Make a DVD to play at 1 frame per minute?
August 22, 2007 12:46 AM   Subscribe

Make a DVD to play at 1 frame per minute?

I want to take a bunch of time lapse photos, shot 1 minute apart, and play them back on a TV in real time, so the TV mimics a window. What software can I do this with, preferably on windows?
Ideally, I want to stick a DVD in the player, press play and then it plays for 12 or 24 hours. Is this possible? I know some DVD players have photo slide show functions, but my preference is to just play a very slow movie.
posted by bystander to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best thing will be to put the lapse photos in Adobe Premere or some kind of consumer movie maker and edit it to play 1 minute apart. This can be done very easily even with demo movie editor.

Only problem is playing more than 2 hours in one DVD... maybe u can save it as avi or svcd or something to longate the file.
posted by curiousleo at 1:00 AM on August 22, 2007

I think it would be easy to do this with FLASH. The video goes into an FLV, and you can control playback speed in any way you want -- forward, backwards, stopped, moving slowly, any speed at all.

If there's a lot of video, the file might be quite large, but that's not really a problem if you're talking about burning it onto a DVD. You'd play it by running the SWF file from the DVD.

(Actually, depending on how much video you had, it might be necessary to break it up into several files and chain them together, so that you didn't have to have the whole thing loaded into memory at once.)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:15 AM on August 22, 2007

Response by poster: Bearing in mind I want to be able to play it just on a DVD player (no PC) I don't think flash will work. In terms of the limit of a DVD, is it limited by time, to say, 2 hours? At full speed 24 hours of frames 1 minute apart is only 57 minutes at 25fps, so the content would fit, but I think Premiere would make (60x25) copies of the still to fill up 1 minute, but I hope I am wrong.
posted by bystander at 1:29 AM on August 22, 2007

The latest version of NeroVision Express has a slideshow creator. It seems like it would be the easiest to work with. I think the software formats each picture as a chapter and then you choose the duration between each frame/chapter/image. That seem to avoid the problem of Premiere.
posted by kepano at 2:16 AM on August 22, 2007

You can sort of slow down DVD video to any desired frame rate, but it's not for the feint-hearted. DVD still slideshows are part of the DVD standard. Basically a video file is created completely composed of I-frames, with each frame being a new still image, and playback of each frame can be controlled fairly accurately. However, support beyond the a basic level is very spotty amongst players.

Offhand, though, I don't know of any authoring app which does this properly - you'd probably have to do it directly in the virtual machine code. And as I said, it's almost unsupported except to the extent necessary for a few stills for menus, etc. Also, I think you're limited to 99 stills in the chain, though I could be wrong - it might be 99 PGCs in 99 VTSs. A rough unthinking guess suggests ~216000 frames, 1 per minute = 216000 minutes, or 150 days - but I'd suspect you'd overflow the available counters / registers long before that...

It'd be an interesting exercise to try if you were happy handcrafting DVDs at the VM level.
posted by Pinback at 2:46 AM on August 22, 2007

If you really want to do 1 frame per minute, you don't encode a video, you show a series of .jpg/still images, which all DVD players can do. The better DVD auth programs will let you do that, and how to chain them from menu (which can have a real video chains before, or after etc).
posted by lundman at 2:49 AM on August 22, 2007

(apr├ęs post: or you could see if the NeroVision Express slideshow works. Though I reckon it'll top out at 99 stills.)
posted by Pinback at 2:54 AM on August 22, 2007

Best answer: This page shows you how to use VCDEasy (fairly inexpensive commercial program) to make a VCD with up to 1980 DVD quality pictures with a user defined pause between them. This should cover you for 24 hours with a minute between pictures.

You might be able to find different (e.g. free) software but the point is that the VideoCD format is explicitly designed to support still pictures but all the DVD slideshow software seems to work by padding the time with extra frames.

Disclaimer: I have not actually tried this
posted by tomcooke at 3:02 AM on August 22, 2007

DVD players will need to either play it at 30 (NTSC) or 25 (PAL) frames per second. If you want to be able to play your work on ANY DVD player (and not just computers and a few high spec'd machines), then this is probably the only way to achieve it (I note it was your preferred option in the question).

