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How to Create a Time-Lapse Movie from Still Shots

This tutorial picks up from the point in time where you have already shot your images, you've done any processing to them that you intend to and are ready to convert these images to a movie. The tool that I use for my time-lapse photography is QuickTime Pro. There are many different software applications that you can use to convert images to a time lapse movie. You may already own one. Most people have the basic QuickTime application loaded to their computer and to upgrade to the Pro version costs just $29.99. The process that I will define for you is from the perspective of a Windows user.

1) Once you've upgraded to QuickTime Pro, launch QuickTime.

2) In QuickTime, select File>Open Image Sequence

3) In this next step, you'll want to make sure that all of your time lapse images are together in one folder with no other images. The reason for this is that QuickTime allows the user to define the starting image but not the ending image. Therefore, it assumes that everything in this folder is fair game. I selected the very first image by clicking on it once in the dialog box. Before closing the dialog box, you will need to define the frame rate for your movie. I've selected 24 frames per second for my movie. If you are a Mac user, this option won't appear until you click "Open" and proceed to the next step of the process. Now, click "Open".

4) The QuickTime engine is now compiling your images so that it can present your movie in the QuickTime viewer. Once the QuickTime viewer appears (this could take a minute or two), you'll need to export your .mov file to your computer. From the Viewer, go to File>Export.

5) Here you'll want to name your file and determine where you want to save it. Also, I'm choosing to select the "Export:" value of "Movie to QuickTime Movie". Don't save it quite yet.

6) You'll also want to consider what size you want the file to be saved as. Click "Options". Then click "Size". I'm choosing 640 x 480 VGA for mine because I want to post this on my blog and the smaller the file size, the smoother it plays. I also check the box for "Preserve Aspect Ratio Using:" "Fit Within Dimensions". Click Ok, OK, and Save.

7) Next the progress bar will appear and indicate a processing of your request. This could take as long as one hour depending on how many images used.

8) Now you can upload it to YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr or another service to share with your friends.

9) Leave a comment on this blog entry with a link to your work. I'd love to see how you did!

Here's my final cut. ('s best viewed in full screen mode):

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