How can I make a movie from 4000 still images?
May 23, 2009 10:10 AM   Subscribe

I want to assemble 4000 still images from a recent trip into a movie. I don't want to do it manually. Please tell me what software will do this for me!

I have been travelling for the last eight months, and have taken 4000+ photos. Since there's no way anyone would ever want to look at all of them, I want to assemble them all into a video, where each image is displayed for a tenth of a second or so (and the whole thing set to music). I assume this can be done fairly easily as it's how all stop motion animation is done, right?

I would like to be able to script this and leave it to render. I have resized copies of the images to 720p, and even added black borders to vertical shots so that they're the correct size.

I've tried ImageMagick, but it doesn't come with either H264 or mp3 (for decoding the music) codecs, which are what I think I want. I tried compiling these in from source but got stuck in dependency hell and have now given up on ImageMagick completely. I'm only going to be uploading this to the web, so any suggestions on better codecs will also be listened to.

Please reccommend me some software, preferably free, that will allow me to assemble my little movie. XP / Linux doesn't bother me either way, as long as it works. Thanks!
posted by jozzas to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
QuickTime Pro ... $29

Import image sequence will do the trick.
posted by jrchaplin at 10:15 AM on May 23, 2009


If you can create a video with ImageMagick (it sounds like you might be familiar with it), say a really high bitrate MPEG, you could add the music in almost any regular movie editor.

If you have a Mac to hand, however, then just iMovie. It'll do all of this out of the box.
posted by wackybrit at 10:23 AM on May 23, 2009


"If you have a Mac to hand, however, then just iMovie. It'll do all of this out of the box."

Technically, Windows Movie Maker can do this too. It just dies in the arse when you're dragging around 4000+ 1280x720 jpegs and it wants to make thumbnails of them all or whatever the hell it was trying to do. I let it sit there for an hour or so before I decided it wasn't doing anything.

I want it to be scriptable so I'm not slowing whatever program I use to a crawl by importing all of these images.
posted by jozzas at 10:30 AM on May 23, 2009


Photostory 3. I swear by it. Free, intuitive, and fully customizable. For further tweaking, throw the finished WMV into Adobe Premiere.
posted by litterateur at 10:57 AM on May 23, 2009


If you have a Mac, iPhoto will make a movie as well. Simply export the finished product and there's your movie. It really is simple. You can add music or not.
posted by Piscean at 11:44 AM on May 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Photostory 3. I swear by it. Free, intuitive, and fully customizable. For further tweaking, throw the finished WMV into Adobe Premiere."

Says: "Some of the pictures you selected could not be imported because the film strip contains 300 pictures, which is the maximum number allowed. To import additional pictures, delete some existing pictures and try again."
posted by jozzas at 2:03 PM on May 23, 2009


I use mencoder to encode video: it can take images as input.
posted by Pronoiac at 2:33 PM on May 23, 2009


I also use mencoder (running on Linux). It's a command-line interface, not a GUI, so it scales well. Making movies from image files using ffmpeg/mencoder.
posted by russilwvong at 2:34 PM on May 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is a bit different but might work wonders for what you're looking for: Animoto.
posted by disillusioned at 3:11 PM on May 23, 2009


I'm not positive, but I believe I used Windows Movie Maker (free, usually already installed on XP) to make this movie from a bunch of photos for our Christmas letter one year.
posted by jaden at 3:18 PM on May 23, 2009


Technically, Windows Movie Maker can do this too. It just dies in the arse when you're dragging around 4000+ 1280x720 jpegs

Oops . . . I missed that the first time around.

I've been happy with Sony's Vegas Movie Studio 6.0 for more demanding video editing. It cost $99 when I bought it.
posted by jaden at 3:24 PM on May 23, 2009


I've had good luck with this for slideshows from large numbers of stills. Free, natch. XP.
posted by ostranenie at 5:23 PM on May 23, 2009


I've managed to use mencoder under linux to do this. Thanks for the suggestion, it will also be able to do my audio muxing (in a separate step). The steps I followed were:

1. Use irfanview (Windows) batch processes to resize all images to a height of 480 (maintaining aspect ratio)

2. Sort files by resolution in Explorer (Windows) and separate those with a vertical aspect ratio

3. Use irfanview (Windows) batch process to add black bars to vertical orientation photos, bringing them to 720 x 480. ALL files should now be this resolution.

