Mac software to animate a series of stills?
January 20, 2009 11:59 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend the best Mac software for turning a series of still images into a movie?

I never realized that my dSLR had such a great burst mode until a friend got drunk and took 483 pictures at a recent dinner party. Scrolling through with the camera's thumbwheel, I quickly became besotted with the stop-motion effect. I'd like to composite them (and others) together into a movie.

Can you recommend the right software for the job? Is it Flash, or something else? The framerate won't be constant, so it's important that that be alterable. (In fact, software that lets you accelerate and decelerate the framerate, rather than just tweaking each individual frame, would be ideal.)
posted by bicyclefish to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:05 PM on January 20, 2009

I've done this in iMovie. It works reasonably well.
posted by chunking express at 12:13 PM on January 20, 2009

Boinx iStopMotion is a wee expensive but very-well done. I've done some basic stop-motion stuff of my baby with it and was happy with the results.
posted by at 12:13 PM on January 20, 2009

Not Mac-specific but apparently Animoto is the bomb.
posted by jdfan at 12:17 PM on January 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: That's really nice work, Mr. Express. Especially looking forward to seeing how this works with a TO winter's night. I see in your vimeo comments, though, that iMovie wouldn't let you play things back at the speed you wanted to. Is it a fixed speed?

(Maybe things have changed in iMovie 09? Blazecock Pileon's link didn't completely work for me.)
posted by bicyclefish at 12:21 PM on January 20, 2009

Framed for Mac OS X.
posted by fatllama at 12:29 PM on January 20, 2009

QuickTime Pro will do this also. Using the "Open Image Sequence..." tool in the "File" menu.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:37 PM on January 20, 2009

I couldn't get it to play faster. At the time I didn't like it, but now I like it the way it is.
posted by chunking express at 12:40 PM on January 20, 2009

iMovie doesn't really work for stop motion movies. Quicktime Pro is ideal since you can just open an image sequence and set the framerate you want. I use it and an intervalometer for time lapse movies. Once you get the sequence made into a movie in QT then you can do the final edits in iMovie.
posted by mikesch at 2:15 PM on January 20, 2009

I use iStopMotion and I'm very happy with it.
posted by tkolar at 2:30 PM on January 20, 2009

I've tried to do exactly this, and in my experience, iMovie is a particularly horrid tool for the job. I've never used iMovie '09, but the interface is terrible for managing many separate clips per second.

I would try using Quicktime Pro to generate collections of clips with Open Image Sequence... as described by 1f2frfbf, and then use something like iMovie to edit those clips together.
posted by jacobbarssbailey at 3:09 PM on January 20, 2009

This is the third time I've recommended this program on Askme, but Imagej will do what you want, provided you're not interested in adding sound to it (although I suppose you could add music in iMovie or some other program later).

ImageJ has the advantage of being small, easy to use and, best of all, it's free. It will even line up your images for you if you want (see previous AskMe here).

It works the same as Quicktime Pro, in that it will create an image sequence that you can then export as an avi. And if you have the QT Stack writer plugin (all plugins are free downloads), you can adjust the quality and frame rate before creating a .mov file.
posted by kisch mokusch at 4:03 PM on January 20, 2009

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