Help me find the correct software package!
April 18, 2012 8:31 PM   Subscribe

What is a good free (or free trial) animation software I can download for a project at work?

My boss wants to convert about 600 maps that show drought by region in Kenya into an animated video. Each of these maps will depict the severity of drought at a given point in time with color coded regions. The idea is to show the evolution of regional drought through time, so I would need something that could turn these 600 maps into a 1-2 minute video. Does anyone have recommendations on software packages that could convert JPEGs into this kind of video?
posted by msk1985 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Using a Mac? I like Framed. Seems like iMovie could do it too.
posted by fatllama at 8:55 PM on April 18, 2012

Yes if you have access to a Mac you could do this with iMovie, which comes with every Mac. (That is, if I understand what you're looking to do correctly.) I'm afraid I don't have any reccomendations for Windows; not my area of expertiece.
posted by raygan at 9:16 PM on April 18, 2012

If you just want to stitch these together in order, ffmpeg for linux should be able to do it. E.g. ffmpeg -r 10 -b 1800 -i *.jpg testmovie.mp4

Note the images will have to be named in an order that the shell will expand in the proper order, i.e. 0001.jpg through 1001.jpg.
posted by benzenedream at 11:24 PM on April 18, 2012

You're talking about something like 5-10 individual map images *per second* converted into a moving image, correct?

Keep in mind that this is going to be pretty taxing on any machine's resources. Imovie could indeed do it pretty easily. But you're going to need plenty of RAM and/or disk space in order to do it. Also, depending on how you export it, you might find that certain frames might get "skipped over" due to how compression schemes work. (it's hard to explain, but suffice to say that certain compression schemes don't handle rapidly changing frames that well, and sometimes you'll end up seeing the same image for a few seconds until a "significant change" in the final image appears)

I've tried to export projects from iMovie like this in the past, where each slide represented 3 frames of video, and it didn't work at all, no matter what compression scheme I used. It played fine in iMovie, but as soon as I exported, it started skipping, only playing about every 5th slide.

It sounds like your slides will be fairly subtle in their changes, so it's possible that most compression algorithms may be able to handle them smoothly, but whatever you choose, I would advise testing them in a "real life" situation before committing.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:07 AM on April 19, 2012

I would use PhotoToMovie - you can drop all the jpegs into the project and easily select the duration and transition (and turn off the Ken Burns effect, etc.) There are Mac and Windows versions
posted by nightwood at 7:30 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

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