4. Install mencoder (linux) with sudo apt-get install mencoder

5. run mencoder with the following switches: mencoder mf://*.jpg -mf fps=12 -vf scale=720:480 -o nomusic.avi -ovc x264 -x264encopts bitrate=1600

6. Add music to the created movie with mencoder: mencoder nomusic.avi -o withmusic.avi -ovc copy -oac copy -audiofile musictoadd.mp3

7. Upload to wherever you want (currently in progress).

I'll post a link to the movie when it's done. Thanks for all of the suggestions, hivemind!
posted by jozzas at 4:12 AM on May 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Here you go. Looks like Vimeo mucked around with it a bit, but I'm still happy with the result.
posted by jozzas at 5:47 AM on May 24, 2009


It would be interesting to know how long it took (plus machine specs).

Also, I'm pretty sure I have the Intersect in my head now.
posted by hummercash at 10:28 AM on May 24, 2009


Machine specs? Heh. Eee PC 900 (900MHz, 1Gb Ram, 30Gb awfully slow HDD). I'm travelling, so this is all I have at the moment. It's really quite a capable little machine. I ended up resizing all of the pictures down to 720x480 (as opposed to 720p) because it was crushing Explorer to even navigate to the folder of 4000+ pictures. I think that's an issue with the hard drive in this thing just being really slow, more than anything else (I think it's 3200rpm or something ridiculous like that).

To assemble the movie, mencoder worked at about 4fps, total time was about 20 minutes or so. It was probably a couple of hours worth of moving images around and batch processing them with irfanview, but converting from the ~3800x2500 originals to something more manageable (a step I perform when I store each set of photos on the computer) was probably 15+ hours of processing time, but that was spread over the last 8 months.

What's the Intersect? I'm assuming they're a band? The song I used is called Hey Driver by Motor Ace, a now defunct Australian band.
posted by jozzas at 2:17 PM on May 24, 2009


the Intersect is some massive fictitious database of all the CIA and FBI secrets that is featured in the NBC show Chuck. It "uploads" into a user's brain by quickly flashing images on a screen in a fashion very similar to your movie. More info here if you're interested.
posted by hummercash at 7:31 PM on May 24, 2009


For Chuck, you'd just more cryptic, significant-looking graphics, yeah.

Looking at the avi file, not the Flash version, the aspect ratio looks weird, squashed slightly flat: I think it should be 4:3 instead of the 3:2 it's going for. You're scaling in mencoder (again?), & maybe asking that for 640x480 or passing it -aspect 4:3 would help? If it does, you can replace the file on Vimeo without changing the address & losing comments.

Cool pix!
posted by Pronoiac at 8:04 PM on May 25, 2009


For Chuck, you'd just want more cryptic graphics...
posted by Pronoiac at 8:06 PM on May 25, 2009


"Looking at the avi file, not the Flash version, the aspect ratio looks weird, squashed slightly flat: I think it should be 4:3 instead of the 3:2 it's going for."

Strange, it looks fine on my computer. Why would the flash version be any different to the original (in terms of resoultion)? As I said, I converted all the images to the correct size for mencoder first, it doesn't do any rescaling when encoding the video, which is why I managed to get decent rendering times out of it. The aspect ratios of the original images should have been preserved in the video. My camera certainly doesn't take 4:3 photos (3872x2592 is near enough to 3:2), so if I was to convert to 4:3 it would involve cropping everything or adding black bars top and bottom.

I remember seeing the first episode of Chuck, so I get that now. Next time I'll put some pictures of blueprints and wiring diagrams for atomic bombs in there.
posted by jozzas at 8:28 AM on May 27, 2009


Muvee
posted by Lukenlogs at 1:29 PM on May 31, 2009


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