Time-Lapse Photography

Movie editing software can be used to string many still pictures together to make a movie. Using Sony Vegas Movie Studio, I import still pictures for a slide show and set preferences to a very short duration per slide, like about 0.1 second.

For repeating loops, I can import an avi movie into Macromedia Flash and save it as a Flash movie or an animated gif. That's how I made the icon above. Here is another example, my lawn mower engine with its head removed:

Notice that the piston is not moving. The connecting rod is broken. I'm working on that.

I made a Flash movie with sound of my dryer motor. See and hear it by clicking on the image below.

To take many sequential pictures, I made a mechanical device to repeatedly push the shutter of my digital camera, shown at the top of the page. First, it simply cycled at the speed of the electric motor, taking a picture every 5 seconds or so.

I made these movies with the time-lapse device on the dashboard of my car. Click on the pictures to see Real Video.

I modified the device by adding a timer circuit, the "intervalometer" from Forrest M. Mims III book on 555 timer circuits, which used to be available at Radio Shack. Search the web for "Forrest Mims Engineer's Mini Notebook" for a newer version.

The intervalometer turns on a relay for about 2 seconds at an interval determined by a potentiometer. Here is the circuit on a breadboard:

I used a potentiometer with click stops so I could chose any interval between 5 and 120 seconds. Here is the intervalometer in a box.

To get one complete cycle of the autoshutter mechanism, I installed a microswitch ripped out of an old VCR. Click on the picture below to see a Real Video of the microswitch in action:

A garden pea flower opens:

A garden bean with clock:

Earlier Experiments

Here is a Real Video of a short introduction to the song, Scan the Man.

wpe24.jpg (13748 bytes)


Click on this picture to see the sun set chez moi.


Later Experiments

February 2010. Solar panels under the clouds, click on the picture below to see a 4 MB time-lapse wmv file:

I used a free animation program to make the movie above, called Animator DV Simple. Free download here:


With a laptop or netbook with a webcam, you can easily make time-lapse movies with this software.

Writing in my journal:

Peach blossoms: