Fuji time-lapses: Frame rate, software

Topics:

Resolution

See File sizes post above.

Frames per second

(This is not the interval you shoot, but the frame rate of the video/animation that you make.)

There are tons of standards out there. A few are:

  • Old movies run mostly 24fps
  • Blu-ray runs at 24fps
  • DVD’s runs at 29.97fps (in North American NTSC)
  • iPhone default is 30fps
  • 4K runs at up to 60fps
  • but many computers choke on anything big like 1680×1050 at 60fps
  • and GIFs often run as slow as 4fps

So what should you use?

For the most part 24-30fps will do and look fairly smooth.

If you want to slow your animation down (shoot more often or) make your video 15fps. That will be a little jerkier, but many people will still like it. This is also fine for online if you are trying to save on bandwidth or streaming demand. (All/Most of the animations in these posts have been 15fps.)

If you are displaying on high end equipment, 60fps is beautiful, but will require a lot more frames to fill (that’s 60 pictures PER SECOND).

On the other end, some time-lapses look perfectly fine at 10 or 5 fps if the subject leads to it.

Software

Sorry. I can’t make a recommendation for one magical piece of software or online site that does it all easily, is safe and will be there in the future.

There are many ways to create time-lapse videos and GIFs. There are probably nice commercial products and maybe online builders. Search online for products that might work well for you, but keep in mind:

  • If you are uploading images, reduce their size before uploading them unless they expressly tell you that they will reduce the image size prior to upload like Facebook does. Otherwise, you will be eating up bandwidth forever.
  • Online systems may hold onto your images so don’t upload anything you don’t want out.
  • Visit unknown sites with Chrome and Adblock or Adblock Plus installed. This will sometimes stop you from going to questionable sites and getting unwanted content.
  • If it is too good to be true, IT IS. Don’t download or install anything you can’t personally guarantee isn’t malware.

But, for me:

  • Having worked with computers professionally for over 20 years, I don’t trust that any one product will be around* or continue to work. So I use various products for each step and replace them as one stops working or better ones come around.

*For example: Microsoft Live Essentials use to be available for free with Movie Maker. This could import photos and give them very short durations to get time-lapse videos.

  • And I’m a cheapskate when it comes to buying software. Free and close enough works for me.

And since my method is probably more technical than most, this is just FYI in case you really want to know my method.

making-screencap2

My method (looks like a lot, but is rather simple):

  1. I start out reducing the image size to my final product which is usually 338×600 or 1080×1920 (1080p resolution). There are a ton of programs for this, but I use DCE Autoenhance so I can also do simple adjustments, sharpening and watermarking.
  2. Next I compile them with MakeAVI into a basic video (Intel compression).
  3. Next I convert that to MP4 using Handbrake which really reduces their size while maintaining quality
  4. If I want a GIF, I use Giphy.com. Unfortunately/fortunately, it also reduces the dimensions. This (creating a GIF), unfortunately, creates a significantly larger file than MP4, but that is the nature of GIF.
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