Using any video editing software (final cut, iMovie, premiere, et al) should allow you to duplicate the frame to fit the timeline in order to make an actual video file out of your stills. Obviously there is a bit of copying and pasting involved, but once you lay down a few images, copying them as they grow each time should make the process relatively easy.

In FCP you can 'freeze frame' the image and then sustain it for as long as you need to - but this may not be the case for cheaper/consumer level NLEs.

You'll need to determine the standard prior to doing this - NTSC (720x480) or PAL (720x576) - and size your images accordingly, so that your edit doesn't require (too much) rendering.

Doing it this way will also allow you to lay down a soundtrack, that will remain sync'd to the output - if you want to.

*I haven't done this, but my wife is an editor and recently completed a Chris Marker-esque project using still images for a 15 minute piece.
posted by strawberryviagra at 3:55 AM on August 22, 2007

vlc will play at a reduced framerate at the press of a button. not sure if it'll go as slow as you want though.
posted by ascullion at 4:14 AM on August 22, 2007

Does it have to play on a "standard" DVD player? I've had players that can play videos very slowly (no sound) though not THAT slow. It might be possible to rig up with a media PC though and some minor scripting.
posted by wackybrit at 4:17 AM on August 22, 2007

I have two questions.

First, how are the time lapse photos getting on the DVD to begin with? Or are you talking about taking 'commercial' movies and the like and playing them back super slow?

Second, you want this to playback on a standard DVD player (I mention this because you mentioned using a computer, and I think you mean to use the computer for conversion.)
posted by filmgeek at 4:57 AM on August 22, 2007

Yeah, a bit more clarity would be helpful, in particular:
- the bit about the time lapse (of what?)
- the TV as 'window',
- and the bit about it being represented in real time (you want the playback to mimic the same time lapse with which the images were shot?)
- will this be a one-off, or do you need to distribute the project to others (and out of your control)?

might be helpful for providing other possible solutions.

My previous suggestion overlooked the 12-24 hours requirement - which you wouldn't be able to achieve without some serious compression (and even then, I'm not sure you could run it more than 4 hours).

Sounds like you need a hard drive more than a DVD player.
posted by strawberryviagra at 5:52 AM on August 22, 2007

With a program like VisualHub it's possible to fit as much as 8 hours of video on a dvd, but it isn't pretty.
posted by shanevsevil at 7:24 AM on August 22, 2007

I think a slideshow is the only way to do this. The DVD spec allows for 99 titles with 99 chapters each. Each slide in a slideshow counts as a chapter in a title, so you can technically have up to 9801 slides on one DVD. I've been unable to find information on the maximum duration per slide.

iDVD on my mac has a maximum slide duration of 10 seconds. I'm sure there's software out there that will let you select a 60-second duration.
posted by pmbuko at 8:36 AM on August 22, 2007

Best answer: If you don't have to use any DVD player or a specific DVD player you might pick up one of the $40 models at a local big box that also play back mpeg/divx type files.

If you find one that will do that then you can probably make a movie file that is 10 hours long without any great difficulty, given that each minute is really just one frame image. Any decent compression algo should give you a pretty small file, considering.

If that is unacceptable then you likely need something that will let you make more complicated DVD menus than normal. Since I have seen commercial DVDs that will do something different after repeating a certain amount of times I suspect you can create a menu that replays a 1 second movie 60 times, then moves to a different menu page and does the same thing again, with a different movie.

If that isn't notably automated then you are looking at doing that 60*60*12 times, but I don't know how else you'll fit that on a disk.
posted by phearlez at 10:09 AM on August 22, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks AskMe, just for clarification, I wish to author the DVD on a PC running windows and distribute the finished DVD to several locations.
That makes supplying hardware difficult.
The images will be JPEGs taken by a digicam in time lapse mode.
I am marking tomcooke as a best answer as it looks like the VCD software he suggested will do this out of the box. phearlez get another tick for the possible cunning use of menus if the VCD option fails.
I will revisit should any late comers have any other suggestions.
posted by bystander at 5:05 PM on August 22, 2007

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