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Best settings for a timelapse video

edited July 2010 in Support
Hello all,

For a very very big project, I need to record everything I basically do on the computer. But the thing is that it will be a timelapse video.
I expect to work every day, for about 2 hours on the project, FULLSCREEN.
Does anybody have tips for a timelapse video? I mean, I will speed the video up later on but what is really the best compressor, framerate? I want to speed it up with another program later, not camstudio (the playblack thing).

Thank you all.


  • edited July 2010

    First, look at this post and Nick's response.


    In it, Nick emphasizes the requirement to have the "Capture Frames Every" TIMES the Frame Rate to be equal to 1000. (thus 1000 milliseconds, thus 1 second).

    As you see in the above post, the most important setting change was from

    Capture frames every: 500 mS (1/2 second)
    Playback frame rate of output clip: 30 fps


    Capture frames every: 500 mS (1/2 second)
    Playback frame rate of output clip: 2 fps

    Making the two amounts, when multiplied, equal to 1000.

    [Edit: the following is as good explanation of the "Capture Frames Every" setting that I've ever seen:

    "Capture Frames Every

    This field determines the input frame rate. It dictates how long the CamStudio will "sleep" after capturing each frame. One millisecond is 1/1000 of a second.

    If you set this to a large value (for example 1 hour, or 3,600,000 milliseconds), you practically create a time-lapse movie. CamStudio will actually "sit and watch" for activities on the screen that takes a long time to occur and take a snapshot (say, only once every hour).

    Playback Rate

    Recommended rate is 10 frames per second, it's smooth enough to see what happens, leads to small file size and is close to the speed CamStudio is capable of capturing the screen."

    (taken with some editing from the commercial lossless compressor site for ScreenPressor at http://www.thedeemon.com/ScreenPressor/record_screen.html - I am not endorsing them nor recommending them (I never tried it and know nothing about their compressor), but their tutorial was good on this point!) [end Edit]

    In other words, for a 10 fps playback rate, set this value to 100.

    for 5 frames per second frame rate, the "capture frames every" should be set at 200.
    for 1 frame per second frame rate, the "capture frames every" would be set at 1000.

    Ok, that part was easy! You can set those slower time-lapse rates with the "auto-adjust" slider. But when you move past the 1fps playback rate and "Capture Frames Every" of 1000, the playback rate (fps) jumps to 20 fps and stays there. I believe it jumps to 20 fps and stays there because now playback rate is going to be dependent upon the final playback rate set in the editing software, but that will be set to 20 fps in the CamStudio software to avoid the occurrence of dropped frames. If the software's playback rate is stuck at 20 fps, perhaps only even multiples of 20 will produce recordings not having any dropped frames??? I'm not certain what's going on there.

    If all CamStudio does above the 1000ms "Capture Frames Every" point is "sit and wait" for that period of time before taking another snapshot, and that functionality is not tied to the 20 fps playback rate in reality, then any setting above 1000 should be possible. But is that how it is working?

    Terry Britton
  • edited July 2010
    By the way...

    You can use VirtualDub (free!) to change the frame-rate for playback to anything you like. http://virtualdub.sourceforge.net/

    Step 1 - load the video
    Step 2 - in either "Full Processing" (you're changing compression also) or "Direct Stream Copy" (you're just changing the frame rate) modes, under the "Video" menu select "Frame Rate"
    Step 3 - Under "Source Rate Adjustment" select the second radio button, "Change frame rate to (fps) and enter the desired frame rate. For time-lapse recorded stuff, selecting a slow frame rate of 1 frame per second or so will produce slide-show-like results. Move to higher numbers to speed up the playback.
    Step 4 - Process all frames. Click "OK"
    Step 5 - Under "File" select "Save as AVI" and re-save the video with the new frame rate for playback with a different descriptive filename (filename1fps, for instance)

    Now you'll have a time-lapse movie that outputs nicely. For really long intervals (like 10 minutes between frames), you can instead opt to output each frame as a separate "movie" to be loaded into an editor to allow cross-fading between every frame. VirtualDub does not have support for adding in transitions - I've only done such a thing in Windows Movie Maker.

    Step 1 - load the video
    Step 2 - Under "File" select "Save Segmented AVI"
    Step 3 - Check the box "Limit number of video frames per segment" and enter "1" there.
    Step 4 - Set "File segment size limit in MB (50-2048) to 50.
    Step 5 - select/create a folder to hold all the created segments.
    Step 6 - Click "Save"

    Or, alternatively, you can output all your frames as bitmap, jpeg (recommended), png or Targa images to use in Windows Photo Story 3, Quicktime Pro or another slide-show creation program to create a slide-show with transitions.

    Step 1 - load the video
    Step 2 - Under "File" select "Export ==> Image Sequence"
    Step 3 - Under "Filename" enter a base filename - each frame will add a number to that base filename
    Step 4 - Click on the radio button for the format you want to export the frames as and, if applicable, set the quality slider all the way to the right.
    Step 5 - click the box with three dots ... and select your target directory (this directory must already be created).
    Step 6 - Click OK

    Now the folder of images can be imported into Photo Story 3 or dropped into Quicktime Pro with transitions added.

    I hope this was clear and precise enough to be helpful.

    Terry Britton
  • Thank you very much guys! I really appreciate your comments. ;)
  • mlt
    edited October 2010
    I'm also interested in time lapse video, however I'd like to use batch processing. AFAIK there is no way to use virtualdub's script to specify source frame rate:( Recently, I was able to use AviSynth and DirectShowSource(), but one should specify FPS ratio directly. That is I was recording with 100 fps setting in video options dialog, however video was recorded with 18.83 fps on average, and I had to specify that to AviSynth.


    It is possible to do pitch shifting with AviSynth as well.

    It is possible to use fade in/out with AviSynth like


    No need for Photo Story!
  • mlt
    edited August 2011
    I feel like I misread the whole story about cross-fading. Here is an explanation how to generate missing frames with AviSynth and MVTools plugin:


    To get camcodec encoded video to work with AviSynth, one may use virtualdub's frameserver. Thus it makes possible to perform sophisticated editing on original HQ file without intermediate files.
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