bottom of the screen, select the “Storyboard” view. Select one of the images and hit “CTRL + A” to select all. Select "Show Storyboard" and select all

Step Four

In the “effects” window, click on “Speed Up” and hit “CTRL + D” to apply it to all the frames you have selected.

  • Craig

    That’s pretty awesome. Very informative and very helpful for beginners who are just starting out with this. Great coverage.

  • Craig

    That’s pretty awesome. Very informative and very helpful for beginners who are just starting out with this. Great coverage.