Time Lapse Photography is a useful tool for science, art, security and surveillance, or just plain fun. This article shows how to acquire and assemble a series of images into an animated gif or video. Free software and an inexpensive web cam are needed.


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Things needed

  • Web cam
  • Computer
  • Software (free, open source)


  1. Take a series of images with time lapses in between. You can use a simple program, like VideoCapture, or you can do it manually.
  2. They should be named something like _0001.jpg, _0002.jpg, _0003.jpg...
  3. Use Virtual Dub to make an .avi movie:
    1. open Virtual dub
    2. open _0001.jpg. Virtual dub will automatically load the entire sequence of images if they are named correctly.
    3. select Video/compression/ and choose your desired codec (DivX MPEG-4, for example)
    4. select File/Save as AVI, enter file name
  4. Use Gimp to make an animated gif (requires the Gimp Animation Plug-in):
    1. open Gimp
    2. open _0001.jpg
    3. select Video/Frames to Image/ and select OK in the next dialog box. As with Virtual Dub, all images in the sequence are loaded automatically by GAP (Gimp Animation Package)
    4. select File/Save As, YourAnimationName.gif
    5. You can do this manually in Gimp, without the GAP plug-in, by placing each frame into a different layer of a gif image.

Tips & Suggestions

  1. Other free software for time lapse movies:
  2. Virtual Dub and ffmpeg can also add a sound track to your movie
  3. See also:Wikipedia time lapse page

User Reviews are most Welcome!

Time Lapse Photography/Reviews

Everything else

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External resources

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